The Tigers are "increasingly optimistic" about signing Justin Verlander to a long-term deal, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Felix Hernandez's five-year, $78MM deal is being used for comparison, but Morosi feels Verlander might be aiming to top that with either a larger guarantee or a sixth year. What's more, Morosi feels Verlander is justified in asking for more money than Felix.
Morosi appears to be using the simplistic arbitration hearing-type stats to make his case – wins, All-Star appearances, and even no-hitters. But this is not a hearing decided by three baseball rubes. Consider:
- Hernandez is almost three years younger than Verlander.
- Hernandez has a better career ERA, ERA+, and FIP.
- They're similar (Hernandez being slightly better) in career innings, strikeout rate, walk rate, and home run rate.
- Regarding Verlander's seven extra career wins in six fewer starts, look at run support. Verlander has received 5.2 runs scored per start, Felix 4.3.