MINNEAPOLIS -- A year ago, Max Scherzer went to the All-Star Game telling himself he was going to enjoy it. His starting assignment made that a tougher challenge than he expected.
"You're being tugged in every which way," he said. "This year, I know what to expect, and this year I kind of feel like I can go in and embrace it even more."
Nothing was going to distract him from that this time, not even Scherzer's impending free agency a few months away. Considering the way Scherzer has pitched this season, it shouldn't be a distraction now regardless.
"I'm still numb to it," Scherzer said. "The only thing that motivates me, the only thing that I want more, is to win in Detroit this year. That's my number one goal. That's the only thing I can think about, and the only thing I want. Everything else, from the off-field standpoint, takes care of itself."
While Scherzer was saying that, the guy who handles much of that off-field stuff was standing in the same room.
"You view that as a distraction," Scherzer's agent Scott Boras said. "We view that as everyday life. When you are a player and you're going year by year, it's the same thing every year. You're making decisions and then you're going out and performing.
"I think Max's focus is on winning, it's about performance and how well his team does, and that's the same thing he was doing last year. So, I don't think that [has changed]. I mean, Max is really, really good at a plan. He's got unfulfilled goals in Detroit that he wants to accomplish, and that is at the forefront of really what he wants to do day in and day out."
That said, Boras' job is also to prepare for what happens after this. While Boras was lauding Scherzer for his focus, he also acknowledged the position he's in for this winter.
"Currently the way he's going, obviously, Max has positioned himself to be prominent," Boras said. "There just aren't many people in the league with 32 wins and six losses [over the last year and a half]."
Scherzer and the Tigers agreed in Spring Training that they wouldn't negotiate during the season, and they've stuck to that. And given Scherzer's success so far, Boras had no reason to second-guess the decision to not do a deal in Spring Training.
That decision, Boras cautioned, does not mark the end on Scherzer's future with the club. Boras made it clear he would like the Tigers to be involved.
"And I've said this long ago, the Detroit franchise is a franchise of choice," Boras said. "We certainly have not in any way [closed the door]. Our position to the Tigers, how well Max does in Detroit, none of that's changed as far as us listening to anything Detroit may have to say when the offseason comes."