Wiser Investment: Porcello or Scherzer?

This offseason, Detroit will likely be forced to part with one of their starting five.

As the Tigers reach the midway point, it’s not too early to begin thinking of a solution to this dilemma. Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer both have incredible value in very different senses, so which one is a wiser pick?

Let’s start with the obvious choice (And probably future New York Yankee) Max Scherzer. At 29 years old, Mad Max put together a season that made Justin Verlander blush. The reigning American League Cy Young wanted upwards of $200 million, and the Tigers were only willing to bet $144 million on him.

His 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts, as well as a career high in innings pitched wasn’t enough for the Tigers to take the bait on Scherzer, and he bet his future on the 2014 season.

At 11-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 19 2014 starts, Max appears to be poised to command the kind of cash he wanted, though it would be unwise to assume Max will continue at this pace for years to come.

Fangraphs is showing a slight but noticeable decline in his average fastball, and his extremely violent delivery will hinder his ability to continue to pitch at this pace.

Age is also becoming a factor. The Tigers recently signed Justin Verlander, who had just reached his 30s. To this point in 2014, Verlander has struggled. Do the Tigers really want to ink another massive and long contract on a pitcher that will turn 30 on July 27th?

Rick Porcello, meanwhile, is a seasoned 25 years old, four younger than Max, and has just 12 less career victories (72) than Scherzer (84).

The wheels appear to be turning in Ricky P’s head. At 11-4 with a 3.53 ERA, his numbers continue to improve season to season.

He has now put together six consecutive seasons with 10 or more regular season victories. Rookie Ricky pitched in the infamous game 163 against the Minnesota Twins in 2009. Though the memories of that fateful evening in the Metrodome are predominantly negative, Porcello’s stellar start as a 20 year-old should not be dismissed.

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Rick Porcello is a starting pitcher with a bevy of incredible experience at 25, and it appears better seasons are still ahead of him. He finished 13-8 in 2013, one win short of his 14-victory rookie campaign.

Now, he is four victories away from setting a new career high with two and a half months to earn them.

The Tigers could stall and sign Rick to another one-year deal, or go all-in and somewhere in the neighborhood of $25-90 million on a long term contract, and have his prime years ahead of him. If Rick were to have 20 win seasons in 2015 and 2016 on one-year deals, they could risk losing him during his prime and be forced to overpay for his post-prime years.

It becomes obvious that the Tigers could more than afford to allow Max to walk and give him a thank you card and gamble on Rick for over $100 million less, giving them offseason options to fill space with a plus lefthanded bat/right fielder, the option to hang on to Victor Martinez, or possibly another starting pitcher if Robbie Ray doesn’t pan out.

The Tigers World Series window does not close if Max leave, rather it could (Emphasis on COULD) be aided by Max going elsewhere. It frees up money for the Tigers to become flexible this winter.

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114 thoughts on “Wiser Investment: Porcello or Scherzer?”

  1. yes let max go. anyone who turns down 144 million does not want to be there. adios max. you may be a gr8 guy , but danm man just how greedy r u?

  2. It could (emphasis on COULD) be his past very quickly (Cough read the article cough).

  3. When you’re on a 5 man rotation and, by far, the best pitcher, wouldn’t you want to be paid like it?

  4. Porcello is pitching when the bats r hot. How can u not when games. Scherzer last yr pitch in the hot spot of the rotation. Do the math

  5. How about trading Max at the deadline and not losing anything but securing the future for many more years of being competitive,

  6. i think 144 million IS getting paid like it. and maybe you have forgot jv? yes hes had a tough year but he will bounce back

  7. Rick doesn’t have the stuff max does. I get the concept of the argument but I don’t see porcello ever being an ace

  8. The money will barely be there IMO . Yeah no Scherzer for sure, he will command to much jack & tigers ownership is pretty tapped out. I hope we can keep Rick, his age and progression is more attractive than Max. Wish they could sign both but no way…

  9. Rick is so young and keeps improving by leaps and bounds. He is our future ace. Gotta keep him. Honestly, I prefer Max over Justin but I doubt the Tigers will ever let him go.

  10. You people are crazy. Scherzer is amazing and Verlander isn’t doing too bad for recovering from an injury. I can’t even believe I’m reading this crap!

  11. we made max a contract deal that was more than fair, I mean the guy has only had one great year for the tigers and we still offered him 144 million plus he is 30 years old it would be wise for the tigers to sign rick long term, he is finally developing into the ace pitcher he can be, we have verlander and schanze locked up so we lock rick up we have a strong 123 starters but let max walk he isn’t worth the money plus rick is a lot younger and has more good years ahead of him unlike max who will start to decline

  12. I don’t think the Tigers will LET Scherzer walk, he’ll make the choice. Trading him now is ridiculous if you want a best chance at a title.

  13. they need to sign Scherzer after this season.. not for the 8 years he wanted.. but long term… pitching & defense wins championships.. they need to keep their pitching in tact.

