Justin Verlander Rumors

Tigers Notes: Verlander, Closers, Porcello

Justin Verlander is mostly sticking to comments made two weeks ago that he'd like to be the first pitcher in baseball to sign a $200MM contract, according to James Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press. "They got taken out of context a little bit, but I'm not going to take back what I said," Verlander says. "Former players worked extremely hard and risked their careers, even, so we could have free agency. I think you do a bit of a disservice to that if you don't honor what they did and use the system to your advantage." Verlander's current $80MM contract is set to expire after the 2014 season. Here are more notes on the Tigers:

  • With Bruce Rondon struggling with his mechanics, it's uncertain who will serve as the Tigers' closer, and manager Jim Leyland doesn't like that, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes. "…[T]here is no question that it makes it a hundred times better when you have a closer that is a closer — and a good one — because it takes a lot of pressure off the manager," Leyland says. Nonetheless, Lowe writes that Leyland "ruled out" the possibility that Jose Valverde would return, and also suggested a trade for a closer wasn't very likely, either. An earlier report on Tuesday indicated that the Tigers were attempting to deal for a closer.
  • Rick Porcello is unfazed by recent trade rumors, MLB.com's Matthew Leach reports. "I'm in camp with the Tigers right now. I'm looking to do stuff with this club. If something happens, I'll adjust accordingly," Porcello says. "But right now, I'm here, I'm wearing a Tigers uniform, I'm happy to be here, and I'm looking to continue working for this season." Leach notes that a number of scouts from other organizations were on hand to watch Porcello Monday, when he struck out six batters in four scoreless innings against the Astros.

AL West Notes: Trout, Rangers, Felix

One American League executive told Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com that he'd be talking to Mike Trout about a "crazy-long deal" if he were running the Angels. Castrovince considers some possible comparables for extension talks, concluding that it probably makes sense for the Angels to wait before extending Trout. His leverage is high right now, even though he's arguably the best bargain in MLB.

Here are some more notes from the AL West…

  • The Rangers announced that Jon Daniels has been promoted to president of baseball operations/general manager. Daniels, who became the club's GM in 2005, will still report to CEO Nolan Ryan.
  • Daniels told Scott Miller of CBSSports.com that he's intent on being more than "the team that used to be good.” The Rangers lost Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and Ryan Dempster to free agency, but Daniels isn't worried about the transition. “You've got to keep moving forward and not be afraid of change,” Daniels said. The GM explained the importance of depth and noted that being the best team on paper doesn’t guarantee success.
  • The Rangers are among the teams still interested in free agent infielder Ryan Theriot, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). However, Theriot continues looking for more playing time.
  • Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez recently established a new record for starting pitchers, signing a seven-year, $175MM contract. Hernandez told Heyman that he expects Clayton Kershaw will be the one to break the record because "he's a little younger" than other top pitchers. Hernandez suggested that Justin Verlander "might get the money, but less years.'' The Mariners ace said he helped other pitchers a bit, adding that he won't mind when another pitcher breaks his record.

AL Central Notes: Tigers, Twins, Cabrera

Every American League Central team except the Royals has won the division at least once since 2007. Here are some AL Central notes, starting with Tigers, winners of the last two division titles…

  • Brennan Boesch doesn't have a clear role on the 2013 Tigers, and it's possible his recent oblique injury hurt his trade value, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes. GM Dave Dombrowski has said Boesch won’t be sent to the minors, according to Lowe.
  • Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press outlines four reasons the Tigers shouldn't sign Justin Verlander to a $200MM extension, before concluding that Verlander would be worth it, especially given the cost of starting pitching in MLB. Verlander has acknowledged that free agency intrigues him.
  • Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 hears from a Twins official that the asking price for Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz remains “too high." The Twins are fans of the free agent shortstop, according to Wolfson (on Twitter).
  • Asdrubal Cabrera told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he was surprised to find himself mentioned in offseason trade rumors (Twitter link). The shortstop added that he wants to spend his entire career with the Indians. Cabrera's under contract through 2014, but he'll probably appear on these pages next offseason if the Indians' shortstop prospects continue to develop.


AL Notes: Happ, Verlander, Ross

On the same day that he broke Curtis Granderson’s forearm with a wild pitch, J.A. Happ finds himself facing a roster squeeze with the Blue Jays …

  • Happ is “mired in a grey zone” in Toronto, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.  Despite solid credentials, Happ may not even earn a roster spot as a reliever with the new-look Jays.  With another potential lefty long-reliever (Brett Cecil) out of options, Toronto manager John Gibbons admits that Happ is not only “the odd man out” of the rotation, but could find himself “back down in Triple-A.”
  • Justin Verlander was merely stating the obvious when he said he hoped to become the first $200MM pitcher, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports.  Verlander explained: “The question was posed to me: ‘Do you want to be the first $200MM pitcher?’  Well, yeah.  What kind of question is that?  Of course I do.”
  • Cody Ross revealed today that “Texas was wanting to move pretty quick” towards a deal before the outfielder signed with the Diamondbacks, Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com writes.  While it was previously reported that the Rangers had met with Ross, the Arizona-dwelling Ross explained the "crazy timing" that occurred.  Ross sat down with Texas right after learning that Arizona was interested, and by the end of the next day had “basically agreed” to sign with the Diamondbacks.

