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Verlander, Tigers reach $80M extension

Feb 3, 2010, 7:36 PM EDT

verlander fist.JPG
According to the Associated Press, the Tigers have agreed to a five-year, $80 million extension with right-hander Justin Verlander.

The new deal will allow Verlander and the Tigers to avoid an arbitration hearing this year and will keep the ace in Detroit through the 2014 season.  It essentially covers his last two years of arbitration-eligibility and his first three years of free agency.

Verlander, 25, went 19-9 last season with a 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and an
American League-leading 269 strikeouts.  He wound up with a more lucrative contract than 23-year-old Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who posted a 2.49 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and a career-high 19 wins last season then signed a five-year, $78 million extension this winter.

It’s pretty clear that Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik spun the better deal, but both contracts are worth celebrating.  For the next five seasons two top-notch, young pitchers will be allowed to do their thing in the AL Central and the AL West, and without the Yankees or Red Sox breathing down their necks with suitcases of cash.

  1. Patti - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    Even though he is a very good player…NO ONE IS WORTH $80 MILLION DOLLARS. And you sure had not better raise ticket and/or parking prices because then it is the people who don’t work or have not gotten gigantic raises who are expected to pay for the players wages. And you wonder why you can’t fill the stadium.

  2. Eric Cioe - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    Jack Z might have spun a very slightly better deal, but the difference is $400,000 per year over the course of the contract. That’s one league-miniumum player. That is, it’s absolutely meaningless.
    You could argue that Felix has been better but Verlander had more strikeouts, fewer walks, a lower FIP, a lower xFIP, more innings, and more good old fashioned manfully long outings in 2009. He’s the most durable pitcher in the game as far as pitch-count is concerned. I hate the term because it gets tossed around too much and means almost nothing, but when people talk about horses Justin Verlander is the guy they are talking about: the guy who when the bullpen needs a blow can go out there and throw 120 pitches without it being a big deal.
    So yeah, he’s getting paid a bit more than Felix, but the difference is pretty much negligible. They’re pretty comparable pitchers and I’ll take Verlander’s SO and BB rates going forward.

  3. Dave Ranville - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    I agree, nobody is worth 80 million but if the Tigers don’t give it to him, some other team will. The kicker is you have to wait 5 years to see if it was a good deal or not. I would say if he averages 15 wins a year, by today’s standards, it’s worth it.

  4. Cru11 - Feb 4, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    I think he’s worth the money. The guy is an absolute horse and eats innings like no other. Talk about a bullpen savior. 240 IP?! That’s incredible.

  5. millbrae - Feb 4, 2010 at 12:54 AM

    no no no

  6. Greg - Feb 4, 2010 at 1:40 AM

    I wonder if he could play for the Lions in the baseball offseason. The Lions need all the help they can get. He could back up The Rookie at QB. Seriously I am glad the Tigers got off their duff and signed arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Eat dung and die Yankees.

  7. Curious George - Feb 4, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Somebody needs and Econ 101 lesson. Ticket prices are set based on what the market will bear. Those ticket sales contribute to earnings. Those earnings are then used to drive employee salaries.
    Not. The. Other. Way. Around.
    As for whether someone can be worth $80M, that’s a simple question. Does he generate at least that much in the way of income to offset that expense, or contribute to the possibility of generating more than that income via a playoff round, perhaps?

  8. Dubious Jim - Feb 4, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Not worth the money is an understatement. Put into perspective, if he pitches 240 innings each year he will be paid $171,000 PER INNING. If he pitches 100 pitches per game he “earns” about $4000 PER PITCH. $16 million a year is more than any ballplayer is worth when our economy has forced so many to give up so much!

  9. Curious George - Feb 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    Why is simple economics so difficult to grasp? Back in his hay day, Adam Sandler took a lot of grief for making $10M a film. The arguments against Sandler and his movies are artistic, and well founded. His humour is juvenile and his movies infantile. But was he worth $10M a movie? Absolutely. Given the amount of money his movies generated, he deserved his paycheque.
    Same for pro athletes. Or musicians. Or entertainers of any stripe. Their worth, in economic terms, is predicated on the revenue they help generate.
    While it is true that Verlander is making tons more than a research scientist working on a cure for cancer, people are judging his inherent worth to society using a tool, income, that is meant to measure something else entirely.
    This all about apples and oranges. Why can’t people see that?

  10. DJ's accountant - Feb 4, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    171k per inning? Just curious but it looks high.
    16 million per year / 240 innings = approx $67 thousand per inning.
    Or if you did the total contract (240 innings x 5 = 1200)
    80 million / 1200 =$67k.
    Based on your figure of 171k per inning he will only pitch 468 innings over the entire contract….given injuries that is possible but i don’t think that’s what you were getting at.
    Do you perhaps work for the U.S. Treasury?

  11. Dubious Jim - Feb 4, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    I well understand the point of the expectation of a player bringiing in more than enough income to pay his salery. But, the expectation is just that and the expectation is based on what the fans and tv networks will be charged to see or broadcast that game. Saleries are overhead and higher overhead means that more has to be charged for the owners to make a profit. Orange to Orange.
    Your point about the research scientist makes my argument. We, as a society, measure the worth of entertainment much too high. Valuing the contribution to a couple of hours of escapism over the contribution to save or extend lives is insane. I fault the fans who agree to this madness more than the players whose agents take advantage of it.

  12. Dubious Jim - Feb 4, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    DJ is correct. I have no idea how I messed that doller per inning up so badly. This contract would, in fact, only pay $67,000 per inning. Based on starting 41 games per year, it would be close to $400K per game. Based on pitching 100 pitches per game that would be about $4k per pitch.
    Good catch! And no, I don’t work for the Treasury and I can’t afford to go to the games.

  13. Curious George - Feb 4, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    “Saleries are overhead and higher overhead means that more has to be charged for the owners to make a profit. Orange to Orange.”
    You are continuing to display a lack of fundamental understanding. The owners cannot willy-nilly continue to raise prices just to make a profit. It’s not nearly so simple as that. There is a threshold at which fans will decide to no longer pay the price. And if the owners do their job well, their prices will be buttressed right up against that threshold.
    Owners set ticket prices based on what the market will bear. They then set expectations for revenue. They then apportion a percentage of that to player salaries (not saleries). That chunk of money devoted to salaries then dictates whether paying Verlander $80M from that pot makes sense. That is the order in which these decisions are made.
    “I fault the fans who agree to this madness more than the players whose agents take advantage of it.”
    No mention of the owners in your pontification? The players are simply getting x% of the owners’ revenue pie. Player agents fight for their clients’ portion of that x%.
    If it makes you better to fault fans for society’s misplaced priorities, then you better be consistent about this and fault anyone who supports any form of high-end entertainment, and that includes those who watch television and movies and concerts. And frequent baseball web sites in February.

  14. Renegade - Feb 4, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Bread and circuses. Let them eat cake.

  15. Charles Gates - Feb 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Patti, if you feel that no player should make that much, ok. But what should they make? What is the most a baseball player should be able to make? What about teachers? Nurses? How much should society pay construction workers? We should make a committee that decides how much we all make. We can all wear our red tshirts to the party.

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