Report: Verlander inks 5 year deal

The Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander have agreed to a 5 year contract worth $80 million according to Larry Lage of the AP. Verlander was at the Tigers Lakeland facility working out earlier today. The deal locks up the ace through the 2014 season and it bests the 5 year $78 million deal that Felix Hernandez received earlier this month.

A long an expensive contract for any player, and pitchers in particular, is a risk. But there are certain players that are worth a gamble. Verlander had 2 years until free agency where if he continues to perform he would have netted a deal well in excess of $100 million. The Tigers secured his first 3 years of free agency at what will hopefully be a bargain.

The Hernandez comparisons are especially germane, and if you like the King Felix signing the Verlander one is just as palatable. Verlander has been at least an $11 million pitcher in each of his 4 years and with his big season in 2009 he has produced $80 million in value for the Tigers. He was likely to make about $8-9 million in 2010 regardless. He guaranteed himself an additional 4 years and $70 million.

While I think that Hernandez should get more because he is 3 years younger and if I had to pick one, I’d pick Hernandez, both are exceptional pitchers with similarly impressive resumes. I don’t want to get into a Felix/Justin debate. They are both studs and a difference of a couple million over 5 years isn’t really a difference at all.

I am concerned about Verlander’s workload the past few seasons, and last year in particular. He didn’t seem to suffer any consequences though and the hope is that JV is one of those freaks. The upside is that the contract expires when Verlander is only 31 meaning that like Cabrera, the Tigers have locked him up for his peak years.

Photo credit:  Hueytaxi on flickr – photo taken February 3rd, 2010


  1. Steve

    February 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    All things considered this had to happen here. Bilfer is correct, he has been under valued so no we have to pay. I hope he stays healthy to really shine. Its a very nice thing to have JV and Miggy, two real stars in the bigs on our team.

    That being said we need to somehow get another hitter. We seem to be solid at the positions and pitching, my concern has been hitting all along and continues to be.

    We have an ACE for the next few years, lets play ball …………


  2. TSE

    February 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Contract’s a bit too rich for me to be excited about it, but not that big of a deal. We secured some good peace of mind and enhance our long-term credibility with the move, so not too shabby.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      February 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      Dude, what are you talking about? You’re trying to squeeze beer out of a lemon.

      This is a FANTASTIC deal for the Tigers. We locked up one of the premiere pitchers in baseball for less per year than Ordonez will make this year. Sure, it could blow up if his arm dislodges from his shoulder when a pickoff goes awry because Miggy is smoking a blunt at 1B, but Brandon Inge could also turn into Dave Bergman, and Flash Forward could get a deal for a second season. There are no certainties in sports (other than Matt Millen is the greatest conman since Charles Ponzi).

      Considering the market and the forces that the Tigs actually have control over, this is a great, great deal. Kudos.

      BTW, I’m over 163.

      • Jeff Molby

        February 3, 2010 at 11:44 pm

        Sure, it could blow up if his arm dislodges from his shoulder when a pickoff goes awry because Miggy is smoking a blunt at 1B

        lol, comedy gold.

  3. Pingback: Verlander and Tigers Agree to 5 Year Deal - Message Board

  4. Jeff Molby

    February 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    It’s a fair deal. Market value, etc, etc. Nobody wins and everybody wins.

    Let me just say one thing: anyone who has a problem with this deal, say it now for the record. If he suffers a couple injuries over the next few years, I don’t want to hear any bandwagon bitching. Most of us will agree that it’s a fair a price for a fair duration with a fair amount of risk. If you disagree, speak now or shut the heck up for the next five years.

    • Skippy

      February 4, 2010 at 12:50 am

      I’m in favor of the deal. Of course it is a risk. But it would also be a risk not signing Verlander to that contract. If he is going to have some great years, he would become even more expensive to the Tigers or, in the worst case, go somewhere else. Either way it’s risky. However I think the chances are better that Verlander becomes a superstar ace for the Tigers. At the moment I’m really excited about the deal and about the Tigers building a competitive team around Miggy and Justin.

