Tigers, Verlander Talking Long-Term Deal

SATURDAY, 1:31pm: Tacking on a sixth year to a new contract for Verlander could cost the Tigers an additional $20MM, writes Tom Gage of The Detroit News.

FRIDAY, 4:27pm: The sides will likely reach a deal if the Tigers guarantee a sixth year, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Verlander has avoided team options in the past so a club option seems unlikely.

1:10pm: The Tigers have started talking with Justin Verlander about a long-term deal, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan. The sides are discussing a five-year $75MM deal, but Verlander wants a sixth year guaranteed. 

Felix Hernandez's five-year $78MM deal would serve as a baseline for a possible Verlander deal. The Mariners bought out two of Hernandez's arbitration years, plus three free agent years. The Tigers are looking to do the same with Verlander, who is on track to hit free agency after the 2011 season.

Verlander, who turns 27 next month, led the American League in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched last year. It was a return to form after a disappointing 2008 season. Verlander has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last three seasons. He was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and pitched a no-hitter the following year.

Verlander filed for $9.5MM in arbitration earlier this month, while the Tigers offered $6.9MM. 


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50 Comments on "Tigers, Verlander Talking Long-Term Deal"


NYYANKEES
5 years 6 months ago

Thats it? He can get way more as a free agent.

melonis_rex
5 years 6 months ago

but if he gets hurt…….

the benefits work both ways

JerseyJohn32190
5 years 6 months ago

He can also end up getting hurt before he even reaches free agency and missing out on that big contract.

fitz
5 years 6 months ago

Felix couldn’t?

NYYANKEES
5 years 6 months ago

In 6 years Sabathia contract with Yanks is finished, Angels probably need another pitcher, Mets don’t have Santana no mor3e, and Boston most likely need a pitcher (never mind Phillies, Dodgers etc. probably need an ace too). And Felix will still be only 28 as a free agent. He will get at least 18-22 million by than.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

That high pitched girlish shrieking? That was me, screaming, “YES, YES, PLEASE GOD, YES, LET THIS HAPPEN. IDGAF, GIVE HIM THE SIXTH YEAR. GIVE IT TO HIM. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.”

And then I blacked out for two seconds.

5 years 6 months ago

I’m actually on the dissenting opinion side. The Tigers should have and should try to buy out some FA years on Verlander. With that said, I think they already missed their chance to do it affordably. Verlander is coming off of his best year, unequivocably. I would say what we saw last year was close to his ceiling. If they had locked him up last year, they could have gotten him at better deal. They may still be able to get him on a 2 year + player option next year, especially if he regresses a little this year.So, I think the Tigers should stick to their guns. 5 at 75 is plenty. He’s not worth more than Felix, to be sure. If anything, he should be getting less (provided the number of arb years bought out are the same). If he wants a sixth year, he can wait until next season where he could easily end up with arm troubles or post a 4 ERA again.

bomberj11
5 years 6 months ago

I completely agree with you. They should have gotten him locked up when he was more affordable.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

Disqus died, didn’t it? All this Verlander excitement.

theroundsquare
5 years 6 months ago

“Do it.”

DickAlmighty
5 years 6 months ago

Based on King Felix’s contract (5 years, $78m for the last two arb years and three years of free agency), I’d say Verlander deserves about a five-year, $65m deal (for last two arb years and three years of free agency) or a six-year, $80m deal (for last two arb years and four years of free agency).

King Felix has been dominant all but one of the last four years. Verlander was dominant last year, and pretty darn good in 2007, but wasn’t as dominant as Felix from 2006-2008. To me, based on skills, Felix deserves to be paid about 15-20% more than Verlander.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

//I’d say Verlander deserves about a five-year, $65m deal//

Well, that probably won’t get it done.

You may think Hernandez deserves to be paid way more because he’s the better player but that just isn’t going to happen. Hernandez’ deal kind of set the bar for Verlander’s, actually, so … blame Hernandez when Verlander gets paid. 😛

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t think Felix set the bar for Verlander’s contract like most people are saying. Felix didn’t get paid at maket value, which would have netted him 18-20mil per year. His contract was a friendly contract/discount. Verlander doesn’t deserver 15mil per year, more in the 12-13mil range.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

//I don’t think Felix set the bar for Verlander’s contract like most people are saying.//I think quite a few people would disagree. Including the Tigers.