  14. Sherzer was the best in the league last year and saw what jv got not to mention pitchers have his worth. It’s not greed he knows he can get more. And they will pay or lose him to someone who does and I guarantee we won’t win against him if he leaves

  15. I have to agree. If we are looking to the future for more play off appearances, smart move to keep Rick P. Max might have insured himself in case of an injury. Porcello and Sanchez are the future of Tigers pitching. And we cannot forget about Smyly, he sure has come a long way out of the bull pen

  16. If they win the world series i think they will both. Sometimes younger is not the best choice.

  17. Keep all three – if they don’t, we’ll never have a chance at a World Series! (and I want that – in this life-time!!!!)

  18. money grows on tree’s when you own a pizza empire, a hockey empire, and a baseball empire.. along with various other things.

  19. I think Max made his choice when he turned down $144 million dollars. I think he is going to test the free agency market and see what offers are out there. Even in free agency he could still sign with Detroit. In the perfect world I would keep both. But baseball is not perfect and money is not unlimited.

  20. sorry but he is not by far the best starter…….rick & anibal are right there and jv is finding his groove and im sure will dominate in the playoffs like last year

  21. would like to see us trade scherzer for a bottom of the rotation starter and a few prospects. then give ricky p a 5-6 year deal after the season.

  22. right Rick doesnt have the fastball that Max does but his other pitchers are better and it doesnt take the toll and his arm that throwing hard does

  23. This idea of a “World Series window” is absurd. As long as you’re willing to spend money, your window is never closed.

  24. The Tigers should work out a 3-team deal to trade Max for a prospect package that we can send to TB for David Price. Price is under contract in 2015. That would give us time to try and extend him while allowing the Tigers to still win this year and next. If Price doesn’t want our money, we can decide if we want to deal him for a nice prospect package a year from now.

  25. That’s actually could work the only problem is the rays like to sign player young and then once they are devolved such as Price they trade them away for young prospects, they like to maintain a low payroll… That would be awesome though a cy young pitcher for a cy young pitcher lol

  26. I don’t think Scherzer wants to stay in Detroit… No other team is going to pay him that amount of money for an aging pitcher that the Tigers paid him

  27. Nobody’s gonna want JV and that contract. Not the same pitcher he was. Another 2 years and Max won’t be the same either, he’s 30.now and he wants a 8 year contract? Crazy, let the Yankees get stuck with him

  28. Nicholas. I meant trade Scherzer to another team that has high-end prospects then deal those prospects to Tampa for Price. Max is not the kind of player the Rays would covet.

  29. I believe that Max’s agent had A LOT to do with his contract! After all, that is a nice gob of $$$ in his pocket!!! All you have to do is watch MAX in an interview, he is happy in Detroit!

  30. I’m sure the Yankees are already trying to figure out what moves it will take to put the Max amount of $$$ on the table for Scherzer.

  31. Agreed on Scherzer/Porcello. They can try to sign him to a short term maybe(1-3 yrs) and invest in Rick.
    Get rid of the dead money/ waste of roster space in:Coke/Robson/Romaine lettuce, and a few others.

  32. Ron, there’s no one on the Yankmes I’d want in return if the Tigers tried to trade him there, lol

  33. Lol lotttaaaaa ignorant statements here. Everyone knows all about payroll and salary, I see.

  34. Yankee, Cubs, Diamondbacks will be going for Max big tine this offseaon. Howver DD needs to strongly sign him, he might be in his early 30s however has less then 20,000 Big league pitches he is no starting a decline yey

  35. No way,they can’t count on Porcello alone, without Scherzer their screwed, they haven’ made it with both of them yet. They could go into another slump before this yr. Is over.

  36. Mary Ellen Bennett, he said he was happy here in Phoenix also. It is called pay me the money. I lived in the Detroit area and it is not a place I would live again.

  37. Well let me tell u that starting rotation is not going any were they all love to play for the tigers jv would redeo his contract if u have not learned from past tigers don’t move around that much enless guys retire or they can find better max is a tiger on and off the field he’s always been a tiger always wil be just like miggy they will take less money to be in the tigers organization it’s a life style

  38. Everyone saying get rid of JV cause Max is better(crazy)? JV goes against the opposing teams #1 pitcher Max goes against the opposing teams #2 pitcher. Put Max going against opposing teams #1 pitcher an it won’t be the same results besides he’s only pitched 1 full complete game. The Yankees always get our used up guys didn’t work out for Granderson he’s Met an on a decline…. Although I’d like to see Max stay but his Agent is the worst in the MLB

  39. Most of you people don’t know crap everyone has there upd and dowms JV is in Detroit for life I would like to see Max here to stay for life as well

  40. Investing big?? It wont take $144 million to keep Porcello. Two options: Roll the dice you can win a WS this year and keep Max or trade him at deadline for prospects and hope JV regains his form in playoffs! Max made it clear he doesnt want to stay in Detroit! Great teams fill holes w their surplus…Starting pitching is a surplus on this team…Fill your bp holes!!! Fyi Im a huge Scherzer fan. Go Tigers!!!

  41. Keep them both. With JV not being very good this year you would be cray, cray to let Max walk.

  42. Keep them flexible to do what? The weaker links can be replaced at moderate expense. Keep them both and work around them.

  43. I really feel that scherzer wanna test free agency,but ill b open to trading talks. Both of them have great trade value and we can’t afford for one of them to walk away

  44. Scherzer wants to b a cardinal, who n they rite mind would turn down a contract lik he did. Lets not b fooled ppl

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