      Btw: I agree on the shuting up for the next five years. After the contract expires everyone will know it better. That is easy. And it’s not fair towards DD and the Tigers Management. They had to make a decision now.

    • stephen

      February 4, 2010 at 2:11 am

      I’m speaking now!
      My problem with the deal is that if you go to the pitcher that comes up as most similar to Verlander isn’t Felix Hernandez but Wade Miller who had three or four solid seasons, but was basically done as a pitcher by 30. My concern is that a team in a rapidly constricting home market has a fifth of a billion dollars invested in a young pitcher and a first baseman who is a recovering alcoholic. I would have made Verlander stay healthy for another year and see where the heck this team is going attendance wise and prospect wise.
      Then again, this is a positively sane move compared to the Inge, Willis, and Robertson long term signings.

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        February 4, 2010 at 8:11 am

        It’s a risk for Verlander too. If his upward progress continues, he could have been worth $160 Million on the open market if he waited a few seasons. Instead he settles for $80 Million. He’s really doing us a favor by not being too greedy.

        I can’t validate the comparison with Wade Miller.
        I use to wince just watching Wade Miller throw his curve ball. Even during his good seasons he use to complain about his arm hurting. He was never considered one the top pitchers either. He never made an All-Star team or received a Cy Young vote.

        Health has never been an issue with Verlander. He’s never missed a start and has never complained about pain or stiffness. He’s been fully stretched out also. He won Rookie of the Year in 2006; Twice has made the All-Star team; In his 4 seasons has placed 7th, 5th, and 3rd in Cy Young voting. Those are very fine credentials.

        • TSE

          February 4, 2010 at 1:15 pm

          WTF? 160 million??? So you think there was a realistic chance that he could wait and get 32 million per year? Sorry but your posting nonsense is just getting out of hand.

          Thanks Justin for somehow saving us $80MM out of sheer indifference and wanting to throw us a bone. LMAO

          • Keith (Mr. X)

            February 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

            $161 Million over 7 years is what CC Sabathia got from the Yankees. Not nonsense. FACT.

            • TSE

              February 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm


      • Kevin in Dallas

        February 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

        I love BP, but that’s the problem with BP.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        February 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm

        I meant to reference Baseball-reference above.

        After a bit of further digging, Wade Miller comes up #1, but King Felix #2. And vice versa. #1 comp for Felix is Charlie Lea –

      • Joel in Seattle

        February 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm

        Do you always click the first link that comes up in a google search, too?

        Algorithms can give you funny results, dude.

  5. AP

    February 4, 2010 at 12:55 am

    gotta love some guy named Jeff Moldy(hehe) giving orders about “speaking now” whether you think this deal is bad. too funny. get a dog, a beer, and just enjoy baseball.

  6. Keith (Mr. X)

    February 4, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I’m loving the deal. It secures our strong pitching rotation for another 5 years. Also it’s not my money and I know Illich is a billionaire who won’t go broke anytime soon. He’s got a big slice of that $1 Billion FSN contract that runs until 2018. We’re lucky to have an owner like him.

  7. Smith

    February 4, 2010 at 3:52 am

    This is great. Him and Miggy will be staples around here for years to come.

    So we have locked up a pitcher and hitter (through their prime) who’s career averages are:
    .311, 33 HR’s, 117 RBI’s
    17 wins, 3.92 ERA, and 8K’s per 9 IN

    Sounds awesome to me.

  8. scotsw

    February 4, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Now if we could only lock up Robertson and Willis….

    • Rob

      February 4, 2010 at 9:26 am

      Now THAT’S comedy gold

    • Coleman

      February 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      Well Laird was almost locked up…

  9. Rob

    February 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Love the deal. Like most of the previous commenters, I think that JV will continue to produce and would have warranted a C.C. Sabathia-like contract on the open market in two years. Mr. Illitch and DD have a good idea of what they’re doing, and they did a great job getting this deal done.

