Tigers free agents mum on future in wake of loss

By Chris McCosky, The Detroit News

Detroit — For the three most prominent Tigers free agents-to-be — Victor Martinez, Max Scherzer and Torii Hunter — it was too soon to talk about the future.

"I wasn't even thinking about that," Martinez said, as the Tigers were saying their good-byes in the clubhouse following the season-ending 2-1 loss to the Orioles.

"This was the toughest loss of the year," Scherzer said. "It's really hard for me to even project what's going to happen in the future. The only thing I know is I love being in this clubhouse and I hope I will be back."

"I don't know what the future holds for me," Hunter said. "Whether I am going to play again or whether I will get the opportunity to come back to Detroit — I just don't know. I will talk it over with my wife.

"I am just tired right now."

Asked if retirement was a possibility, Hunter said, "I've thought about it a lot. We will see what happens."

A couple of weeks ago, though, Hunter said he was definitely going to play at least one more season. But with all three, the sting of the loss Sunday and of another premature exit from the postseason was all they wanted to deal with.

"You know, honestly, I don't really have a word to describe the disappointment," Martinez said. "Everybody knows what kind of team we have. At the same time, everybody knows we played against a really good team on the other side.

"It's tough. It's tough. It's really tough."

Martinez was asked if his experience in Detroit was a happy one, if it was a place he would like to come back to.

"They know," he said, apparently of Tigers management. "We will see what happens. My teammates and I have a lot of work to do. We didn't get it done. Now it's time to go home, spend time with my kids and see what happens."

At age 35, Martinez had the best year of his career. He hit .335 with career-best .409 on-base percentage and .974 OPS. His 32 home runs were a career high also, and he knocked in 103 runs.

"I never thought in my life I was going to hit 30 home runs in the big leagues," he said. "But like I always say, it's better to be lucky than good. I am still the same guy I always was. But like you say, this was a career year.

"I am going to enjoy it. There's no doubt about that."

He was asked about what went wrong at the end.

"One thing we are going to do, we are going to go home with our head high," he said. "We gave it everything we got and that's all that matters. We gave everything we had. Unfortunately, it didn't go our way.

"But we gave it a fight."

He said he was going to let his agent do all the work this offseason in terms of his free agency.

"It's time for me to relax a little bit and just enjoy my kids," he said. "We don't get to do that very much."

But he did want to make one point before he went. He's heard the recent criticism of manager Brad Ausmus. He doesn't like it, or think it's warranted.

"This is not a one-man sport," he said. "It's 25 men and we every single one to win. It's our fault. It's always easy to blame one guy — the manager. But he's got nothing to do with it.

"Actually, he did a great job for being his first time managing. Not a good job, a great job. We are the ones who go out and play and execute and try to win games. We didn't do our job. This was on the players."

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky