CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has been working the rumor mill at the World Series. Remarkably, he claims the Tigers are going to make a pair completely expected moves. Consider me shocked.
For a while, it seemed like there was a chance the Tigers might not pick up shortstop Jhonny Peralta's $6 million option. But after Peralta's brilliant postseason, his option has become a no-brainer to exercise. In fact, word now is that they plan to do just that.
Peralta's option is seen now as "reasonable'' by the Tigers person in recent days, according to someone familiar with their thinking, and indeed, it does seem so now.
As good as Peralta has been in the post season, I doubt his performance over a small sample size of 11 games is why the Tigers are inclined to pick up the last year of his contract. Once you check out the free agent options at shortstop, retaining Peralta at a reasonable $6 MM becomes a no-brainer decision for Dave Dombrowski.
Verlander has two years remaining on his $80-million, five-year contract, and Dombrowski wouldn't say what the team's plans are now for contractual talks. But in answer to a question about whether they'd like to keep Verlander around, Dombrowksi answered, "For sure. We'd like to have him be a Detroit Tiger for his career.''
As usual, Heyman is reading quite a bit into Dombrowski's words. The Tigers' GM holds his cards closer to his vest than anyone in MLB. What else would he expect a man who parses his words more carefully than a presidential speech writer to say?
Of course Dombrowski would like to keep the best pitcher in baseball wearing the Olde English D until the end of a career which is on track for Cooperstown. The quicker the Tigers can sign Verlander to an extension, the more affordable (if you can consider the $200+ MM it will take to keep Verlander long-term "affordable") it will be.
But it takes 2 to tango, let alone to agree on a lifetime contract. Verlander knows the longer he waits to sign an extension, the more valuable he becomes. If Verlander elects to go into free agency, he'll be the most sought after player on the planet, and can name his (stratospheric) price.
If Verlander actually makes it to the open market, he's gone. Dombrowski knows as much and will act accordingly when the time is right.
I'm sure the Tigers will make Verlander the offer Heyman claims. Verlander then has to decide if signing for less than he might get in free agency in order to guarantee his long-term security is in his best interest compared to hitting the lottery in the open market.
A market which will be limited to the small handful of teams who could afford a mega-deal.
Regardless, it's all idle speculation on a World Series travel day. At the moment, I'm more concerned about the next couple of games than the next ten years.
I'm sure Dombrowski, Peralta and Verlander are as well.