Max Scherzer watches as Austin Jackson catches the final out of the eighth inning Tuesday night at Comerica Park. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Oakland, Calif. – To this degree, the Tigers offseason began Thursday afternoon.
A report already is circulating there’s a “very real chance” the Tigers will trade Max Scherzer this winter.
Basing it on sources, but not naming them, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com wrote a trade is possible “because Scherzer is one year away from free agency and is a Scott Boras client who is very unlikely to sign a long-term deal this close to being able to test the market.
“They realize that it’s unlikely he would accept a deal now.”
Speculation about Scherzer’s future with the Tigers has increased with his win total this year. But this is the first time a report has come out with the strong statement the chance is “very real” of the Tigers trading the starter favored to win the American League Cy Young Award.
Also according to Knobler, who covered the Tigers on a daily basis, “there is some belief that if the Tigers lose (Thursday night), there could be significant changes before next season.”
With Game 5 being as important as it was, however, there was no one from the Tigers front office available to comment.
Knobler also wrote the Washington Nationals “have long had interest in Scherzer and have enough young pitching to get a deal done.”
Why did the Tigers start Jhonny Peralta at shortstop?
■ Because they were still comfortable with Peralta as a shortstop.
■ Because they felt Donnie Kelly instead of Peralta in left was a bigger defensive improvement than Peralta at short, compared to Jose Iglesias, was a defensive downgrade.
■ Because they wanted as much offense as possible in the lineup, and Iglesias, after four games, was hitting .083.
For better or worse, though, it was Peralta’s first start at short since returning from his 50-game suspension for performamce-enhancing drugs.
The value of Peralta’s bat proved undeniable in that his three-run home run in the fifth tied Game 4 and his double set up the go-ahead run.
“Jhonny has played shortstop a long time in the big leagues,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He made the All-Star team twice.
“People will make a big deal about it, but it’s no big deal to me. That’s my lineup. I feel more comfortable with Jhonny at short than I do in left. He might not get to something Jose would have gotten to, and if someone wants to make a big deal of it, make a big deal about it.”
Benoit open to possibilities
Tigers closer Joaquin Benoitwas asked before Game 5 if he’d be interested in returning to the setp role next year if he comes back to the Tigers.
“I’m not the kind of guy that likes to say I’m going to be here for the rest of my life,” he said. “(Bruce Rondon) has the passion of a closer. I think whatever decision they make is going to be great.
“If they decide to go with me as a closer, I’m happy. If they decide to give me another chance and help him, being his setup man, I would be happy too.”