    My biggest concern is what comes after this contract. Let’s say that Verlander stay healthy and gives us 5 All-Star (or close snub) seasons, but his workload continues to pile up. Even if he’s only 31, that’s an OLD 31 with all the miles on that right arm. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself with that. Great deal, I’m happy to see that the Tigs aren’t getting rid of all of my favorite players.

  10. rings

    February 4, 2010 at 11:43 am

    While there’s risk in every deal, especially long term deals for pitchers, this is a very worthy chance.

    In the larger picture, this move – along with Valverde’s signing – proves that the Granderson trade was NOT about the money, as the pundits would have you believe. The Tigers obviously thought that this was the time to move Curtis for max value and that he likely would not overcome his weaknesses.

    • Smith

      February 6, 2010 at 9:20 am

      I agree on the Granderson thing. He isn’t going to get any better. Unload him after an all-star selection, when his value is at it’s peak. I think it was a good move… YMMV.

  11. Spike

    February 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Five years from now, the perception of this deal could be that Verlander got too little or the Tigers paid too much. But at this point in time, this appears to be an equitable spreading of the risks that all parties face with a long term deal. But if this deal doesn’t work out as we would like, I hope those who applaud it now won’t jump on DD later with the unfair benefit of hindsight.

  12. Mark in Chicago

    February 4, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    There’s really no alternative. If you’re going to build around pitching, well, you need to have pitchers that are good. The deal is a risk for both sides, but who ever said you could remove risk from the equation?

    I like that they kept it to 5 years, which is right about the time Porcello reaches free agency. They could be a devastating front two for the next several seasons. (To say nothing of mixing in other guys like Scherzer, Crosby, Oliver, and Jacob Turner to fill out the rotation. By 2011 we should have a pretty sick rotation with JV, Porcello, Scherzer, Crosby, and TBD if these guys can stay healthy.)

    • Chris in Nashville

      February 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm

      Good stuff Mark. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  13. jim-mt

    February 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    It used to be they would have insurance for major injuries anyway, so health may not be a total risk.

    It is a great deal considering the payouts to the trio of Willis, Robertson, Bonderman.

    P.S. I wonder if they are getting insurance for Willis?

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      February 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

      Yes they are. I read somewhere that they probably collected about $10 Million from the insurance last year on Bonderman and Willis.

    • TSE

      February 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Well they definitely have a potential insurance claim on Willis in the future, but good luck finding the specific policy details, so it could be very significant or it may not be anything. The chances are probably pretty good that we will end up getting a small amount of that money back.

  14. Keith (Mr. X)

    February 4, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Oh Crap, Sounds like the Twins just got Orlando Hudson at 2B. That’s a huge hole for them to fill. That kind of rains on our parade.

    • Andre in Chi

      February 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      3:01pm: Christensen tweets that the Indians are outbidding Minnesota for Hudson, though he’s skeptical considering Cleveland’s lack of spending this offseason.

      Saved by the Tribe, hopefully.

      • Kathy

        February 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

        Well, Adam Kennedy is supposedly being courted by both those teams, also. Please, tell me, what’s wrong with Felipe Lopez. What are the Pecota projections with him in our lineup compared to say Kennedy or Damon. If the Twins get Hudson, we’re probably screwed.

        • Keith (Mr. X)

          February 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm

          Lopez has a reputation of having an attitude. He also left Washington on bad terms a few years ago. He’s played on 4 different teams since July 2008. Sounds like he’s been a bad boy.

          • stephen

            February 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

            Flash forward to 2011. Lopez gets traded to the Tigers. Mr. X rhapsodizes about Felipe’s Hall of Fame tools and how he once fed a large, hungry crowd with two fish sandwiches and a single can of Tab.

          • Kathy

            February 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm

            I don’t believe it.

          • Kathy

            February 5, 2010 at 1:52 am

            OK, here you go. The guy can play 2nd, 3rd,SS, is a switch hitter and can lead off. Damon wants 2 years and we have all those OF’s.


