DETROIT -

Tigers starting pitcher and reigning AL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer made waves this spring when he turned down the Tigers' 6-year, $144 million contract extension offer.

No one would be dumb enough to turn down all that money, so Sports Illustrated wonders in their current cover story if Scherzer was crazy like a fox to decline the Tigers' offer.

"Max Scherzer is a really smart guy, so what does he know that we don’t?” Asks SI's Albert Chen.

Actually, what Scherzer knows isn't exactly a great mystery: Baseball's free agency market will go crazy for a 30-year-old front line starter this off-season.

Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA last season and is currently 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in four starts this year.

Cliff Lee, baseball's highest-paid pitcher, signed a 5-year, $120 million contract with Philadelphia after the 2010 season. Since that time, Lee has gone 40-27 with a 2.81 ERA.

This past off-season. second baseman Robinson Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million free agent contract with Seattle and the Tigers gave Miguel Cabrera a 10-year, $292 million extension.

So the answer to the question -- what does Max Scherzer know? -- may just be that he's likely worth tens of millions more as a free agent.