Justin Verlander Talks Free Agency

FEBRUARY 22: Verlander hopes to become baseball’s first $200MM pitcher, the dominant righty tells Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.  While explaining that he wants “to be compensated for what I feel like I’ve been: one of the best, if not the best, the last few years,” Verlander claims that it remains to be seen whether a new deal will come through free agency (following the 2014 season) or an extension with the Tigers.  Verlander admits that he “would like to experience” free agency, but notes that he does not “think you have to be a free agent to get [$200MM]” and maintains that he “love[s] the idea of playing [his] entire career in Detroit.”  As Passan explains, however, the Tigers may want to try to lock down Verlander before the end of this season, as the former AL MVP is keenly aware that “the risk-reward when you get to a year [of reaching free agency] is intriguing.”

FEBRUARY 13: Though Justin Verlander’s contract won’t expire for another two seasons, it’s not too early to start wondering about the right-hander’s next deal. Felix Hernandez recently obtained $175MM from the Mariners and some wonder if Verlander, who turns 30 in a week, might be baseball’s first $200MM pitcher. He has consistently expressed interest in staying in Detroit for the rest of his career, but free agency still intrigues him.

“Absolutely,” he told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. “I think that’d be a blast. If I have two more years like I just had, it would be pretty interesting.”

The Tigers haven’t begun meaningful extension talks with SFX, the agency that represents Verlander. The 2011 Cy Young Award winner told Morosi that he’d be happy to start talks and that he has “ears open.” He believes the Tigers are planning to contend long after 2014, when his current $80MM deal expires. Even so, a new deal “would take quite a commitment on their part.” If the sides don’t reach an agreement and Verlander does reach free agency after the 2014 season, he wouldn’t be opposed to hearing pitches from interested teams around MLB.

“You know how competitive I am,” Verlander told FOX Sports. “It’s kind of fun thinking about having teams battle for you.”

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: O’s, Verlander, Royals, Crawford

Justin Verlander repeated today that he wants to stay with the Tigers beyond 2014, when his current contract expires. “I love Detroit,” he said, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. “I feel like I’m a kindred part of that town. I grew up in front of these fans and earned my way into their hearts.” Verlander said he's not yet sure whether he and his representatives would be willing to negotiate during the season. Here are some more links from around MLB…

  • Grantland's Jonah Keri interviewed Orioles GM Dan Duquette about the success of his team in 2012 and Duquette's outlook on 2013. Duquette feels that both Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will be ready to make significant impacts on the club at some point in 2013.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark presents an in-depth look at the top stories to watch in each league during Spring Training this year. Stark's piece also includes breakdowns of the best and worst free agent signings, trades and more, according to a group of 16 baseball scouts and executives.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs lists the ten worst moves of the offseason with the caveat that "the worst moves aren’t as bad as bad as they used to be." The Royals make three appearances on the list after trading Wil Myers to obtain James Shields, acquiring Ervin Santana and signing Jeremy Guthrie for three years.
  • Meanwhile, in another piece for Grantland, Keri examines the worst contracts in MLB starting with Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Carl Crawford of the Dodgers.
  • Agents at Hendricks Sports have filed an MLBPA grievance against three MLB agents who left the firm for Excel Sports Management and took players with them, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (on Twitter). Be sure to use MLBTR’s Agency Database for your agency-related inquiries.

Quick Hits: Hernandez, MacDougal, Headley

Links from around MLB on a day that many are still buzzing about Felix Hernandez’s seven-year, $175MM contract extension with the Mariners

  • The Hernandez extension may seem like an overpay, but the alternative — trading him for prospects and reallocating millions toward free agency — might be less appealing than it initially seems. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains that there’s a considerable cost for teams that attempt to rebuild regularly.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN.com explains how the Mariners could be viewed as both winners and losers following their deal with Hernandez. There's no ambiguity about the significance of the deal for Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and David Price, however; those three pitchers could be positioned for $200MM contracts, as Olney notes.
  • Verlander exclaimed "Holy cow!" after hearing the news of Hernandez's deal with the Mariners, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Verlander will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, and Nightengale notes that Verlander could be "baseball's first $200 million pitcher."
  • Mike MacDougal will throw a bullpen for interested teams in Tempe this coming Tuesday, MLBTR has learned. The 35-year-old right-hander appeared in just seven games with Dodgers in 2012, but he posted a 2.05 ERA in 69 appearances with Los Angeles in 2011.
  • The Padres should "seriously think" about trading Chase Headley before the start of the regular season, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden writes (subscription-only). Bowden notes that Headley is a free agent after 2014, and that he and the Padres haven't found common ground on a contract extension. Bowden lists the Reds, Mariners, Pirates, Blue Jays, Angels, Yankees and Tigers as possible trade destinations for Headley.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports lists the Blue Jays, Reds, Nationals and Braves as winners this offseason, while placing the Rangers, Brewers and Yankees among the losers. The Blue Jays top the list of winners after trading for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey.
  • Last night Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts and I discussed the Hernandez deal and the most improved teams in the league on the latest edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Tigers Notes: Verlander, Leyland, Porcello, Peralta