            • TSE

              February 5, 2010 at 11:18 am

              The problem is that Felipe just isn’t a high yield hitter, and our #1 problem as a team is that we have a glut of mediocre hitters that don’t offer high BAs or OBPs or SLGs. We need more guys that have at least one or the other, but ideally guys that have a combo of those qualities.

              • Keith (Mr. X)

                February 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

                That’s not the problem at all. The problem is that this roster spot will belong to Don Kelly if we don’t find someone like Lopez. Lopez would be the ultimate super utility guy and insurance policy for our infielders. He’d be like Tony Phillips 2.0. He’s good enough that he could play everyday wherever he plays.

              • TSE

                February 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

                Don Kelly isn’t good enough to make our roster in the first place. With or without Lopez, Kelly shouldn’t make our team. Your rebuttal is illogical and invalid.

              • Rick G

                February 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm

                Then who is the last man on the opening day roster? Brent Dlugach? Please come down from planet Vulcan and tell us.

                Looking at the current players, assuming they eventually go with 12 pitchers and 13 position players…
                1 13 Alex Avila (or another backup catcher)
                2 8 Gerald Laird

                3 24 Miguel Cabrera
                4 4 Adam Everett R/R
                5 15 Brandon Inge R/R
                6 39 Ramon Santiago S/R
                7 — Scott Sizemore R/R

                8 9 Carlos Guillen
                9 — Austin Jackson
                10 30 Magglio Ordonez
                11 25 Ryan Raburn
                12 34 Clete Thomas

                Who is number 13?

                IF 27 Brent Dlugach
                IF — Audy Ciriaco
                IF — Ryan Strieby

                OF 32 Don Kelly (Also played 1B & 3B for Detroit last year)
                OF 60 Wilkin Ramirez
                OF 57 Casper Wells
                OF — Brennan Boesch

              • TSE

                February 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm


                Come back here after opening day and you will see why I didn’t respond to this babble of a post.

        • Eric Cioe

          February 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm

          If the Tigers are going to be screwed by the Twins signing Hudson, they probably were screwed before.

          I think you and others are drastically overrating Hudson’s game. He’s not the near-lock Gold Glove guy anymore, and his bat isn’t as good as it was.

          • Keith (Mr. X)

            February 4, 2010 at 8:44 pm

            I think it would be a huge upgrade over Alexi Casilla or Nick Punto.

            Last year,
            Casilla had a .528 OPS
            Punto had a .621 OPS

            Hudson had a .774 OPS

            IMO, it would be as significant as us replacing Adam Everett with someone like Rafael Furcal or Ryan Theriot.

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        February 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

        Minnesota probably won’t go into a bidding war with anyone. I also heard that Washington had the highest $ offer, but Hudson might want to play for Minnesota instead because they have the best chance at winning.

  15. Kathy

    February 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Yea, sounds like it. Makes me sick.

  16. the roar

    February 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

    ^^^ Grabs a beer and a large popcorn and watches the interwebz fistfights between Tigs fans. I love a spirited debate where the caged animals fling poo at each other. I usually am the poo flinger. It’s nice to be on the other side of the glass for this one. Some funny stuff being thrown out there in this comment sections.

  17. doug (Mr. Y)

    February 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    bilfer- I totally respect and greatly appreciate the time commitment and hard work you put into the blog. I’m a daily update checker. Please something to keep me coming back during the offseason. These 9 day hiatuses rip me apart inside.

  18. Coleman

    February 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Hmmm…Foxsports is reporting Damon has an offer from the Tigers now, 2 yrs, 14 mil..

    If true, I’ll go out on a limb and predict nobody outbids us on that one.

  19. Joey in Portland OR

    February 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    yeah is anyone offering anything NEAR that??

  20. scotsw

    February 12, 2010 at 8:51 am

    That was reportedly also the offer the Yankees make him, wasn’t it?

    A shame — I thought the Tigers could have had him for 5 mil/year + some incentives, and that would have been a nice add.

    But it ain’t my money.

