Justin Verlander - the next albatross contract?

vadertime

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Is Justin Verlander the next albatross contract?
 
Quietly has been on the decline since 2012.
 
Using his last "great" year 2011 as a starting point:
 
ERA has risen from gone from 2.40 to 2.64 to 3.46 to 4.61
WHIP has gone from .920 to 1.057 to 1.315 to 1.505
.AVG has gone from .192 to .217 to .253 to .273
SO/9 has gone from 9.0 in 2011 to  6.6 this year
 
And his 5 year $140 million extension doesn't kick in until 2015.
 
At this point he is barely a decent pitcher, and with $28 million a year for the next 5 years I would say Detroit is screwed. 
 
These stats also don't take into account his shelling tonight at the hands of KC.
 

TheGoldenGreek33

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I think it's pretty early to conclude anything. His velo is way down, but it's not the root of his problem. The fastball command was pretty god awful tonight. When he was frequently bumping 95 like he used to, he could get away with some of those missed locations. History of pitchers with sharp declines in velo are not good, and he's going to have to reinvent himself sooner or later. The fastball-changeup velo differential is decent, and the sharpness to his breaking ball is still there to my eye without looking at the data. But he has zero trust in his fastball right now. That's a problem.
 

MuzzyField

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I'd like to take a macro view of the Vernlalder example, it way be a poorly constructed one, but here goes.
 
The market has to correct itself from these kinds of contracts.  I am all for maximum pay for maximum performance, but the current model in MLB that guarantees maximum dollars into the distant future for previously delivered peak performance, and a hope and prayer that the peak will continue, can't be sustained at it's current valuation when we are talking $20-30 million per season.  The players the big markets team cherry picked in the past are no longer available, while frustrating for me as a big market Sox fan, it's a big plus to the overall health of the game.
 
In the post-PED world maintaining peak performance as a player ages and overcomes injury is going to be more difficult.  The MLBPA will claim collusion, and be wrong.  It's fiscal responsibility.  Teams are already smarter... the short-term benefit for young players is the best part of this evolution, excellent play is being rewarded earlier, thanks TV $$$$$.   And that reward is measured in the $25-50 million range.  
 
The payback will be, as the Stephen Drew's of the world and their agents are learning, the early-30's multi-year platinum parachute is going to become the rare exception.  The Dodgers, Yankees, Angels, Tigers and Rangers may be willing to continue to play this game, but the market is evolving.  More money for the under-30 player is a positive and if players in their 30's continue to produce at a high level, the dollars will be there, but for shorter-term deals.  The annual value will be there, but not the guarantee to infinity and beyond.  
 

jon abbey

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MuzzyField said:
I'd like to take a macro view of the Vernlalder example, it way be a poorly constructed one, but here goes.
 
The market has to correct itself from these kinds of contracts.  I am all for maximum pay for maximum performance, but the current model in MLB that guarantees maximum dollars into the distant future for previously delivered peak performance, and a hope and prayer that the peak will continue, can't be sustained at it's current valuation when we are talking $20-30 million per season.  The players the big markets team cherry picked in the past are no longer available, while frustrating for me as a big market Sox fan, it's a big plus to the overall health of the game.
 
In the post-PED world maintaining peak performance as a player ages and overcomes injury is going to be more difficult.  The MLBPA will claim collusion, and be wrong.  It's fiscal responsibility.  Teams are already smarter... the short-term benefit for young players is the best part of this evolution, excellent play is being rewarded earlier, thanks TV $$$$$.   And that reward is measured in the $25-50 million range.  
 
The payback will be, as the Stephen Drew's of the world and their agents are learning, the early-30's multi-year platinum parachute is going to become the rare exception.  The Dodgers, Yankees, Angels, Tigers and Rangers may be willing to continue to play this game, but the market is evolving.  More money for the under-30 player is a positive and if players in their 30's continue to produce at a high level, the dollars will be there, but for shorter-term deals.  The annual value will be there, but not the guarantee to infinity and beyond.  
 
That's all true, but on the other side is the rapid increase in local TV money, which I think will continue to keep the megadeals coming, no matter how many of them are busts. There have been 9 $130M+ deals since last season, given out by 8 different teams. And the main reason by far Stephen Drew didn't get signed to a multiyear deal was the compensatory draft pick, not a MLB-wide recognition that he wasn't really worth it. 
 

