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Only Verlander Remains to Be Signed

The Detroit Tigers began the day with five players eligible for arbitration. That number has now been reduced to one, after the team reached agreement on one-year contracts with the following players:

Gerald Laird: $ 2.8 million
Edwin Jackson: $ 2.2 million
Bobby Seay: $1.3 million
Joel Zumaya: $735,000

That leaves the biggie among the arbitration-eligibles, pitcher Justin Verlander.

Is he close to agreeing on a contract with the Tigers. According to Jason Beck, he and his agent are asking for a $4.15 million contract, while the team filed for a $3.2 million deal. Quite a difference in figures there, which could lead to an ugly negotiation. Or perhaps the two sides will decide to settle by giving in on approximately $500,000 before arbitration hearings begin on February 1.

The preferable option Detroit, of course, is to pound out an agreement on a long-term contract, something that Dave Dombrowski has been very good at arranging during his tenure with the Tigers. The Phillies and Cole Hamels may have provided a starting point (as MacRae mentioned in another post) with the three-year, $20.5 million deal agreed upon last week. And you could make a pretty good case that Hamels is a better pitcher right now.

But considering how the Tigers have been burned on the contracts they handed out last year to Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson, might Dombrowski be a bit less willing to take a long-term chance on a pitcher - even if Verlander is likely a stronger bet for future success?