Max Scherzer will be a free agent.

The Detroit Tigers announced Sunday morning that they have reached their self-imposed deadline for negotiating a contract extension with the 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner and will not discuss a contract with him until the offseason.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski repeatedly referred to the offer as "substantial" or "very substantial" and said it would have placed Scherzer among the highest paid pitchers in baseball.

"We made him an offer that would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in baseball," Dombrowski said.

Dombrowski said it was a personal record for the largest offer to a player that had been turned down.

"It's a record for me," Dombrowski said. "I can't speak for other people."

Scherzer said entering spring training that he would not negotiate during the season, so the deadline for negotiations would be the end of spring training. Dombrowski said the Tigers worked with Scherzer and agent Scott Boras with a deadline of Thursday in mind.

That deadline obviously passed without a deal.

"We made a substantial offer," Dombrowski said, "and they didn't think it was substantial enough."

Scherzer and the Tigers reached agreement on a one-year deal worth $15.5 million in January to avoid arbitration, then worked on trying to reach an agreement on an extension. But Scherzer seemed likely to test free agency all along.

Dombrowski did not go into specifics about the dollars or number of years involved in the offer. But he seemed to indicate that he thought the Tigers had extended themselves plenty far enough in both areas.

"We thought we addressed a lot of those issues," Dombrowski said. "It was a very substantial offer that would have placed among the highest paid pitchers in the game."

The Tigers announced a contract extension for Justin Verlander on March 29 of last season but set a March 20 deadline for Scherzer and Boras to reach a deal.

Dombrowski said the Tigers told Boras during the winter meetings that they were interested in making an offer to Scherzer and approached the subject again during the pre-arbitration process. But Dombrowski said Scherzer and Boras at that time wanted to focus on getting the one-year deal completed.

The two sides did talk plenty during spring training though.