The Tigers still had over a week until Justin Verlander’s arbitration hearing, but they got the deal done with likely opening day starter Justin Verlander. In his first year of arbitration eligibility, Verlander will make $3.675 million, which isn’t too shaby for a four year player. It also happened to be the exact midpoint between what Verlander and the Tigers were looking for in arbitration.
It’ll be interesting to see how Verlander holds up in 2009. It’ll be his second year at the front of the rotation and he’s coming off of his worst season in a Tigers uniform. He’ll turn 26 in a couple of weeks but he’s averaged over 200 innngs (if you include the postseason) a season since sticking with the Tigers and it was some of that heavy work that might have resulted in a drop in his velocity in 2008. It would have been nice to lock up Verlander to a 3-4 year deal, but according to this, that was never on the table.
This also marks another perfect season for Dave Dombrowski. Since he took over in the Tigers front office in 2002. Arbitration is one of those things that’s lose/lose for most teams. If the player wins the case, it usually means the team is playing a slightly inflated value. If the team wins, then there’s usually some resentment on the side of the player in future years.
There’s a decent story on Jeff Larish by Jason Beck. A big part of Larish making it in the big leagues is shortening his swing. If he can do that and keep his power, he should be able to cut down on some of those strikeouts. I think he makes the team, considering he’s gotten time at third and in the outfield during the offseason.
Pitchers and catchers report next Thursday. Baseball is almost back.