LAKELAND - Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, last year's Cy Young award winner as the American League's best pitcher, has rejected a long-term Major League Baseball contract offer from the Tigers.
The 29-year-old American right-hander agreed to a one-year deal reportedly worth $15.25 million in January for the 2014 season but would become a free agent after the season.
Talks regarding a long-term offer went nowhere and the team said Sunday they would halt such negotiations until after the season.
"The Detroit Tigers have made a substantial, long-term contract extension offer to Max Scherzer that would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected," the Tigers said in a statement.
Scherzer was 21-3 last year with a 2.90 earned-run average and 240 strikeouts over 32 starts, becoming the second Tiger named top pitcher after Justin Verlander won the 2011 Cy Young Award.
Verlander agreed to a five-year extension with an option for 2020 last year but the Tigers have been unable to reach such a deal with Scherzer's agent, Scott Boras.
"It has been the organization's intent to extend Max's contract and keep him in a Tigers uniform well beyond the 2014 season," the Tigers said.
"While this offer would have accomplished that, the ballclub's focus remains on the start of the upcoming season and competing for a world championship.
"Moving forward there will be no further in-season negotiation and the organization will refrain from commenting on this matter."
Scherzer will start his fifth season with the Tigers, who obtained him from Arizona in a three-team deal ahead of the 2010 season that also involving the New York Yankees.
Scherzer is 64-30 with a 3.62 earned-run average over 128 starts for the Tigers. Overall, Scherzer has a career mark of 73-45 with a 3.67 earned-run average and 1,069 strikeouts in 1,019 innings over 174 games.
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