Tigers righty Justin Verlander told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press he's yet to receive a long-term contract offer from the club. Still, interest appears mutual.
Verlander would prefer to work out his 2010 salary before entering long-term discussions. With Joe Blanton locked up, Verlander's $2.6MM gap with the Tigers is second only to Tim Lincecum's $5MM divide among those exchanging arbitration figures. I mentioned yesterday on Twitter that I found Verlander's $9.5MM request to be high. My comparison to Felix Hernandez's second arbitration year salary was flawed, since that wouldn't factor into an arbitration hearing. A better match might be Andy Pettitte. Here's how the two stack up after four seasons, keeping in mind arbitration panels focus on simple stats like wins:
- Verlander: 840 IP, 132 GS, 65 wins, 3.92 ERA, 746 Ks
- Pettitte: 852.6 IP, 127 GS, 67 wins, 3.75 ERA, 588 Ks
Pettitte received a 56.6% raise heading into the 1999 season. Verlander had a better platform year, more strikeouts, and better award finishes, Pettitte the superior ERA. Even a 70% raise would put Verlander at $6.25MM in 2010, though the Tigers would only have to convince the panel he deserves less than $8.2MM to win.
This may all be moot, as the Tigers will probably want to avoid a hearing given their desire to lock Verlander up long-term. If they settle near the midpoint, Verlander's aggressive filing will pay off. As for a multiyear contract, Verlander acknowledged he's "closely mirrored" to Felix, whose five-year, $78MM pact will be made official today. Verlander does not want to negotiate during the season.