DETROIT (AP) — Max Scherzer is inching closer to free agency.
Both the Detroit Tigers and the star right-hander's agent say negotiations on a new contract have stalled. Scherzer, the American League Cy Young Award winner, can test the open market after this season, and as opening day approaches that looks more and more probable.
Both sides have indicated an unwillingness to negotiate once the season starts, and the Tigers released a statement Sunday morning saying a recent offer to Scherzer was turned down.
"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 team said. "As we have reiterated, it has been the organization's intent to extend Max's contract and keep him in a Tigers uniform well beyond the 2014 season. 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."
Scott Boras, Scherzer's agent, struck a similar tone, although he indicated Scherzer made his own offer to the team.
"Max Scherzer made a substantial offer for an extension to the Detroit Tigers that would have made him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball and it was rejected," Boras said. "Max is very happy with the city of Detroit, his fans and teammates and he'll continue to negotiate with the Detroit Tigers at season's end."