Max Scherzer had his worst outing of the season Wednesday, and even in that he showed a side of himself that will be valued when he becomes a free agent in the fall. Scherzer allowed seven runs in the first three innings, with his pitch count spinning out of control, and yet he still held it together long enough to throw the last pitch of the seventh inning. He will get paid in a big way, and so will Jon Lester, whether it's by the Red Sox this summer or by some other team in the open market, and James Shields, who is doing what he has always done, taking the ball and pitching well.
Here are some other prospective free agents off to strong starts:
1. Victor Martinez, DH, Detroit Tigers: On Wednesday's podcast, Torii Hunter offered a great description of how Martinez focuses, how he controls the tempo of each at-bat. Martinez, 35, is having one of the best seasons of his career, now having fully overcome the knee surgery that cost him the 2012 season and affected him the first half of 2013. So far he's hitting .329, with 12 homers, 16 walks and 11 strikeouts, sporting a .998 OPS. It would make sense for the Tigers to re-sign him, but if that doesn't happen, another team will jump at the chance to do so, given the nature of his at-bats and reputation for being an outstanding teammate.