The Tigers agreed to a five-year, $80MM deal with ace Justin Verlander yesterday – $2MM more than Felix Hernandez received upon signing in January. The deal buys out Verlander's final two arbitration years and three free agent seasons. Reactions from around the web:
- ESPN's Buster Olney compares Verlander to Dwight Gooden, and says the Tigers "are right to commit an enormous contract to a guy who won't be 27 for another couple of weeks, and who has established a nice base for what might turn out to be a Hall of Fame career." Interestingly, Baseball-Reference lists Wade Miller and Hernandez as Verlander's top two comparables.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes the rarity of under-30 aces reaching the free agent market.
- Zack Greinke will be 29 when he's eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, writes Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. More so than Verlander, Greinke and Hernandez are positioned to enter free agency in their prime if they choose.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck says the Tigers are one of three teams now on track to have two players earning more than $20MM at the same time. ESPN's Rob Neyer points out that the Tigers "will shed an immense amount of payroll obligations over the next couple of years."
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports still feels that Verlander "has accomplished more than Hernandez in the major leagues." I still disagree, but they're close and the contracts are virtually a wash.