Why would a man turn down $144 million at the peak of his career? That's the question Albert Chen asked Max Scherzer, who rejected a lucrative multi-year extension offer from the Detroit Tigers before the start of the season. The defending Cy Young winner, who broke out in 2012, is placing a big bet on himself that, as good as he was last year, he can be even better in 2014 and beyond.
In his profile, Chen takes a look at the 30-year-old Scherzer's background and the moment that Detroit's ace learned what he felt was a powerful secret to help him dominate hitters. Along the way, Scherzer developed from a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter into one of baseball's best, thanks in large part to the emergence of a curveball that's helped him rip through opposing lineups. Scherzer talks his pitching philosophy, his usage of advanced statistics, and what he's learned from other pitchers around the league. Finally, Chen attempts to answer the question as to whether or not Scherzer's gamble will pay off, or whether he's taken a bad bet on himself. This week's issue also includes a short piece from Joe Sheehan on the changing role of the ace starter and the decreased workload that starting pitchers now face, and whether it's worth it to give nine figures to get fewer innings from your best pitcher.