March 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Tom Gage

Would you give Justin Verlander money to Max Scherzer?

Max Scherzer talks with pitching coach Jeff Jones on Wednesday against the Astros. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)

Gage’s 140 (words not characters):

For today you are the Tigers’ general manager.

And the subject is Max Scherzer, who can be a free agent next offseason.

What would you pay him: less than Justin Verlander, as much as Justin Verlander, or more than Verlander is owed in the final six seasons of his contract?

Verlander jumps from $20 million per season to $28 million next year and stays there through 2019.

That amounts to $140 million for five years, with a $22 million vesting option for 2020 tied to Cy Young Award voting.

Not based on starts or innings pitched, the option kicks in if Verlander is a top five finisher in the 2019 voting.

Is that the contract you’d offer Scherzer? Or if it takes more, would you give it to him this spring?

You’re the general manager today. You make the call.

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