Getty Images

Justin Verlander: ‘System is broken’

34 Comments

Justin Verlander is not one of those players who are having a tough go of it on the free agent market. He’s all set. But he’s looking out for his fellow players who are not finding the free agent market as hospitable as he and others who might’ve a few years back. On a few occasions this offseason he has voiced displeasure with the state of things in Major League Baseball.

The Astros’ ace took to Twitter this afternoon once again today. Here’s what he had to say:

Some may quibble with 26-36 being a “great performance window” as players tend to peak at the early end of that span and decline as it goes on, but that’s not the end of the story when it comes to long-term contracts. One thing that is rarely mentioned is that, while a lot of big long-term deals may look bad toward the end, teams often get more than their money’s worth on the front end. In the case of Harper and Machado, cited by Verlander, it’s not at all difficult to imagine each of those guys being worth far more than what they’ll be paid on the front half of a deal and pretty fairly compensated as they begin to decline. While the last couple of years may look bad, it’s likely that they’ll have given their teams far more aggregate value over time than that for which they were paid. Such is life when you sign an MVP-caliber 26 year-old.

That aside, it’s hard to take issue with Verlander in the grand scheme here. Teams may say they can’t afford a big contract to Harper and Machado, but they’re never willing to give you the denominator in their financial analysis. I suspect there is no team that can’t afford them in an absolute sense and that most passing on them simply are unwilling to make that kind of a commitment. Why they are not is a question for which they rarely give you a straight answer and even more rarely give you an honest one.

As for “rebuilding,” well, we covered that this morning.

Beyond all of that, Verlander was on fire today. Remember that Supercuts commercial he did during the postseason? The one about how he was obsessed with the number three (“I always use the third stall. I use a triple knot on my cleats. Swipe the mound three times,” etc.)? Well, he likes to wreck dudes in his replies 1-2-3 as well:

Verlander is throwing heat today, y’all.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
AP Images
5 Comments

Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.