Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Tigers were "prepared to spend big, big dollars" in order to retain free agent starter Max Scherzer for 2015 and beyond. As you might expect, this tweet set the internet ablaze as fans tried to find a reason for the sudden change in philosophy.
Turns out, it may be all for naught. Dave Dombrowski refuted the rumor reported by Olney, according to MLive's Chris Iott.
"I don't know where he got that from," Dombrowski said. "That's not accurate. I'm not sure where it comes from, how it comes. I know it didn't come from this room, but that's not accurate."
Dombrowski continued on, saying that the Tigers were not involved with any big name free agents. Iott later tweeted that Dombrowski specifically mentioned Matt Kemp and Jon Lester. As for Scherzer?
"I can 100 percent guarantee you that our situation has not changed whatsoever."
This isn't unexpected, and to kill the lede, doesn't tell us anything. Dombrowski is notoriously cryptic when talking to the press -- they were surprised he discussed Joel Hanrahan's salary yesterday -- and his quotes don't give any indication of where the team was at with Scherzer prior to this latest rumor. We know that Scherzer and the Tigers have been talking recently, thanks to Bryan Holaday.
However, since the Tigers traded for right-hander Shane Greene, things were mostly quiet. Dombrowski said on Friday that the organization was satisfied with their starting staff, claiming that the rotation was "not a priority at this point." Dombrowski went on to say that the Tigers have not negotiated or made any offers to Scherzer since Friday's trade.
His money quote -- that the team's outlook "has not changed whatsoever" -- is the most interesting piece to this convoluted puzzle. It's entirely possible that the Tigers have already extended an offer to Scherzer and that said offer is still on the table after trading for Greene. If Scherzer accepts the offer, a trade with the Boston Red Sox -- you know, that never-ending Yoenis Cespedes rumor -- could clear out his place in the rotation. Or the Tigers could trade David Price. Or they could relegate Shane Greene to the bullpen and roll with a rotation so ridiculous it already deserves a nickname.
It's also possible that Dombrowski is being transparent here. With Greene in the fold, the Tigers have no need for Scherzer. Scott Boras is known for stirring up interest where it doesn't exist in order to drive up his clients' price tag elsewhere. The Tigers already have one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and adding another expensive player on the wrong side of 30 isn't good for the team's long-term outlook.
So it could be something. Or it could be nothing. Either way, it should be fun to watch the drama unfold.
UPDATE: Peter Gammons says that the Tigers are out of the Scherzer sweepstakes.
Always thought Scherzer would go back to Detroit, but one Tiger official says "not happening," but might do Porcello for Cespedes & DeLarosa— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 10, 2014
I don't buy for a second that the Tigers are 100 percent done with Scherzer, but the last week has made a homecoming more unlikely. On the other hand, that Cespedes rumor now has a nice little twist.