MuzzyField

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jon abbey said:
 
That's all true, but on the other side is the rapid increase in local TV money, which I think will continue to keep the megadeals coming, no matter how many of them are busts. There have been 9 $130M+ deals since last season, given out by 8 different teams. And the main reason by far Stephen Drew didn't get signed to a multiyear deal was the compensatory draft pick, not a MLB-wide recognition that he wasn't really worth it. 
I accounted for the TV money, and at the small-medium market level, where it's a real game changer I deployed it to the buy-out younger player.  I also acknowledge the go-for-it now big-makrket waste the money long-term deal still can exist.  It's just going to become the exception rather that the rule. 
 
If Drew is comfortably in the top-10 players at a premium position like SS in MLB and goes unsigned, it's not just the pick.  Sure the pick is an element in the equation, but so is the fact that Boras/Drew may have been asking for too much $$$ over too many years.   I also acknowledge that top-10 at shortstop isn't the same as it once was.  The Jeter, Rodriguez, Nomar, Ramirez, Tejada, Ripken, Larkin and Vizquel SS with Smith and Tulowitxki bookends  era is over and is no longer reflective of the current elite talent depth at the position. 
 
A starting top-10 SS looking for a multiyear deals. giving up an unprotected first-round draft pick and 29 teams take a pass, several with a need at the position.  Why not Stephen big market teams? Beyond the $14-million QA, did he get any offers?  If he did, he screwed up.   Thankfully, for him, the Sox gave him a $10-million mulligan.  He should have taken the $14-million QA, but instead he willingly followed his agent's path and ended up playing catch at a camp that didn't really make him baseball ready.   
 

LondonSox

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Stitch01 said:
Drew wasn't going to get a mega deal, but he gets 3 or 4 years easily without the QO.
 
I am unclear what your evidence is for this.
The idea that a team was unwilling to lose a high (but not in all cases top) pick to lock in a 3-4 year starting shortstop seems unlikely.
Now for a one or two year deal that's more of a negative, and I can understand not wanting to lose a top pick for a year of a guy.
 
Look at the deals other similar situations got, Cruz and his 1y 8mm contract.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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MuzzyField said:
I'd like to take a macro view of the Vernlalder example, it way be a poorly constructed one, but here goes.
 
The market has to correct itself from these kinds of contracts.  I am all for maximum pay for maximum performance, but the current model in MLB that guarantees maximum dollars into the distant future for previously delivered peak performance, and a hope and prayer that the peak will continue, can't be sustained at it's current valuation when we are talking $20-30 million per season.  The players the big markets team cherry picked in the past are no longer available, while frustrating for me as a big market Sox fan, it's a big plus to the overall health of the game.
 
In the post-PED world maintaining peak performance as a player ages and overcomes injury is going to be more difficult.  The MLBPA will claim collusion, and be wrong.  It's fiscal responsibility.  Teams are already smarter... the short-term benefit for young players is the best part of this evolution, excellent play is being rewarded earlier, thanks TV $$$$$.   And that reward is measured in the $25-50 million range.  
 
 
All of this is why the Sox are being so - well - conservative for Lester.  Paying for presumed future performance is not a great way to unlock "value".
 

jon abbey

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Teams didn't like Drew that much, not enough to lose a pick. Peralta got 4/53, in part because he didn't also cost a draft pick. Cruz and Morales didn't get multiyear bids in part because of the picks, but even more because they are both poor defenders who are best off at DH, and teams didn't want to give up a pick for a DH.
 
So the evidence is that 1) the majority of big multi-year deals in the post-steroid/greenie era are duds, 2) yet FA contracts are only getting bigger and bigger. The compensatory draft picks are the only check on this system, otherwise there would be even more mega-deals. Boston would probably be wise to let Lester go, but if they do, he will certainly get $150M or so elsewhere, and not necessarily from a big market team (see Cano to Seattle). 
 

glennhoffmania

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I'll throw another one out there- Joe Mauer.
 
His deal runs through 2018 at $23m per year with a full no trade clause.  He signed the deal as a catcher when he was clearly the best in baseball.  Now that he's a full-time 1B that contract doesn't look too good, especially for a team with limited resources.  Aside from his ridiculous 2009 season he's never hit more than 13 homers in a season.  He's maintained a really good OBP until this year, as he's currently at .338 with a SLG of .331.  His K rate has gone up every year since 2010 while his BB rate has decreased over the last two years.  He's had concussion issues, knee injuries, and now has a bad back.
 
