MLB news roundup: Max Scherzer sets deadline, Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The reigning Cy Young award winner sets opening day as a deadline for contract negotiations, the Rangers agree to terms with Mitch Moreland, and Ryan Cook will miss time due to shoulder inflammation.

Scherzer sets opening day deadline

Max Scherzer insisted on Friday that he will not negotiate a contract extension beyond Opening Day, stating that it would be a distraction to both him and his teammates, per MLive's James Schmehl.

While Scherzer set a firm deadline, he reiterated his desire to remain with the Tigers long term. Earlier this offseason he agreed with the team on a one-year, $15.25 million contract, avoiding arbitration.

Scherzer is coming off a Cy Young award winning season, going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He notched 240 strikeouts in 214-1/3 innings, allowing a mere 152 hits and 56 walks. His 0.970 WHIP was not only league-leading but was a career best by a country mile. Scherzer has been durable in his time in Detroit, never starting fewer than 31 games, though he had not eclipsed 200 innings until 2013. Any Scherzer extension would cover his age-30 season and beyond, as he will be 29 years old entering 2014.

Texas, Moreland avoid arbitration

The Rangers announced that they avoided arbitration with Mitch Moreland on Friday, agreeing to a one-year contract for the 2014 season.

The team did not disclose terms of the agreement, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports the deal is worth $2.65 million with $25,000 in incentives for 470 plate appearances and another $25,000 if he reaches the 525 plate appearance plateau.

Moreland batted .232 with 23 home runs, 60 runs and 60 RBI last season, though he failed to crack a .300 OBP. The 23 home runs were a career high, though his offense was still below league average.

More Rangers News: Tommy Hanson signed

Cook to miss time with shoulder problem

Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Ryan Cook will be "shut down for a week or two" due to inflammation in his right shoulder, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cook has been an outstanding performer out of Oakland's bullpen for the last two years. He made 71 appearances in both 2012 and 2013 and racked up a 2.30 ERA (166 ERA+) in those seasons while striking out more than a batter per inning. He has picked up 16 saves while occasionally filling in as the closer and earned an All-Star berth as a rookie in 2012.

While he is currently being sidelined for only a couple of weeks, shoulder injuries are nothing to mess around with. It is unclear whether the move is a precaution since it is still so early in spring training, or whether there is reason to worry about a more serious malady. However, despite the fact that Cook has been a crucial part of Oakland's relief corps recently, the 2014 bullpen is well-stocked and should be able to survive without him if necessary. The A's have added Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson, Eric O'Flaherty and Fernando Abad to a strong core that already included Cook, Sean Doolittle, Dan Otero and Jesse Chavez.

More A's Spring Training: Today's the day

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