By: Holly Horning
Rest easy, my friends…..this is NOT another article about Max’s new contract, or as he is now known, Maxamillions Scherzer. Despite the media’s exhaustive coverage, some of the most important questions still have yet to be asked. Questions that will impact the Tigers, Nationals, post-season play and professional sports in ways not yet considered. Let’s dig in, shall we?
1. Will Max pitch deeper into games this year now that he is set for life? Known for adhering to rigid pitch counts, will Max go beyond them in 2015? Some have insinuated, including former Tiger pitchers and a bevy of Red Sox players, that he put himself ahead of the team during the playoffs by not pitching as long as he could have. Could the fear of arm injury and a potential mega-contract have taken priority over getting a ring? It will be interesting to see what happens this year.
2. Is having five top starters too much of a good thing? Max has joined a rotation where four of the five current pitchers may lay claim to being ranked as #1 or #2 on any team. The youngest starter, after having a very successful year, is being demoted to the BP to make room for Max. And one day after Max signed, it was reported that Stephen Strasburg asked to be traded, further supporting last year’s stories about continued friction between the pitchers. Which brings us to….
3. Why isn’t conflict of interest addressed with sports agents? Only in baseball, are predatory lawyers allowed to take advantage of elderly rich men and get away with it. With Max’s signing, Scott Boras now has eight clients with the Nats, including Max and Strasburg. It is being reported that Strasburg’s reason for wanting to be traded is related to Max being signed and automatically annointed as their Opening Day starting pitcher. As we saw in Seinfeld, double-dipping’s a no-no; same can also be said for baseball.
4. This new type of contract will create new problems. It’s no longer about the folly of long-term contracts for pitchers hovering around age 30 anymore. It’s about teams finding new and ingenious ways to avoid paying the piper as long as they can while still being able to sign top talent. While teams have started to turn away from long-term contracts for pitchers, the impact from Max’s deal will start yet another arms race as teams look to borrow against their long-term future. The full extent of this 14-year deferred contract will not be realized for years.
5. Could Max’s departure actually be a good thing for the Tigers? After hearing Max’s best impression of Charlie Sheen ( “Winning!!” ), could the Tigers now feel they really have something to prove? Could this be the impetus for the team to dig deeper united in a common goal? Maybe Brad should consider using this event to fire up his players when needed. We all know what that trigger word will be…….