The Tigers made official the Justin Verlander deal at a press conference yesterday. MLB.com’s Jason Beck has the details. Verlander’s contract will pay him a $500,000 signing bonus in addition to a $6.75 MM salary in 2010, $12.75 MM in 2011, and $20 MM in each of the following three seasons.
The bottom line is the Tigers and Verlander both got a deal they could be happy with, and while there is obviously significant risk is handing such a large sum of money to one player, Verlander is a guy the team feels comfortable investing in. In his four seasons, he’s never found himself on the DL, and his offseason workout program is something the team and the player believe will keep him healthy through the life of the contract.
Beck also talks about clubs with multiple $20 MM men, which is where the Tigers will be in 2012, Miguel Cabrera being the other. Given the increase in player salaries every season, however, I doubt the Tigers will be in such rare company by that time.
Elsewhere around the league, the Nationals reportedly have a deal with utility infielder Adam Kennedy, a player who has been linked to the Tigers. With Kennedy headed to the Nationals, and the Twins having signed Orlando Hudson (you like how I just slipped that in there? More in a bit.), Detroit should be in line to snare Felipe Lopez.
I’m not sure the interest from either party, or the money that would be available for another player, but Lopez fits the biggest need the Tigers still have; a top of the order switch hitter who can play multiple infield positions.
Get it done, DD.
Now, back to those pesky Twins. Via press release last night, they announced the Hudson signing. The Twins have been spending like the Yankees this winter, bringing in J.J. Hardy by trade, signing Hudson and Jim Thome, and apparently they still have money to continue extension talks with Joe Mauer. To top it off, Francisco Liriano seems to have found himself again while pitching in winter ball. None of this is good news for Detroit. The Tigers might easily be playing for second place in a still sub-par division, the Twins look like the best team.
But as we all know, games are not played on paper, they’re played inside TV sets. If a few things go right for the Tigers, and maybe a few wrong for the Twins, Detroit can compete for a playoff spot again this season.