In case you missed it, in the late hours of the evening, the Washington Nationals made a big free agency splash in signing Max Scherzer, formerly of the AL Central Detroit Tigers, to a seven-year deal. In doing so, the ballclub may have in fact bailed out not only the Minnesota Twins, but the entirety of the AL Central.
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Thanks to our friends over at MLB Daily Rumors, Devan Fink was at it again and able to share the contract details with the masses.
Now, although the Nationals play in the National League, and were already regarded as a World Series contender prior to Scherzer, they did a ton to shake up the baseball landscape over night.
For most of the offseason, Detroit Tigers president Dave Dombrowski, has stuck to the notion that the Tigers were not in on bringing Scherzer back. While the amount of money he was, and eventually did, command was a hefty price, they remained amongst the neediest teams for his services. In looking at our AL Central predictions, it is very apparent the Tigers needed some pitching help. Despite being looked at as a top of the division team, this is now the current Tigers starting rotation:
First, yuck. Second, look at all of those question marks. Forget the fact that the Tigers had one of the worst bullpens in baseball a season ago, and the fact they did very little to fix it this offseason. Verlander is likely going to bounce back in 2015, but he was nowhere near himself a season ago. Price was hit or miss after coming over from the Rays, and Anibal is an injury concern. Shane Greene is still just a bottom of the rotation starter, and Alfredo Simon’s 2014 was more likely the outlier than the norm.
What does this mean for the rest of the division? It means, get excited, that Tigers team just got a lot more beatable. After projecting them to finish near the top, I now wouldn’t be shocked if the Indians and even the Twins make a push to knock out the Tigers. The offense is going to be stout, but how healthy can it stay? Miguel Cabrera is coming of injuries, they lost a bat in Torii Hunter, and can Victor Martinez replicate his season in 2014?
In not signing Max Scherzer, the Tigers probably didn’t do anything to cripple their 2015 chances, but they have now done enough to make all of their division foes walk into Comerica Park with a heightened belief that they in fact are the better team on the field.
For a Twins team that played divisional foes strong a season ago, this is a notion you have to be excited about. On the other hand, how about that Nationals rotation…