There was talk yesterday that Justin Verlander wants to stay a Detroit Tiger for life. I buy that. He has it pretty good there, is well-loved and every indication we’ve ever had suggests that the Tigers would be willing to pay the man what he’s due when he hits free agency following the 2014 season.
That said, he’s not afraid of free agency at all. Indeed, he sounds downright giddy at the prospect. From Jon Morosi’s story, here’s Verlander’s response when asked if he’s curious about hitting the market:
“Absolutely. I think that’d be a blast. If I have two more years like I just had, it would be pretty interesting … You know how competitive I am. It’s kind of fun thinking about having teams battle for you.”
This means very little with specific respect to where Justin Verlander will be playing after 2014. But so too do pronouncements about wanting to remain a Tiger for life, even if Tigers fans will read a lot into the latter.
It’s a business. Always has been, always will be.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.