Also:

//Felix Hernandez’s recent contract extension with the Mariners — five years, $78 million — is being used as a reference point in the negotiations.//

Source: Verlander, Tigers talk extension

DickAlmighty
5 years 6 months ago

I’m not even sure what that means. “Including the Tigers?” I think you meant, “including Verlander.” It’s not in the Tigers’ interest to pay Verlander as much as the M’s paid King Felix; if anything, the Tigers would love to DISAGREE that Felix’s contract “set the bar” for Verlander. Unless the Tigers like wasting money, they’re interests would be better served by paying Verlander LESS than what Felix got paid. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Verlander will argue that Felix’s contract “set the bar” for his next contract (not the other way around). My guess is you were trying to sound like someone who was in the know, but you ended up making no sense at all.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

No, I meant the Tigers. Verlander could get more if he’s allowed to hit free agency.

DickAlmighty
5 years 6 months ago

Dude, you’re all over the place. Verlander doesn’t hit free agency for two years. Of course he could make more as a free agent than he could make right now. But, we’re not talking about what Verlander could hypothetically command as a free agent in 2012. In THIS conversation, we’re talking about what Verlander can command as a non-free agent, in the present. He has two arb years left, just like King Felix did. Verlander can’t command (right now) what he will be able to command two years from now as a free agent. So, why would the Tigers care what Verlander will be worth two years down the road; they’re worried about what he can reasonably demand right now.

The Tigers, as a rationale business organization (big assumption) would like to pay Verlander less than what Felix will make. Verlander, as a rationale employee, is likely using Felix’s contract as the guideline. If anyone is using Felix’s contract as a guideline, it’s Verlander, who’s trying to maximize his value as a non-free agent.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

Yes, I know Verlander doesn’t hit free agency for two more years.

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

So why keep bringing that up in this conversation? What he gets in free agency and now are two different things unrelated.

R_y_a_n
5 years 6 months ago

not really, because you can lock free agent years up during the arbitration process with long term contract.

5 years 6 months ago

They’re still different. Those years are off in the future. Think of it this way. Imagine you’re some other team than the Tigers and you could sign Verlander today, but he wouldn’t start to play for your team until his FA years. Would you rather sign him today, even though he wouldn’t play for you until 2012? Or would you rather wait until then to sign him? I think the answer is clear. There is less risk in buying him at that time then there is buying him in advance. He could blow out his arm, he could get hit by a truck, he could develop a drinking/drug problem, he could just plain regress as a pitcher.

While you can lock up FA years, those years are far in advance. They have added risk to lock up. You have the option to reduce your risk by locking those up when he hits the FA market, rather than doing it now. Because you are assuming that risk, you pay the guy less. It’s pretty simple economics really, when you think about it. When he actually is a FA, it’s different. You are forced to assume that risk to get the guy, as there is no “year to year” option.

DickAlmighty
5 years 6 months ago

I’m not saying what will get it done. I’m saying what Verlander deserves. I think Felix deserves to be paid more than Verlander because Felix is a better starting pitcher.

I understand how the labor market in major league baseball works, i.e., that a contract signed by one pitcher can “set the bar” for contracts signed by other pitchers. (I assume you understand that “set the bar” does not mean two pitchers will be paid the same amount; for example, Jason Bay’s contract “set the bar” for high-profile free-agent LF’s this offseason, such as Matt Holliday, but that doesn’t mean Holliday is bound to receive the same amount as Bay.)

The point of my message wasn’t to predict what it would take for the Tigers to lock up Verlander for the next five years. We are all free to speculate as to what exactly Verlander and the Tigers will or will not eventually agree to (none of us know the answer to that question). The point I was trying to make is that, IF the Tigers sign Verlander to a five-year, $75-78m deal, they will not be getting as good of a deal as the Mariners did with King Felix.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

//The point I was trying to make is that, IF the Tigers sign Verlander to a five-year, $75-78m deal, they will not be getting as good of a deal as the Mariners did with King Felix.//

I’m not sure it’s going to be as stark of a difference as you seem to think it will be.

DickAlmighty
5 years 6 months ago

“Stark of a difference?” No comprende. If you’re saying it’s not a big deal to overpay a player by 15-20%, just imagine if a team overpaid it’s entire roster by 20%. A roster that should be making $100m gets paid $120m. At some point, that team’s going to have to cut good players to accomodate bad contracts. So, if your point was that it’s no big deal to overpay for players, I disagree.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

No that wasn’t my point.

markjsunz
5 years 6 months ago

You are not overpaying him if you lock up a few of his free agent years. If he has the same type of numbers over the next two years he will command 18 to 20 million a year. The tigers assume part of the risk buy paying him moreand the Verlander camp assumes some risk because they may leave millions on the table but get the security in case of an injury or a decline in preformance. Unless both sides give something to get something and both sides assume some risk for security it does not work.

