Tigers are moving on from Scherzer and MSU and WMU both get wins
Scherzer is gone…now what?
Tigers’ fans learned the news this week that one of the staples of the rotation for the last five years is gone. Max Scherzer signed a deal to become a member of the Washington Nationals for the next seven years. That brings to an end to the Tigers’ tenure for Scherzer who we saw grow up from a hard thrower who tried to strike out every hitter and couldn’t work deep into games, to a man who won the Cy Young and was the top starter on the team for the last two years. It’s sad to see him go and it will be sad to see him put on a new uniform but it isn’t totally unexpected. From the time Scherzer turned down the big offer from Detroit last year it seemed his days in a Tigers uniform were numbered. When his free agency period began to linger on people thought he would eventually end up back with the Tigers, but the Nationals came in and gave him the mega deal that he worked hard to get. With Scherzer gone the Tigers move on and need to find answers for the top of their rotation for both now and in the future.
The contract the Nationals gave him seems pretty insane to me. That’s the cost of getting a good player these days. In all honesty though I don’t think Scherzer is worth it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player, I just don’t think he’s worth a contract of over $200 million. Plus I don’t think he will hold up for that much longer. And what are they going to do in three or four years when he starts to fall off? Well they will keep paying him…for ten more years after that. I guess for him all is good. He won’t make as much in the immediate but he knows that he will be making at least $15 million a year for the next 14 years of his life. It’s baffling to me really, that a team would pay a guy $15 million a year for twice as long as the contract is worth. There are so many things I wonder about including what happens when or if there comes a time for a new contract? He obviously keeps getting paid and then I guess gets to double dip.
I don’t think the Tigers were ever not interested in signing Scherzer. I’m pretty sure they would have taken him for the right price. That price I don’t think was a whole lot higher than what was offered last offseason and I can’t believe it was anywhere close to what the Nationals ended up offering him. Because they were seemingly still showing interest in Scherzer it leads me to believe they are still not satisfied with their current rotation, nor should they be. A signing of Scherzer, or any other proven top of the rotation starter would have boosted their current rotation and given a lift to the bullpen.
With the Scherzer era done the Tigers need to figure things out with their future. I know two things pertaining to that. One, I personally don’t have an idea what they are going to do, and two, I do believe Dave Dombrowski has a plan. That plan may or may not include getting another pitcher this year but I would not be opposed to them going after someone like James Shields, the top free agent pitcher still left on the open market. They need another strong starter both for now and in the future. I am sold on David Price but the rotation beyond him doesn’t look great. You don’t know what you’re going to get from Verlander. Sanchez has been very injury prone, and you have two more unproven starters in Green and Simon. Another starter would help the rotation, and possibly move a starter (Alfredo Simon) to the bullpen.
Next offseason will be a great market for starting pitchers and I think there will be a strong need to go get another big time starter. That will become even more important if David Price and Detroit can’t reach a new deal, something that I’d like to see, but also seems unlikely right now. Looking at next year, besides just David Price the market will also hold Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, Jeff Samardzija, Doug Fister, and Rick Porcello. The bigger need will probably be next year over this year, because I think they probably can survive with the rotation as is. Still, addressing the issue now would not be a bad idea either considering Detroit has a lot of question marks beyond starting pitching going into next year.
As for this year, I understand they have five starters but I’m not sold they are truly good to go in that department. They aren’t bad and will probably be find with the added offense, but I’m not sold that this rotation is good enough to win the Central. Everyone else in the division seems to be improved and it won’t be any easy trip to another division championship. So adding someone like Shields would be big both now and next year. The problem is that I think he wants at least a four year contract and that’s probably not a great idea for a guy who is already 33. At this point there isn’t anyone else out there worth spending money on, so unless they get Shields I’m doubtful they do anything else. They will likely ride the waves this year with the rotation as is and look to do something next year. I’m doubtful the future of the Tigers rotation is in their farm system and they will need to look outside the organization for that help. They have traded away so much it’s hard to think they will find a future top of the rotation guy. If they are looking for that, and they should be, it will likely be from a big name next off season.
MSU wins ugly
Michigan State survived a big scare at home last night when they beat Penn State 66-60. It was far from a pretty game especially for MSU who wasn’t able to put away the Lions until the final minutes of the game. Even then they were helped when Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers was given a technical foul for arguing calls that went against his team down the stretch. Prior to that it was a back and forth game that saw the continued inconsistent play on the offensive end for State. Sparty shot 42% which isn’t horrible, but they were lacking the outside shooting as they went just 4-13 from behind the long line. The win is still a win and it improves the Spartans to 4-2 in the Big Ten.
I said this about MSU on Monday and it’s still true. They just aren’t a great team. They can be good but last night was another indicator of where they are at right now. There’s very little impressive about struggling to beat Penn State at home. A Penn State team that came into the game in last place in the Big Ten. I don’t think I need to tell Spartans’ fans that a good MSU team handles that Penn State team pretty easily last night. MSU is way too inconsistent on the offensive end right now and in general they don’t have enough scoring punch on a nightly basis to be a really good team. Their guard play is decent with Trice and Valentine, and they have Dawson inside but the lack of scouting from their other big and off the bench hurts. Their defense has been pretty good but at some point you need to be able to consistently put the ball in the basket.
The good news is that the rest of the Big Ten isn’t that good either. Look at the early season predictions and look at those top teams. Wisconsin is solid and still the team to beat but beyond them there’s not much. Ohio State was predicted to finish second and they are struggling a lot. Nebraska was supposed to be at the top but they are doing everything they can to stay out of the league race. Michigan is young and injured. It’s a good thing that Maryland came into the league this year, because it gives the Big Ten at least one more decent team. MSU does hold that one nice win over Iowa but remember the difference in that game though was how well they shot. It’s something we have seen in spurts this season but it hasn’t been anything you can count on every night. At the current time I’ll put MSU in the same category as a lot of these other teams and they have a long way to go to prove their worth this year.
Big second half wins it for WMU
Western Michigan put together a solid second half and picked up a good road win over Miami last night 69-58. The Broncos trailed by two at the half but outscored the Redhawks by 13 in the second half to come home winners. Austin Richie scored 16 to lead four Broncos’ starters who got into double figures. This game was far from pretty though. Both teams shot just 35% from the floor, and WMU got just 19 combined points from their top two scorers, Brown and Tava. On the positive side though Western turned the ball over just three times compared to 10 for Miami. It’s another tough, grind it out win for WMU who is still all alone atop the West Division with a 4-1 record. They now prepare to face Akron, the one team who defeated Western, at home on Saturday.
WMU is just playing pretty good basketball right now. Last night they played a very good second half in a place that’s not always easy to play (speaking of which, why were there only 667 people at a division 1 basketball game last night?). Overall, the starters are doing their job and the bench is holding down the fort when they are asked to. Just look at the stretch they’ve been through here to start the MAC season. Two very good MAC teams in Akron and Buffalo to start league play before you play Ball State (who was hot and leading the division) and then league favorite Toledo. Oh and then add in a long road trip to Miami and now they get to come home to face Akron again. There haven’t been any breaks so far and I don’t think Western is expecting there to be. They are still playing good ball though, going out and getting the job done every night.
On Tap for Tonight:
Not much going on locally tonight. If you’re desperate to watch something you can watch the NHL All-Star game. I wouldn’t recommend it though. That’s not exactly hockey.