The baseball season begins with the first game. But the baseball year, once the Hall of Fame results have been announced, begins with arbitration-filing day. That means Tuesday was the first key date for the 2014 Tigers — with six arbitration-eligible players filing, including American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Other Tigers filing were pitchers Rick Porcello and Al Alburquerque, outfielders Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks, and catcher Alex Avila. The players who filed will exchange salary numbers with the Tigers on Friday, unless they settle before the exchanged numbers become public. Players and teams can, of course, settle after numbers are exchanged and before scheduled hearings — which has been the case in the past for the Tigers. Since Dave Dombrowski became president of the team, with vice-president John Westhoff in charge of negotiating, no Tiger has gone to a hearing. But each year presents its own challenges — and the big one this year will be to reach a settlement, if possible, with Scherzer, who is a candidate to double his 2013 salary of $6.725 million. According to MLB Trade Rumors, which annually projects salaries of arbitration-eligible players, Scherzer could make $13.6 million in 2014. Scherzer is coming off his best season — a stellar year of 21 wins. Some other players on the Tigers’ list didn’t come close to having their best season — and with a combination of rising income but decreasing productivity, their futures aren’t as clear as they once were. In other words, the Tigers might be reluctant to keep paying them more for diminished returns. Porcello, Jackson and Avila, to be exact, could find themselves in that category — meaning they might become trade candidates after the 2014 season, or even during it, if they are not proving to be worth their climbing income.