Here's the latest from the defending American League champions…

  • Justin Verlander says he and the Tigers haven't begun discussing a contract extension but the right-hander wants to spend the rest of his career in Detroit, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (Twitter link).  Verlander's current deal (a five-year, $80MM contract) is up after the 2014 season.
  • Also from Beck, the Tigers and manager Jim Leyland are likely to keep their year-by-year re-evaluation of Leyland's contract status going through at least the end of the 2013 season.  Leyland has said that he wishes to take one-year contracts at this late stage of his career.
  • Rick Porcello and Jhonny Peralta are both focusing on the upcoming season and not on trade rumors, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press writes.  Several clubs (most recently the Orioles and Diamondbacks) are reportedly interested in Porcello, while such teams as the D'Backs, Red Sox and Athletics have been linked to Peralta at various points this offseason.
  • In regards to those Porcello rumors, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including USA Today's Bob Nightengale) that while he'll listen to offers, it's doubtful that he will look to add more pitching since the newly-acquired Randall Delgado will compete for the fifth starter's job.
  • For Detroit-specific coverage from MLBTR, check out our Tigers-only Facebook page, Twitter and RSS feeds.

Zack Greinke Signing Reaction

Zack Greinke's record-setting six-year, $147MM contract with the Dodgers will have a ripple effect throughout baseball. MLB.com's Peter Gammons lists five things to watch for in the aftermath of Greinke's signing including what kind of deal will Casey Close, who represents both Greinke and his new teammate Clayton Kershaw, be able to negotiate for the young left-hander. Other aftershocks include:

  • The Rays may be in a better position to deal one of their starting pitchers, as their value should be enhanced in talks with the Rangers, Royals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, or whichever other teams are interested, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin
  • After losing out on Greinke, the Rangers will turn their attention to R.A. Dickey, James Shields, and possibly Anibal Sanchez, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, "We'd like to add to our starting depth and we'd like to acquire an impact guy. But we're not casting a wide net to add a starter at any cost."
  • The Tigers are affected both short-term and long-term, opines MLB.com's Jason Beck. Short-term, the Tigers could benefit because the Greinke signing should take the Dodgers out of the bidding for Sanchez and no other suitor for the right-hander has such superior financial resources. Long-term, potential contract extensions for Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (represented by SFX and Scott Boras, respectively, according to MLBTR's Agency Database) could become much more expensive. 
  • Earlier today, we learned how one executive believes the entire economic landscape of the game is going to change drastically because of the Dodgers' spending. And, the Greinke signing will not allay those fears.

Quick Hits: Verlander, Hamilton, Rangers, Lincecum

It’s not a huge surprise, but Tigers president and General Manager Dave Dombrowski said that he would like to make Justin Verlander a Tiger for life, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  The right-hander still has two years remaining on his five-year, $80MM deal and extending him won’t be cheap.  However, the Tigers made a similar move when they inked Miguel Cabrera to his eight-year, $152.3MM deal two years before he was set to hit the open market.  Here’s more from around baseball as the Giants celebrate their Game 2 victory..

  • People familiar with the Brewers‘ thinking told Heyman that the club is seriously considering a run at Josh Hamilton this winter.  Owner Mark Attanasio declined comment on the possibility, but the team is said to believe that Milwaukee is a viable market for the slugger.  The Brewers would obviously have a hard time competing with major market teams for Hamilton, but it helps that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers likely won’t be in the mix.
  • Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels said that he sees some similarities between what his club did in 2007 and the Red Sox‘s blockbuster deal this year, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  Texas traded star first baseman Mark Teixeira to the Braves in the summer of 2007, netting the club Elvis Andrus and freedom to build the roster.  Daniels, who was a guest on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove show, also said that he doesn’t expect to trade Andrus or Kinsler despite having Jurickson Profar close to being major league-ready.
  • Despite his struggles in 2012, General Manager Brian Sabean ruled out the possibility of Tim Lincecum moving to the bullpen next season, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Lincecum is entering his walk year in the 2013 season and will earn $22MM.
  • One person connected to the Giants told Heyman that there’s no way that Lincecum will be traded, in part because of how the fans in San Francisco respond to him.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters before tonight’s game that he has spoken with Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and has yet to hear a complaint from the organization regarding possible tampering with manager John Farrell, tweets Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.