The negotiations between the Seattle Mariners and Felix Hernandez and the seven year, $175 million deal which resulted (which is yet to be finalized due to concerns over King Felix's elbow) has greatly magnified the contract status of the Tigers' Justin Verlander.
Despite two years remaining on the five year, $80 million deal Verlander signed in 2010 (he will make $40 million in 2013-14), there has been word the Tigers want to initiate extension talks with their ace. Verlander broached the subject of an extension today in Lakeland, saying what everyone in the organization and fan base wanted to hear. He wants to remain a Tiger.
"My agent knows where I stand,'' Verlander said. "He knows I love Detroit. I feel like I'm a kindred part of that town. I grew up in front of these fans, and earned my way into their hearts, and it doesn't very often anymore where a guy sticks with one team his whole career. It just doesn't happen. You don't get that kind of loyalty from either side.''
As to negotiating an extension during the season, Verlander wasn't enthused by the prospect, but didn't rule it out.
"If something goes on, and we're in the middle of negotiations, that's a decision I'll have to make,'' Verlander says, "whether I want to shut it down, or continue.
"I would think, knowing me, and how I don't like distractions, it might be a good idea not to talk about anything during the season. But maybe my agent has a different opinion on that. Maybe he can say [to the Tigers], "Tell me where you're at, and I can come to you. Hey, we're here. What do you think?'
What do I think? Get an extension done post haste.
Though we can all agree Verlander will use the King Felix deal as a leaping off point, it remains to be seen just how far the leap will be. $200 million is not out of question.
Obviously, a deal of the magnitude Verlander will be looking to sign won't get done overnight, or even in spring training. But it appears both sides want it to make it happen.
Let's hope Verlander's name joins the likes of Charlie Gehringer and Al Kaline, Hall of Famers who spent their entire career wearing the Olde English D,