Contracts will soon be expiring for select Tigers stars. Views: Max Scherzer is signed through 2014, Miguel Cabrera through 2015. Austin Jackson, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, and Alex Avila can become free agents following the 2015 season. Comerica Park customers want to know if owner Mike Ilitch will authorize princely sums to extend Cabrera and retain his upcoming free agents. Only in the cases of Scherzer and Jackson is the picture becoming clear. And that's only because Scherzer and Jackson are represented by agent Scott Boras, who never met an impending free-agent bidding war he didn't like. It is nearly certain Boras will take his Tigers blue-chippers to the open market — if Scherzer and Jackson remain healthy. It is Boras' track record. It is his business philosophy. Can the Tigers do anything in the interim? Sure. They could make Boras an offer he and either Scherzer or Jackson could not in good conscience refuse. But it would require an over-the-top expenditure by the Tigers and by Ilitch that doesn't compute, even when Ilitch is known for long and lavish concessions. The Tigers will agree to a tradeoff if Scherzer and Jackson are allowed to hit the free-agent bidding block. They will assuredly make a one-year qualifying offer to each Boras client as long as the lads are healthy. And when that qualifying offer is turned down in the name of a new, multi-year contract elsewhere, the Tigers will get an early draft pick (sandwich round, between the first and second rounds) as compensation. As for Cabrera, the picture is less clear. The Tigers probably want to extend him and probably will as long as Ilitch is calling the shots. But there is every chance they will at least listen to trade offers after this season. If the right package is proffered — multiple players with youth and elite talent — the Tigers would probably look at the long-term net gain and make a deal. That's simply good business and good baseball.
Extend? Trade? Tigers facing key decisions in next two seasons
Detroit News | Apr 9