  21. Mike in CT

    February 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Hey for what it’s worth, Jimmuh Leyland was just on WFAN sports talk in New York. Nothing earth shattering. Still a little bitter about the no-call on Brandon Inge getting hit in the playoff game with the Twins.

    Audio should be listed here, shortly.

  22. Kathy

    February 13, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    MLB Network broadcast a game today between the Chi Sox and Mariners in 2002. Cameron hit 4 HR’s in that game, but, oh my, what a performance Carlos Guillen put on at SS for the Mariners. In his prime, he was the man.

  23. Kathy

    February 14, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Yea, I know it’s off topic, but things are kinda slow and since this is billfer’s “favorite” umpire, he’s our towns’ hero. A few more days, folks.


  24. jcm

    February 16, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    K William is trying to made the Tigers pay more for Damon. Let Chicago get him .It will be funny : a 6 men outfield

    • Shane Trapped In Toledo

      February 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      Apparently, Damon has played a round of golf with A.J. Pierzynski and “Hawk” Harrelsonn. I cannot imagine that would be a good thing for White Sox fans wanting Damon, as I envision hell to be somewhat similar to this. Also, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Damon’s wife would prefer a “more cosmopolitan city than Detroit.”


      I would like the Tigers to pickup Damon, as he would be a nice left-handed lead-off man, regardless of his noodle arm. But they should set a deadline for their offer. He is not worth playing games with the White Sox for.

      • Mark in Chicago

        February 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

        with the combined throwing arms of Juan Pierre and Johnny Damon in left, the White Sox MIGHT get to a league-average thrower out there.

  25. steve

    February 17, 2010 at 10:31 am

    ^^2010 MLB Power Rankings

  26. jcm

    February 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    He bats right but ,who cares?, go for Dye and forget Damon and Boras.

  27. Steve in Det

    February 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I am right there with you JCM. I mean seriously Damon would be a good signing but it is VERY clear and evident now that Damon was USING the Tigers Franchise to create a non existing market for Johnny ‘Good for Nothing’ Damon. That really urkes me to no end. Seriously Go after the younger and better fielder in Dye to solidify this lineup forget this stupid head in Damon.

  28. Keith (Mr. X)

    February 18, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Damon is about 3 months older than Dye. FYI, Dye has been the worst defensive RF in baseball for the past 5 years.

  29. SJC in Detroit

    February 18, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Happy Pitchers and Catchers Day!

    • Big Game James

      February 18, 2010 at 10:55 am


      I’m feeling that.

  30. scotsw

    February 18, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Here’s a humble request for a new blog post! Some sign of life… How can Spring Training begin without official recognition by the

    • Kathy

      February 18, 2010 at 7:51 pm

      If billfer is one of the few people still employed in Michigan, he’s probably swamped.

  31. Kathy

    February 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Pick your poison, folks. It’s time to vote for your favorite “April in the D” song. Votes must be submitted by Feb. 24.

    • Shane Trapped In Toledo

      February 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      Which song will be your own personal hell. The contest is such a cool idea, but by mid-month I think it is safe to say we are all sick of April in the D. Makes me long for the days I had where the commercial are blocked out.

      • Kathy

        February 19, 2010 at 1:45 am

        Haven’t decided, yet. Just listened to a few bars of each song. One of them was an automatic no. Will probably decide tomorrow, I mean today.

  32. jcm

    February 18, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Damon .282 24 82 107

    Carrer: 288 355 207 996
    Dye: 250 27 81 78
    274 338 325 1072
    More power and an arm

    • Andre in Chi

      February 19, 2010 at 8:12 am

      Don’t suppose you saw Dye’s second half, last year?

      Why sign Dye when he’s just going to take ABs away from Raburn, who’s just as likely to have a better season?

    • Mark in Chicago

      February 19, 2010 at 8:54 am

      I shudder to think of Jermaine Dye trying to cover ground in RF at Comerica on a daily basis. We have enough DH-types on our roster, I have little use for Dye.

      Plus what Andre said.