5 years 6 months ago

Three issues with this:
1. Verlander will not have his next two seasons as good as this one. This was his best MLB season. If he had two seasons identical to it, he would have had a genuinely amazing run as a pitcher- an elite 3 season performance. You cannot bank on that happening. It could happen, but that has to be less than a 10% chance. You can’t even bank on Lincecum repeating his previous season twice more, even though he’s already repeated it once.
2. Risk is probablistic. If Verlander signs a long term deal, he is assuming no risk. What you are referring to is a potential “opportunity cost” or “regret.” There is no risk.
3. The club, if buying out FA years at market value, saves nothing and assumes more risk. Their only possible incentive for this is to be able to sign a player for less years total (so their FA commitment is 2 or 3 years at market value, rather than 6). I’m pretty sure that means a FA should generally take a loss on those years for that security.

vtadave
5 years 6 months ago

1. And how exactly do you know that Verlander is done growing as a pitcher at the ripe old age of 26? Also, how do you come up with the <10%?

2. Verlander is assuming some risk, but so is the team. He could sign the long-term deal, go out and win a Cy Young award, and he'd have left money on the table. Of course we're talking money that you and I (I'm assuming) will never see, but there is some risk.

3. Market value in January 2010 may be different than market value in 2011. Just depends on how each side thinks Verlander will perform in 2010.

fatdipinmylip
5 years 6 months ago

just give it to him……

*throws hands up in frustration*

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

5 years at 75mil is a bit too much for Verlander I think. Verlander is good he’s not worth 15mil per year. I’ll say 12-13mil per year would be a fair amount. He doesn’t come as an ace pitch worth 15mil per year.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

//He doesn’t come as an ace pitch worth 15mil per year.//

How is Verlander not the ace of the Tigers? The Tigers giving him $15 per isn’t really a reflection on the other pitchers in the league. It’s a reflection on how the Tigers view him. They clearly think he’s worth the money.

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

I never said he wasn’t the ace of the Tiger’s rotation. He is but he is more like a number 2 in other clubs. And just because Verlander is the Tiger’s ace doesn’t mean he should be paid as the other aces. Hernandez and Lincecum are undoubtly better than Verlander yet they are only going to make 15.6mil and 13mil per year. What makes you think Verlander deserves 15mil per year?

“The Tigers giving him $15 per isn’t really a reflection on the other pitchers in the league. It’s a reflection on how the Tigers view him.”

What? Read that again and see what’s wrong with it.

5 years 6 months ago

Verlander is definately an ace. However for all the starts in April except the last one against the Yankees, he pitched like he did in 2008, trying to pitch as what he thought of as a starter should pitch, trying to save energy. When that didn’t work he decided to just go all-out the whole game, and that worked very well.

First 4 starts: 21 IP, 25 K, 9.00 ERA
Remaining 31 Starts: 219 IP, 215 K, 2.92 ERA

His ERA is greatly inflated due to those 4 starts, and he still ended up with the 6th ERA in the AL in the end. Had he pitched in those 4 starts like he did the rest of the season, he would’ve been a much bigger contender for the Cy Young. Pay him Tigers, lock him up.

tiger313
5 years 6 months ago

The Tigers are not rebuilding. The trades of Granderson and Jackson were selling high to net prospects to upgrade our farm system. If we were rebuilding we wouldnt have signed valverde to the 14 mil. contract.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

//If we were rebuilding we wouldnt have signed valverde to the 14 mil. contract.//

I kind of took the Valverde signing as Dombrowski telling Verlander, “Hey, we’re not rebuilding! We want to win! Look, we got you a guy to save all the games you’re gonna win for us when you sign this new five year contract!”

Then Verlander was like, “Gimme a sixth year and you got a deal.”

And Dombrowski was like, “Nuh uh.”

And here we are today.

BrocNessMonster
5 years 6 months ago

Anyone know where I can look up his home/road splits for xFIP? His ERA on the road was a hair over 4, but he killed it in his spacious home park. I’m thinking he probably wants to stay in Detroit.

theroundsquare
5 years 6 months ago

Check baseball-reference.com

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

This has xFIP, but doesn’t do home/road splits.