I wouldn't want to be on the hook for this contract over the next four plus years.
 

Rovin Romine

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Can I flip the question?  Do we have any examples of Post-PED FA mega contracts that have thus far panned out?  I'd think that some of the "buy out budding star's FA with an extension" type deals might qualify, but what recent top dollar deals have been worth top dollar?
 

glennhoffmania

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Rovin Romine said:
Can I flip the question?  Do we have any examples of Post-PED FA mega contracts that have thus far panned out?  I'd think that some of the "buy out budding star's FA with an extension" type deals might qualify, but what recent top dollar deals have been worth top dollar?
 
How do you define panned out?  The first one that came to mind was Greinke.  He's only in year two but aside from getting his collar bone snapped by Quentin he's been pretty damn good.
 

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Rovin Romine said:
Can I flip the question?  Do we have any examples of Post-PED FA mega contracts that have thus far panned out?  I'd think that some of the "buy out budding star's FA with an extension" type deals might qualify, but what recent top dollar deals have been worth top dollar?
 
It's a rough list certainly. If NY had let A-Rod and Sabathia go when they opted out, both of their initial deals would qualify, but both re-signings were horrendous.
 
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/league-info/highest-paid-players/
 

jon abbey

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Cliff Lee has been very good for the Phillies, also the previous/current Miguel Cabrera megadeal has worked out very well. His extension (already signed and starting in 2016) almost certainly won't, though. 
 

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Rovin Romine

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glennhoffmania said:
 
How do you define panned out?  The first one that came to mind was Greinke.  He's only in year two but aside from getting his collar bone snapped by Quentin he's been pretty damn good.
 
"Panned out" is at least decent value (on and off the field) for the money.  (I guess it's sort of the anti-SOSH approach to most signings, which is looking at the market and the anticipated risk/value of the signing at the time the contract is inked and discounts unforeseeable injuries.)  So we'd only be looking at huge contracts nearing the end of their life and the actual value provided, for whatever reason.  I guess the post-PED thing tanks most of the contracts under consideration, but I wanted to get a handle on how many superstar contracts actually work out for the signing team (i.e., are which ones aren't albatross contracts) without an artificial crutch possibly keeping the player on the field.
 
That Cot's list is helpful.   Just skimming, without looking up the numbers, I see far more misses than hits on it.   Some haven't run their course yet, but there's pretty much no way they provide value (Ryan Howard), or they're starting to look that way (Josh Hamilton). 
 
Manny Ramirez panned out. . .  Pujols penultimate deal. . .  Giambi's NY contract was decent (except for the final 2 years), but we know he juiced. . .
 

glennhoffmania

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Rovin Romine said:
 
"Panned out" is at least decent value (on and off the field) for the money.  (I guess it's sort of the anti-SOSH approach to most signings, which is looking at the market and the anticipated risk/value of the signing at the time the contract is inked and discounts unforeseeable injuries.)  So we'd only be looking at huge contracts nearing the end of their life and the actual value provided, for whatever reason.  I guess the post-PED thing tanks most of the contracts under consideration, but I wanted to get a handle on how many superstar contracts actually work out for the signing team (i.e., are which ones aren't albatross contracts) without an artificial crutch possibly keeping the player on the field.
 
That Cot's list is helpful.   Just skimming, without looking up the numbers, I see far more misses than hits on it.   Some haven't run their course yet, but there's pretty much no way they provide value (Ryan Howard), or they're starting to look that way (Josh Hamilton). 
 
Manny Ramirez panned out. . .  Pujols penultimate deal. . .  Giambi's NY contract was decent (except for the final 2 years), but we know he juiced. . .
 
Yeah that's why it's a tough question.  I don't consider those contracts to be post-PED.  Also Pujols' deal wasn't a FA deal.
 

mauf

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I am unclear what your evidence is for this.
The idea that a team was unwilling to lose a high (but not in all cases top) pick to lock in a 3-4 year starting shortstop seems unlikely.
Now for a one or two year deal that's more of a negative, and I can understand not wanting to lose a top pick for a year of a guy.
 
Look at the deals other similar situations got, Cruz and his 1y 8mm contract.
I think the evidence is the 4/54 the Cards threw at Peralta. I believe, however, that the collective SoSH wisdom overstates the importance of the pick and understates how badly Boras misread the market. If Boras told the Cards 4/36 would get it done, there's no way the Cards valued the pick enough to spend $18mm more on the inferior player. With Boras talking $100mm, however, the Cards decided they had to move on Peralta, and no other motivated buyers for Drew emerged. Sure, Drew probably gets something like 3/27 from Detroit when Iggy goes down if there's no comp pick attached, but by that point, Boras's strategy was already a spectacular failure.
 
