Last week Justin Verlander made some headlines by saying he wanted to become baseball’s first $200 million pitcher and despite the comment coming within the context of a perfectly reasonable quote he apparently got some flak for it.
And so yesterday Verlander clarified things to Jason Beck of MLB.com:
Wouldn’t you like to be the first $200 million writer? When people ask me questions, you guys you know me, I’m honest and I talk about things. The question was posed to me: “Do you want to be the first $200 million pitcher?” Well, yeah. What kind of question is that? Of course I do. … I don’t want to be seen as the greedy guy that wants to get paid the best because, whatever. But, like I said, if the question’s posed to me, I’m honest.
If you read Verlander’s entire interview with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports it’s pretty tough to get worked up about the $200 million part, but then again I’m guessing most people who got worked up didn’t read all or even any of the interview.
Very soon Verlander is going to be in line for a huge contract extension from the Tigers if he wants it, but I still think Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is going to be the first $200 million pitcher.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.