All things considered, the Detroit Tigers are a pretty well-rounded team. They have their weaknesses and question marks, but what team doesn’t? What other teams do not have is a three-headed monster, each under 30-years old, that stacks up to the caliber of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander. Those three will account for $64 million of the Tigers roughly $148 million payroll for 2013. And while that’s fine and dandy, good things eventually must come to an end.
Fielder massive nine-year, $214M deal expires after 2020. Cabrera has three more years left on his eight-year $152M deal. But Verlander, the hands down best pitcher in baseball currently, will become an unrestricted free agent after 2014. That is, unless he and the Tigers can come to terms on a contract extension – something both sides seem very interested in happening.
The laundry list of Detroit “haters” is abundant, but Justin Verlander is not on there. And like most that live in Metro Detroit, JV has grown to love the surroundings. Talking to reporters down in Lakeland, Florida today, Verlander spoke about staying here:
“I love Detroit. 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. I enjoy playing in front of these fans.”
Verlander’s comments don’t surprise me in the least bit. Since 2006, he has been the most talented, most productive pitcher on the staff and a standing ovation and hat tip have become commonplace as he exits the Comerica Park mound.
JV said that he has not yet spoken with his agent (SFX) about whether their side would be willing to negotiate during the season. Most players often choose not to. And with the Mariners and Felix Hernandez initially agreeing on the largest contract ever for a pitcher, a seven-year $175M deal, before elbow issues crept up over the weekend. That’s a pretty good blueprint for a Verlander deal.
Verlander will turn 30 on February 20. King Felix will turn 27 in April. So JV might fetch the seven years that Hernandez (at least initially) will, but you can expect the annual salary to be greater.
My prediction: five years for $150M. And yes, it’s outrageous money, but in today’s game, it’s money well spent.