M

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Add Teixeira to the bust list, and probably Crawford as well.
 
But I think Felix Hernandez's deal has a pretty high likelihood of looking good in retrospect (as much as anyone can predict these things 5 years out).  Tulowitzki looks good 3.5 years in.  And Todd Helton's 2003-2011 deal, $142 / 8 years ($17.7 AAV), yielded 5, arguably 6 superstar years, 3 top-20 MVP finishes, an average OPS of .931, OPS+ of 132, and 32.8 WAR.  I think he'd be my nominee, depending on whether you consider that "post-PEDs".
 

TheYaz67

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Well at least the KC Royals are being equal opportunity in their shelling of Detroit pitchers - 93 pitches, 4 innings and 10 hits & runs allowed tonight (2 HR), so maybe Verlander can take that as a small consolation....
 

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Yeah, speaking of potential albatross contracts... Max Scherzer. Next year he will be 31. He already rejected a rumored 6 year / $144m deal. I wouldn't want to be the team that "wins" that sweepstakes.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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jon abbey said:
 
That's all true, but on the other side is the rapid increase in local TV money, which I think will continue to keep the megadeals coming, no matter how many of them are busts. 
 
The other other side of is that these players were one step up from indentured servitude (a big one, to be sure) pre-arb.
 

Lowrielicious

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tims4wins said:
Yeah, speaking of potential albatross contracts... Max Scherzer. Next year he will be 31. He already rejected a rumored 6 year / $144m deal. I wouldn't want to be the team that "wins" that sweepstakes.
Scherzers season ERA jumps from 3.05 to 3.84 after a shelling today by KC. 
That could cost him a few mill. 
 

NDame616

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MentalDisabldLst said:
Add Teixeira to the bust list, and probably Crawford as well.
 
But I think Felix Hernandez's deal has a pretty high likelihood of looking good in retrospect (as much as anyone can predict these things 5 years out).  Tulowitzki looks good 3.5 years in.  And Todd Helton's 2003-2011 deal, $142 / 8 years ($17.7 AAV), yielded 5, arguably 6 superstar years, 3 top-20 MVP finishes, an average OPS of .931, OPS+ of 132, and 32.8 WAR.  I think he'd be my nominee, depending on whether you consider that "post-PEDs".
 
But who's point are you making by bringing up Hernandez? His mega deal started when he was 26 and carries through the season in which he'd be 33. Isn't that the type of "anti Verlander" contract we are discussing? Signing guys on the right side of 30 to longer, bigger deals, than waiting until they are 30, 31 or 32 to give them their huge pay day and pay for their decline/past performance?
 

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Felix' deal also wasn't a FA deal.  I think extending a guy who's still under control should be viewed differently than a FA deal.  First because of ND's point- they're usually younger.  Second because there's usually a discount involved, ie., Pedroia.
 
M

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NDame616 said:
But who's point are you making by bringing up Hernandez? His mega deal started when he was 26 and carries through the season in which he'd be 33. Isn't that the type of "anti Verlander" contract we are discussing? Signing guys on the right side of 30 to longer, bigger deals, than waiting until they are 30, 31 or 32 to give them their huge pay day and pay for their decline/past performance?
 
RR's question was, "Do we have any examples of Post-PED FA mega contracts that have thus far panned out?"  No comparison is ever perfect, so I tried to think of big deals of all types.  Felix Hernandez was pretty close to being an FA, he had over 6 years of service time on opening day 2012, and was only a year removed from his Cy Young season.  I'd agree that the lesson there is "anytime you can lock up a 26-year-old cy young winner showing no signs of decline to a long-term deal, you should do it".  Verlander's deal was signed in 2010, when he was 27, only had 4 years of service time, had won RoY and had 3 top-7 CYA finishes in his 4 full years.  You can argue that he didn't quite have the same stats as Felix Hernandez, but he also didn't quite command the same AAV ($25M vs $22M).  The two are pretty comparable.
 
In my view, the real difference between Felix and Verlander is that one deal is 7 years and the other 10.  It's why Seattle won't be very happy with their Cano deal in a few years, of course.
 
