M’s still have financial flexibility for a big move

As the calendar turns into January, the hot stove typically cools until pitchers and catchers report in February. Although in recent years, including this one, a high-profile Scott Boras client has remained unsigned and figures to be a talking point for the next couple weeks. James Shields is also available, but Max Scherzer is the big fish that has yet to find a home. The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees are the most discussed landing spots for Scherzer, and one can’t count out the Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles…

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Free Agent Profile: James Shields

The prized free agent arms of this offseason belong to Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, but James Shields is an ace in his own right. Given the moniker ‘Big Game James’, Shields has been among the more consistent pitchers in baseball over the last several years. The 32-year old played a key role in the American League Champion Kansas City Royals trip to the World Series in 2014. Shields was acquired by the Royals prior to the 2013 season in a trade that included top prospects Wil Myers and Jake…

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Free Agent Profile: Max Scherzer

The Detroit Tigers have been the fortunate recipients of some of the best pitching baseball has had to offer over the last several years. Max Scherzer, the 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner, is one of three aces on the 2014 staff, but may end up donning different colors for the next chapter of his career. Scherzer is coming off another outstanding season with a 18-5 record in 220 and 1/3 innings pitched. Across 33 starts he posted a 3.15 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 3.12 xFIP. His 10.29 strikeouts…

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Free Agents 101: Starting Pitchers

With Felix Hernandez locked-up long term and Hisashi Iwakuma’s 2015 option vested, the Mariners have a secure one-two punch at the top of the rotation. On paper the other three spots will be filled by youngsters Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Roenis Elias reasonable to significant upside. There isn’t a true need in the rotation outside of some back-end depth, however adding a significant piece strengthens the run prevention of a club that again finished near the bottom of the league in runs scored in 2014. If a frontline arm…

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Qualifying Offers: Who Should Accept?

It’s year three of MLB’s qualifying offer experiment, and we’ve got our list of players that were extended $15.3 million contracts by their clubs. These are they: Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates Russell Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers David Robertson, New York Yankees Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants Ervin Santana, Atlanta Braves Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers James Shields, Kansas City Royals During the last two offseasons, exactly zero of the 22 players that…

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Top 2014 Cy Young Candidates

The 2013 Cy Young Awards went to Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer. It was Kershaw’s second and while it’s Scherzer’s first, the Tigers are certainly not unfamiliar with Cy Young winners since their ace Justin Verlander is, well, Justin Verlander, and he’s a contender every year — and the 2011 winner. Pitching, in general, is on the upswing over the past few years; some believe that is due in part to the riddance of performance enhancing substances, but in the end there’s simply…

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Mariners, Tigers trade partners again?

The Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners have hooked up on a few significant trades over the past several years, including the deal that sent right-hander Doug Fister to Detroit, and the last-decade transaction that shipped Carlos Guillen to the Motor City. The two clubs, like most others, have had conversations over the past year or so, though nothing else has come to fruition. The two could once again match up this winter, however. The Tigers just fell to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, to no…

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