Justin Verlander Rumors

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.

Tigers Notes: Verlander, Sanchez, Leyland

Right-hander Phil Hughes has one tough assignment tonight: defeat Justin Verlander and the Tigers in an immensely important game at a time that the Yankees' offense is scuffling. Here are some notes on the Tigers, who will look to take a 3-0 lead in the ALCS when they host the Yankees tonight…

  • The Tigers can't be sure they'll get another equally good opportunity to win the World Series, so they must take advantage of their current position, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. Though Verlander has said he loves playing in Detroit, the right-hander knows he's just two seasons away from free agency. The Tigers could look to extend Verlander this coming offseason, but they’d have to pay him a salary commensurate with his status as baseball’s best pitcher.
  • Tigers executives believe there’s a good chance Anibal Sanchez will want to re-sign in Detroit if they make him a competitive offer when he hits free agency after the season, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports.
  • The Red Sox would be crazy not to make a serious run at Tigers manager Jim Leyland if he becomes available, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Leyland's contract expires at the end of the 2012 season at which point he could discuss a new deal with the Tigers.

Rosenthal On Yankees, Playoffs, Sabermetrics

The Yankees enter play today with a one-game lead over the Orioles and four games over the Rays. And, it's a good thing this isn't your father's Yankees, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. If George Steinbrenner was alive today, Rosenthal believes he might have fired manager Joe Girardi after blowing a ten-game lead in the AL East and replaced him with the likes of Lou Piniella. Hal Steinbrenner is almost the polar opposite of his father. So much so that, when Rosenthal asked Brian Cashman of the potential fallout that might occur if the team fails to reach the playoffs, the Yankees' GM said, "We have objective, patient ownership." Also from Rosenthal's column:

  • The new schedule hasn't been a cure-all for small market teams like the Rays. Rosenthal suggests one way to mitigate the Rays’ disadvantage would be to scale revenue sharing so they would receive a greater percentage than a low-revenue club such as the Indians, who compete in a division with lower payrolls.
  • A criticism of the new playoff system is Wild Card teams who have better records than division winners are penalized in the seeding of the Division Series. Rosenthal's solution is to wait until after the Wild Card game to seed the Division Series.
  • The AL CY Young Award voting will be a test of how accepted advanced statistics are by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Rosenthal points out the last eight AL pitchers to either lead or tie for the lead in those categories, like the RaysDavid Price this year, each have won the award. The Tigers' Justin Verlander meanwhile leads in wins above replacement and Chris Sale of the White Sox leads in ERA+. Price is tops, however, in quality of opponents faced, based on the rankings of Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
  • Larry Bowa's interview for the Astros' managerial vacancy is a good sign, as rival executives have worried that GM Jeff Luhnow is surrounding himself with too many like-minded sabermetric types rather than building a diverse baseball operations department.
  • The Marlins may have difficulty in sticking with their plan to keep Emilio Bonifacio in center field, play Donovan Solano at second, and make the acquisition of a third baseman their top priority. Rosenthal points out the market for third basemen is bare, so one alternative for the Marlins is to acquire an outfielder and move Bonifacio back to third base.
  • Look for the Rays to exercise their $2.5MM option on Fernando Rodney. Rodney is bidding to become only the second reliever in history (Dennis Eckersley in 1990) to have a season of 40 or more saves and an ERA under 1.00. Rodney leads baseball with 43 saves and his ERA is 0.66.
  • The Cubs will look again this offseason to move Alfonso Soriano, who is one home run and one RBI shy of his first 30-homer, 100-RBI season since 2005. If the Cubs fail to receive a sufficient offer, they could always bring back Soriano, owed $36MM over the next two years, and try to move him at the deadline again. Rosenthal cited the example of Carlos Lee of how it is easier to deal an overpriced player the closer he gets to the end of his contract.

AL Central Notes: Hafner, Verlander, Cabrera

Every AL Central team except the Royals has won the division at least once since 2007. Here are the latest AL Central links as the Tigers look to win back-to-back division titles for the first time since they won the 1934-35 pennants…

  • The Indians are hoping for modest production from Travis Hafner in 2012, which will probably be his final season with the Indians, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. "If Travis can be a productive major-league hitter this year, we'll be happy," GM Chris Antonetti said.
  • Justin Verlander and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports discussed the right-hander's newfound celebrity in a piece that's well worth reading. Verlander makes it clear that he loves Detroit, but admitted he’s thought about what playing in a bigger market would be like. “It would be fun, but hopefully I help turn Detroit into a major market,” Verlander said. “Other teams are major markets not just because of their fan base but because of the national fan base.”
  • No talks about a new contract for Verlander have taken place, but he’s “open for conversation” with the Tigers. Verlander, who’s under team control through 2014, is intrigued by free agency.
  • In this FOX Sports video, Morosi said the Tigers are realistic about Miguel Cabrera's limitations as a defender at third base, and seem committed to making the arrangement work.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland recently joined Evan & Phillips on Sirius XM Radio and said he's willing to accept that Cabrera won't get to as many balls as Brandon Inge might.

Quick Hits: Pirates, Verlander, Camp

On this date 14 years ago, the Mets sent pitching prospect A.J. Burnett to the defending World Series champion Marlins for Al Leiter. New York's other team was also busy that day — the Yankees acquired Chuck Knoblauch from the Twins. So far today we've seen one major trade take place and here are some assorted links to read as we await the next significant move…


Tigers Notes: Cabrera, Martinez, Verlander

Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila and Victor Martinez collected MVP votes this year, but none topped the winner of the award, Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander. Here are some updates on the Tigers' top players…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Tigers aren’t considering moving Cabrera to third base in 2012, though they may consider playing him at the hot corner during interleague play. Doing so would enable the Tigers to keep Martinez in the lineup without subjecting him to the grind of catching (he'd play first). 
  • Morosi also credits Cabrera for putting together an MVP-caliber season after being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated during Spring Training.
  • One veteran baseball executive told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that Verlander would be positioned for a deal worth at least $25MM per season if he were a free agent right now. Before the 2010 season, Verlander signed a five-year, $80MM extension that provided the Tigers with three additional years of team control. If he hadn’t signed the deal Verlander would be one of the offseason’s top free agents and might be positioned to eclipse C.C. Sabathia's record $161MM contract (no starting pitcher has obtained more guaranteed money).

Justin Verlander Wins AL MVP

Justin Verlander won the American League MVP award, according to the Baseball Writers Association of America.  Verlander took home the AL's Cy Young award last week.  He's the first pitcher to win the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992, and the first starter since Roger Clemens in '86.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, Michael Young, Dustin Pedroia, and Evan Longoria rounded out the top ten.  Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, Paul Konerko, C.C. Sabathia, Adrian Beltre, Ben Zobrist, Victor Martinez, James Shields, Mark Teixeira, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alex Gordon, Josh Hamilton, and David Robertson also received votes.