So my answer is, Verlander may become the next albatross contract, but it's hard to predict ex ante which pitchers are going to live up to top-of-market deals and which won't.  Signing him was about as good a bet as any similar one you could have made.
 

jon abbey

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Verlander's deal is two separate contracts, the second one is the one under debate. He was under contract through this season, but in spring 2013, Detroit extended him for 5 more years (2015-2019) at $28M per. That looks horrendous right now.
 

glennhoffmania

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According to Cots Felix signed his extension right before the 2013 season when they had him locked up through 2014, so he had two full seasons to go.
 
Also I just noticed that his deal has a Lackey-type option tacked on the end for $1m if he spends a chunk of time on the DL with an elbow injury.
 

TheGoldenGreek33

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Lowrielicious said:
Scherzers season ERA jumps from 3.05 to 3.84 after a shelling today by KC. 
That could cost him a few mill. 
 
Highly unlikely over one regular season game in June.
 
Anyways, did anyone hear of the insurance policy he took out if he gets injured before free agency?
 

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Jeff Samardzjia, who will be 30 next year, turned down 5/85 from the Cubs today. 
 

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jon abbey said:
Jeff Samardzjia, who will be 30 next year, turned down 5/85 from the Cubs today. 
I just posted that in the GT. I think that's a very fair deal on the Cubs part.
 

Plympton91

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[QUOTE="Hriniak]
 
The other other side of is that these players were one step up from indentured servitude (a big one, to be sure) pre-arb.
[/QUOTE]
Exactly. Todd Hollandsworth was talking about this on MLB Radio morning show a few weeks ago. The other host brought up the idea that teams were likely to look at these contracts and start being more stingy with players in their 30s. Hollandsworth immediately said, "That's not going to fly with the union; if that's the way it goes then there will be immense pressure to go back to arbitration in year 2 and move up free agency to year 4 or 5. If the owners aren't going to pay at the end of your career, then they need to pay at the beginning."

I don't see these basically coerced agreements like Singleton signed to be the happy medium. Having that be the new equilibrium basically just enriches the owners.

Major League Baseball is becoming exhibit A in the problem of income inequality in America.
 

tomdeplonty

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Plympton91 said:
Major League Baseball is becoming exhibit A in the problem of income inequality in America.
 
Labor disputes between billionaires and multi-millionaires are decidedly not "exhibit A". Good grief.
 

Boggs26

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Personally I think the solution eventually will be higher minimum contacts for pre-arb players to balance out the lowering of superstar "end of career" contracts. Once teams smarten up and stop giving out 6 year, 25 mil per year contracts to 32 year olds (and the MLBPA losses is collusion claim) I think the next step would be to push for a doubling, tripling, or more of the pre-arb minimums.

This, in my mind, would start to pay for current or future performance over past performance, but without totally changing the structure of MLB's contract structure.
 

glennhoffmania

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Rudy Pemberton said:
This may be the most ridiculous thing you've ever written.
 
Unfortunately it's not even close, yet it's still insane.  These guys are making ten times the national average salary for, at most, their first three years.  Then it skyrockets from there.  I have no problem with the system.  Good players are still getting very lucrative contracts that are completely guaranteed.
 

Plympton91

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tomdeplonty said:
 
Labor disputes between billionaires and multi-millionaires are decidedly not "exhibit A". Good grief.
Though it wasn't at all clear from the context or content of that post to be sure, in my thinking I was including the minor leaguers in the equation, many of whom are on food stamps according to a recent article in Baseball America.

I also think that the inequality between those with six figure incomes and ten figure incomes is not inconsequential. Over in V&N MannysDestination made a great point about how you don't want high marginal tax rates at places on the income distribution where people are making marginal decisions about work and saving. It is at the ten figure income where those decisions are really unlikely to be marginal -- David Ortiz and Derek Jeter aren't going to retire a year early because the tax rate on the last million dollars of earnings is 49% instead of 39% nor is Jamie Dimon going to step down as CEO of JP Morgan. But, a 62 year old college professor making $150,000 might decide that a pension plus social security is superior to another year of teaching and research if she faces a similar spread in marginal tax rates on the last $50,000 of her income.
 

MakMan44

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I was going to respond to your original comment because I thought it was insane, unless you included minor league players. That wasn't clear at all.
 
