On the whole this seems like a ridiculous question. One is a guy mowing down the competition with a great ERA and an 18-1 record. The other is a 32 year old middle infielder who has enough pop in his bat to be a good piece in the bottom half of the order. However, Infante has brought stability to a position that has been very erratic over the past few seasons. However this many not boil down to a decision over these two players, but one of experience. How many youngsters would the Tigers be comfortable with as regular starters as soon as 2014?
Of course the answer to that probably lies with how the rest of 2013 plays out. If the Tigers win a World Series Mike Illitch may be more willing to spend bigger on payroll next year, or he may decide to rebuild on the fly save some dollars as his goal of bringing a World Series title to Detroit would have already been met.
Either way it is going to be very expensive to bring back both Infante and Scherzer. While it is fun for Tigers fans to say that the Tigers have an unlimited payroll that is simply not that case. Mr. Illitch has a number he will not go north of, and while that might change from year to year the payroll in not unlimited.
Granted more than likely Scherzer will be here in 2014 as he does not yet have six years MLB service and since his agent Scott Boras will likely not sign a long term deal in front of unrestricted free agency. On top of all that if the Tigers keep Scherzer next year, in place of locking him up long term or trying to deal him (with limited value without being signed long term) they would be in line to receive a first round draft pick as compensation if he left the team in 2015. That is of course after they tendered him a qualifying offer of at least 12 million dollars. If Max stays healthy wins the Cy Young award this year and goes out and dominates again next year he could be in for a very large deal.
Which bring us back to Infante. Is this where this team saves a little cash and turns over the starting job at second to Hernan Perez? Despite his struggles against breaking balls seen by all of us while Omar was on the DL Perez is a legit second baseman and the Tigers are very high on him. That would give the team very young starters at short in Jose Iglesisas and at second. If we factor in the assumption that Nick Castellanos will be the starting left fielder sooner rather than later the Tigers would be very young. Granted they still would have some veteran experience in the infield and outfield at least for 2014.
However, the Tigers have always been a team that relied more on veterans than young talent, especially if Jim Leyland returns as the skipper in 2014. However, payroll considerations made by the front office might force him to start three virtual rookies in 2014. again what happens in 2013 will likely have a big impact on how the Tigers choose to construct their 2014 roster.
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