Justin Verlander Rumors
Tigers manager Jim Leyland is excited about Justin Verlander's extension and the possibility it could keep Verlander in Detroit his entire career, MLB.com's Adam Berry reports. "I think it was obviously a great situation for him. I think it's a great situation for the organization. I think it's a great situation for the fans," says Leyland. "He's been with the Tigers for going on his eighth year, [and he could stay] conceivably 15 years or maybe 16. That's pretty much a whole career. I think that's got a nice ring to it."
- The Mets should consider promoting top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, and should soon begin thinking about signing him to a long-term deal, David Lennon of Newsday.com argues. Promoting Wheeler to start the season, rather than delaying his service-time clock by starting him off in the minors, might show that the Mets are taking the 2013 season seriously, Lennon suggests. Once Wheeler is in the majors, Lennon argues that the landscape of the game (with teams signing their young stars left and right) suggests that the Mets will consider signing Wheeler long-term.
- Kevin Gregg of the Dodgers is still bothered that he didn't receive a major-league contract this offseason, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports. Gregg posted a 4.95 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 for the Orioles in 2012. "The way last year ended, the way the offseason unfolded, you're not a competitor if you don't have a little fire to show your abilities," says Gregg. Gregg has gotten good results this spring, but the Dodgers have a very crowded pitching staff, and might not have space for him.
Justin Verlander is extremely competitive, and he bested every pitcher in baseball today with his new contract extension. His five-year, $140MM extension with the Tigers has a $28MM average annual value and will keep him in Detroit through the 2019 season. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2020 worth $22MM. Verlander's AAV is the highest ever for a pitcher, unless you count Roger Clemens' pro-rated 2007 salary. Verlander's new contract could be called a seven-year, $180MM deal, since this contract technically replaced the two years and $40MM Verlander was owed for 2013-14 without an increase. In that sense, it tops Felix Hernandez's seven-year, $175MM contract from last month (Felix received $135.5MM in new money, so Verlander wins that comparison as well).
The option for 2020 will vest if the hurler finishes top five in the 2019 Cy Young voting and includes a no-trade clause, though he was three seasons away from obtaining ten-and-five rights anyway. Predictably, the deal also includes performance bonuses for winning MVP and Cy Young awards.
“Justin is one of the premier pitchers in baseball and we are thrilled to keep him in a Tigers uniform for many years to come,” Tigers General Manager David Dombrowski said via press release. “Justin has been a Tiger for his entire career and he is on pace to be one of the greatest pitchers in this illustrious franchise’s history.”
Verlander said recently that he would not engage in contract talks once the season got underway. With little talk of progress between the two sides in recent weeks, it didn't seem likely that a deal would be worked out in time. With Verlander's new pact and deals for Prince Fielder, Anibal Sanchez, and Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers now have north of $90MM committed to four players for 2015.
Verlander's last extension was also of the five-year variety and was worth $80MM across the 2010-2014 seasons. The Tigers haven't done much in the way of extensions since then, as MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows. Ryan Raburn's two-year deal prior to the 2011 season was Dombrowski's last.
Even though Verlander bested Hernandez's deal by $5MM, he may not stay atop the mountain for long. His deal likely boosts the value of a deal for Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who is also scheduled for free agency following the 2014 season. Here are MLBTR, we don't consider Verlander's contract anywhere close to $200MM -- we prefer to look only at new, guaranteed money. In that sense, C.C. Sabathia's seven-year, $161MM contract signed in December 2008 is still the largest ever given to a pitcher.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reported the terms of the deal. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) had other details of the contract. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
- With Verlander, Buster Posey and Adam Wainwright all agreeing to extensions with their teams this week, "the age of teams retaining their stars is upon us," MLB.com's Matthew Leach writes. Leach points out that Felix Hernandez, Joey Votto, Cole Hamels, Evan Longoria and Matt Kemp all also fairly recently agreed to huge contracts with their current teams. More money through new TV contracts is partially fueling this trend. "And it becomes somewhat cyclical," Leach writes. "As fewer stars hit free agency, clubs have fewer places to spend that money. So they spend it on their own players, and the cycle continues."
- The string of enormous contracts for players like Verlander should be approached with skepticism, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues. "These $100 million contracts are the price of doing business, no doubt," says Rosenthal. "Whether they qualify as good business is another question entirely." Rosenthal points out that big-money contracts for players like Joe Mauer and Johan Santana have gone sour, and says that while contracts like Verlander's may be exciting when they're announced, they might not seem like such great ideas a few years after the fact.
- The size of Verlander's contract likely makes it impossible for the Rays to keep David Price, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. An extension for Price would mean yearly salaries that would require an enormous percentage of Tampa Bay's payroll.
- Fellow Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer says that any time he eats dinner with Verlander this year, Verlander is paying for it, MLive.com's Chris Iott reports. "I got a nice little contract this year, but no, he's buying every single dinner this year." Scherzer can afford to buy his own dinner, of course -- he's scheduled to make $6.725MM in 2013.
Justin Verlander says he won't engage in contract talks with the Tigers during the regular season, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. "Once this last start comes around, I want to concentrate on the start of the season,'' Verlander says. There are no signs from the Tigers that an extension is imminent. Verlander isn't slated to become a free agent until after 2014, but Heyman suggests that Verlander might be less inclined to sign a long-term deal with one year to go before free agency. Here are more notes from the two Central divisions.
- If the Twins were to allow manager Ron Gardenhire to leave, he'd be "unemployed for about 10 minutes," Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues. Gardenhire is in the last year of his contract, and the Twins lost 96 games last season and 99 in 2011.
- GM John Mozeliak and the Cardinals are "primed for long-term success," Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says. The Cards can both strive to win in the present and count on winning in the future, thanks to a strong core and future payroll flexibility.
- The Cubs could be on the lookout for a spare infielder, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. Manager Dale Sveum likes the recently-released Chone Figgins, saying Figgins "is one who would be interesting because he switch hits and plays the outfield." But don't count on the Cubs acquiring him, since Sveum would rather have a lefty hitter with power.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.