Justin Verlander Is Not Coming Home, And That’s a Good Thing For Detroit
Maybe the ink isn't dry yet, but it might as well be, when your brother, a Major League Baseball analyst tweets it out:
I've been reading some speculation in the Detroit media about maybe JV coming "home". Everyone knows wife Kate is from here, and a reunion at Comerica Park would make a storybook ending for a career that no doubt will see Verlander enshrined in Cooperstown five years after he pitches his last game.
But the reality is Verlander is going to be 39 years old before the 2022 season starts, and he's coming off Tommy John surgery (fixing the ulnar collateral ligament in the pitching elbow). Yes, he won 21 games in his last full season, 2019, but he re-signed with the Astros for $25 million for one season.
Here's my argument: Yes, the Tigers are supposed to be better, maybe even contend, next season. But the economics of a deal like this would tie up $25 mil for a 39 year old pitcher. Now, if you believe the rumors, maybe the Tigers, who desperately need a shortstop, are seriously thinking of going after Carlos Correa, Verlander's teammate on the Astros, in free-agency this winter. Where's the money going to come from? Is every Tiger fan going to go out and buy an extra couple of Little Caesar's pizzas?
Correa has a connection to current Tiger manager A. J. Hinch from their days of drum banging to a World Series win in 2017. But here's something to keep an eye out for. A lot of what pays for these mega contracts is television money. And the television money in some local markets might be drying up. Sinclair Broadcasting, which own Bally Sports Detroit (and WWMT Ch. 3 in Kalamazoo) has had no deal with Dish Network for two years now. Next year, their deal with Charter Spectrum is up and those negotiations aren't guaranteed to go smoothly. A streaming alternative to all this isn't expected to be a financial panacea, according to industry experts. So for a "small" market team like the Tigers, being very careful where they put the money is critical. The "Hot Stove League" should be fun to watch this winter.