Several Tigers may not return to Detroit next season

Victor Martinez had career bests in batting average at .335, in home runs with 32, on-base percentage at .409 and OPS at .974.

Rick Osentoski

DETROIT — It’s a difficult time to think about next season when you’ve just been swept out of the playoffs.

But the fact is that the Detroit Tigers of 2015 will not look the same as the Tigers of 2014.

There are several important free agents that might not return to the Tigers, even though they might want to.

Among those players are Max Scherzer, Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke.

Scherzer, who turned 30 in July, was 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA this past season, a good follow-up to his 2013 Cy Young campaign in which he was 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

"It’s hard to even think about that right now when you have a loss like this," Scherzer said in a quiet clubhouse. "Whenever you get bounced out of the postseason, it always stinks, so the picture will adjust as the offseason progresses.

"I do hope I’m back. I love this clubhouse, love the players in here. I’ve gone to battle with these guys for five years."

Martinez had career bests in batting average at .335, in home runs with 32, on-base percentage at .409 and OPS at .974.

When asked if he wants to return, Martinez said, "They know. They know, so we’ll see what happens.

"I wasn’t really thinking about (my future). My teammates and myself had a lot of work to do and unfortunately we didn’t get it done. Now, we’ll see what happens. It’s time to go home and spend time with the kids and see what happens."

Hunter, 39, is not the player he once was, but he still hit .286 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI.

"Don’t know what the future holds for me, whether I’m going to play again or get an opportunity to come back to Detroit, I just don’t know," Hunter said. "Talk it over with my wife. Just tired, tired right now, man."

Chamberlain signed a one-year deal before the season and was good before the break, going 1-3 with a 2.63 ERA. Post-break, he was less effective, going 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA.

"I have no idea (about my future)," Chamberlain said. "I’m worried about taking care of an 8-year-old son right now, that’s about the biggest thing, my biggest worry right now. I think he’s taking it a little bit harder than I am. That’s my biggest worry right now, I’ll worry about myself later. I just want to make sure that he’s all right. We’ll go on from there."

Chamberlain said he loved being a Tiger.

"I loved the experience, from top to bottom, the staff, and the players that everybody is surrounded with, it’s been awesome," Chamberlain said. "It’s been one of the greatest years of my life as far as personally and on the field. Just to make a lot of friends that I feel I’m going to have the rest of my life is a special feeling."

Those who do plan to return, like catcher Alex Avila, who has a club option for 2015, know that Sunday was a day of final goodbyes for some teammates.

"Where it can be difficult at times to see friends come and go, that’s part of the game and that’s the reality of the situation and you have to be able to deal with it on a yearly basis and even sometimes during the year," Avila said. "We’ll find out how it will all unfold this offseason and take it from there. That’s always the case every single year. It sucks sometimes but that’s the reality of the game."