Justin Verlander Rumors
- 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.
- 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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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 Rays' David 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.
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.