A few things happened to a couple of Tigers today, and both of them would be considered positive news.
First, ace pitcher Justin Verlander reeled in the first of what should be a couple of awards when he won the Player of the Year, given out by the Sporting News. Even though this award is less prestigious than the Cy Young, and the MVP, it might be the most coveted by the players. Why? Simply put, the players themselves cast the ballots for this award, so it is Verlander’s peers who thought he was good enough to beat out all the deserving position players.
What this means for the MVP, I am not sure since it is voted on by writers, but Verlander is almost assuredly going to take home the Cy Young Award for the A.L. this season.
The other bit of important news that came out today is the Tigers exercised the option on Jose Valverde for 2012 as was pretty widely expected. The extension came at a 9M dollar price tag, but I think the Tigers organization felt it was worth it given the uncertainty of the some of the rest of the bullpen. Plus, he did save every opportunity last season.
I know there was some sentiment out there that the Tigers should have saved a little money there and declined the option, putting that money towards a big time free agent. While there is a steep price being paid between Valverde and Joaquin Benoit, the alternative of looking for someone else to close isn’t a pleasant one. Bottom line, Valverde earned the extension.
At the very least, it crosses one of the off-season things off the to do list quickly.