The Seattle Mariners signed superstar starting pitcher “King” Felix Hernandez to a $135.5 million extension yesterday making him the new highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball. Hernandez will be making $39.5 million for the next two years alone. The big question that’s surfaced since the announcement is, what will this do for the pitchers coming to the market in the coming years?
Pitchers such as David Price, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander will all become free agents in the next few years assuming that they are not re-signed just as Hernandez was. The feeling throughout Major League Baseball is that one of these pitchers will be the first to sign a contract of over $200 million.
The Detroit Tigers are no strangers to spending big money. I think that this will be another instance that they will choose to drop the big bucks considering Verlander is a once in a lifetime talent. The 29-year-old will be a free agent after the 2014 season and I would highly doubt that he will even reach free agency.
Since his first year as a full time starter in the big leagues he has only had one losing season which was in 2008 when he went 11-17 in 33 starts. Since that year he’s won a Cy Young Award and an MVP Award and has also been an All-Star every year.
On top of all of his amazing statistics Verlander has always been a workhorse on the mound accumulating over 200 innings of work every season since his rookie year in which by the way he won the Rookie of the Year Award. Verlander has a career record of 124-65 in his eight years of experience and he seems to be still in his prime.
Verlander is the kind of pitcher that when he hits the mound you know there’s a chance you could see history. He has already thrown two no-hitters in his career and has come close several other times. No doubt this is a ton of money and it will restrict what the Tigers will be able to do in coming years due to their payroll, but I believe it’s worth it.
Detroit came within four games of winning it all last year but came up a little short losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series and the Tigers seem to be even better than in 2012. With the current talent they have they could contend for the championship for years to come and Verlander will be the key to the success of the franchise.
With the trio of superstars that the Tigers have they should win a couple World Series before it’s all said and done. With Prince Fielder signed for years to come and the probability that the Tigers will lock up Miguel Cabrera they look primed for long-term success but signing Verlander is a must.