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What Do We Do With Justin?

Derek Lowe just signed with the Braves to a hefty four year, $60 million deal.  While Lowe has had a solid career, that sounds like a bit much.  Yeah, he’s a 21 game winner, but so was Dontrelle Willis.  And while his past four seasons have been solid for the Dodgers, he hasn’t garnered a single Cy Young vote nor played in a single All Star Game and while his numbers look nice, he has the advantage of playing in Chavez Ravine.  He has been durable and while he’s been above average, I question whether he’s that much above average to warrant $15 million per year.

Which brings us to one of the biggest decisions the Tigers face this offseason, and that’s what to do with Justin Verlander.  He’s eligible for arbitration, but no Tiger has ever gone to the table since Dave Dombrowski has been in the front office.  What the bigger question is, do the Tigers sign him to a one year deal and take their chances, or do they lock him up for four or five years now.

The economy is one big question mark because the Detroit area has been particularly hard hit.   You also have a double whammy in that people don’t have money AND the Tigers flunked out last year so demand isn’t going to be there like it has the past two seasons.  Throw in the fact that the Tigers have a lot of committed money over the next three years and it makes for an interesting conundrum.

With that, I could see Verlander getting $15 or even more in some of those later years (the free agent years) if he signed a long term deal.  Then you just have to hope that 2008 was a fluke and that Verlander turns into the ace that everyone expects him to.

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