BrocNessMonster
5 years 6 months ago

Fan Graphs has xFIP, but not H/R splits. I’m checking out B-R.com now.

jrollpatrol08
5 years 6 months ago

give him the sixth year. pay him felix-type money, the guys a stud and can lead that rotation for years to come. definitely an underrated pitcher, IMO with all the talk we always hear about lincecum and felix (dont get me wrong, those 2 are great pitchers, but i dont think verlander belongs far from those discussions). would love to have him on my squad for 5-6 years

jrollpatrol08
5 years 6 months ago

and i dont even really comment on non-phillies stuff but the guys nasty

Motor_City_Bombshell
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t understand why people think Hernandez is that much better than Verlander, because he’s not. Verlander is deserving of just as much money as Felix is, they are both high-calibur pitchers and I think Verlander is a little underrated. I don’t think people understand that without Verlander, the Tiger’s have no shot at contending next year, while the Mariners at least still have Cliff Lee. I think Verlander deserves the sixth year, let’s get it done! Lock him up!

5 years 6 months ago

It’s kind of ridiculous that people think Felix is so much better than Verlander, when over the last four seasons Verlander has more innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins. And he does it in a park that routinely gives up more runs than the one Felix pitches in. Verlander is worth every bit as much as Felix. $90M for six seasons of Verlander looks like a bargain compared to most long-term deals handed out to starting pitches in recent years.

optionn
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t know why the Tigers would sign him long term unless he gives them a sizeable discount. Its ridiculous how much these young guys are asking in arbitration, but its still good business to do 1 year contracts. Less risk. If you got 2 arbitration years averaging 10 million per. 3 years of free agency at 15 million. I guess if he wants 65 million or less you do the deal. The Mariners didn’t get a discount at all. The 2 years of arbitration cost them a fortune.

markjsunz
5 years 6 months ago

If the Tigers mess around with him year to year in arbitration over the next two years then he will want a 7 to 8 year contract at 20 million a year. Doubtful he will remain a Tiger. Sign him long term, pay him what he is worth, or trade him next year for prospects if you do not want to pay him.Hometown discounts on players as good as Hernandez or a verlander are fantasys. It is always the same thing. I love the community, the fans, the orginization blah, blah blah. Then the player goes to the highest bidder.

tigers22
5 years 6 months ago

It’s going to happen soon. JV is sick and we need him around to anchor our rotation for years to come. DD- just give the man what he wants and lock him up!

pmc765
5 years 6 months ago

Obviously if Verlander flames out with an injury he benefits from signing now for $15M a year. In the past he’s never been hurt, although in his rookie year his arm went a bit dead late in the year.

On the other hand, this pitcher looks, at age 26, to be the best pitcher ever to wear the English D. The only pitcher he reminds me of is his idol, Nolan Ryan. And the 26 year old Nolan Ryan wasn’t anywhere near as polished and consistent as the 26 year old Justin Verlander is.

If the Tigers guarantee a sixth year, whether it’s at $15M or $20M, that number for the 2015 season will be below market, well below, for a Hall of Fame pitcher at age 32.

Pitchers like this are diamonds beyond price. They come along very, very seldom. It is scary to think of the bidding for a healthy, successful JV two years from now.

The Tigers are smart to invest in this, their most valuable asset.

j6takish
5 years 6 months ago

Anything could happen injury wise, but he has had 200+ IP of 90mph+ stuff for four plus seasons, and has never been DLed. He has excellent form and its a safe gamble to assume he won’t be sidelined for any significant time. Felix is a better pitcher only because he is younger, and a more media friendly player. Verlander asking for “Felix” money is not an absurd request in any way, both players deserve more than they are getting. As far as Cy Young voting, It’s too much of a popularity contest for me to take it that seriously. I mean, some of the voters still consider wins to be a major deciding factor.

verlander
5 years 6 months ago

They’re not going to trade him. Verlander is one of the cornerstones. He’s not going anywhere.

5 years 6 months ago

Because surely, the best way for a mid-market team to compete is to trade away cost controlled players rather than locking them up affordably? (head scratch) The Tigers still have huge money invested in win-now guys that can’t be easily moved (see: Cabrera, Ordonez, Guillen, etc). They’re basically stuck trying to compete instead of a full tear-down and rebuild mode this year. On the other hand, most of the team becomes FA at the end of 2010 so they may be best suited doing their best to get many of these guys to have career years that will make them Type A or B, then reap some prospects.

If they’re serious about rebuilding, they should lock Verlander up and try to dump Ordonez any possible way they can just to avoid his option for next year from vesting. Ordonez is the only major dead weight not coming off the books next season (provided his option vests, which it easily could). They need to remove him, by force if necessary. 😉