The problem with including minor league players in that context is that the MLBPA doesn't include them, in any sense. Even though minor league players are technically future members, the PA has absolutely no problem with screwing them over because they care as little as the owners do. That's part of the reason guys like Singleton WILL keep taking deals and guys like Norris WILL look like assholes for chastising them. The MLBPA takes absolutely no precautions to protect those players, so even a talented guys like Singleton could end up toiling in the minors leagues, flaming out and making absolutely nothing (relatively speaking). But that's on the owners and the MLBPA. 
 
EDIT: For the record, Dan Szymborski's take informed mine, as well as the Hayhurst article
 

soxhop411

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so Verlander only went 1 inning today against Pit and allowed 5R (4ER) on 4 hits with 2 walks
 
he now has a 4.76 ERA
 

soxhop411

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Joe Sheehan
17 minutes ago





From 3/31/13:

"As for the Verlander extension, I simply don't think it makes sense to sign pitchers -- especially high-workload pitchers -- to long contract extensions two years out. There are 450 innings between Verlander and the first dollar he makes on this new deal. I get the risk of not being able to sign him to a market-level deal if he stays healthy, but I'm not convinced that losing a 32-year-old Verlander to a market-value deal after the 2014 season would be a disaster. This deal is a reflection of the amount of cash in the game, but it's also a reflection of a fundamental blind spot: we always think *this guy* is different and special and the one who won't get hurt. You know who that guy was two years ago? Roy Halladay."
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Sheehan/153417184705099
 

Plympton91

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Verlander was as dominant as he ever was in the playoffs last season. In the late winter of 2014, he had core surgery and rehabbed his way back to be ready for basically the start of the season. I have to believe that the injury and the surgery prevented him from doing a lot of the type of preparation that is required to make pitchers great. If you look back to the spring of 2002, you'll see a bunch of articles where Derek Lowe talks about the regimen of core strengthening exercises that he did to prepare himself for the switch from relieving to starting. Likewise, from 2012, you'll see a bunch of articles in which Dan Bard's initial implosion is blamed on a failure to properly strengthen his core in the same way Lowe did.

Players have bad seasons all the time, even players like Verlander. I wouldn't bet against him returning to top of the rotation form in 2015, after an offseason of rest, recovery, and strengthening.
 

Snoop Soxy Dogg

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Elephant in the room in this thread... Lester? This is the kind of deal people want the sox to give Lester. And yes, he might be the exception who does not wear out or break down (though Sheehan's quote above is quite illuminating. That's just too much money not to hamper the team's flexibility. Detroit has been one of the team to consistently giving out these crazy contracts. I think they'll pay for it, sooner rather than later, though their owner probably does not care..
 

Apisith

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The difference is probably that Lester will get a shorter deal and it's not a deal that doesn't start for two years. The crazy thing about Verlander's deal was the amount of money, the years and the fact that it didn't start right away. They paid him pretty much market value two years ahead of time when he would be 32 at the start of the deal.

They've also done it with Miggy and that is looking like it's going to be another albatross contract because his power is gone and the extension hasn't even started yet.
 

Apisith

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For reference, Detroit gave him 5/$140m two years before his deal was up and the contract runs from his age 32 season to his age 37.

Even if he'd pitched like an MVP last year and this year, would he be looking at more than that if he went to free agency? Maybe the Yankees go crazy but I really doubt any team is crazy enough to sign a 32 year old to a $140m contract.

Detroit didn't get a discount on the years or the value. It was an inexplicable contract two years ago and it's even more inexplicable today. They risked too much without the necessary upside to justify it.
 

grimshaw

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There are 52 pitchers since 1990 who logged 1500 or more innings before their age 31 season
 
I'll list the best of those pitchers who were all-star/HoF caliber and make some comments
CC - now 34 - WAR went from 6.5 to 4.6, to .2.  Clearly breaking down.
Pedro - 4 more great seasons
Smoltz - Hall of Famer until the very end.
Mussina - very consistent and almost always healthy
Maddux - freak of nature
Hudson - still going strong with some weaker seasons mixed in, and shoulder problems
Pettitte - solid when healthy, noted PED user
Halladay - 4 more HoF caliber seasons, then fell off a cliff
Glavine - HoF - consistent to meh towards the end
Clemens - he's in his own category for better or worse
Buerhle - remarkably consistent and healthy into his mid 30's, still going strong
 
Here are current pitchers approaching their early 30's
Lester - 47th in IP before age 31, will have his age 31 next year
King Felix - 28 and has logged over 1900 innings - 6th highest in this group already.  Having arguably his best season despite diminished velocity
Greinke - 30 and still in his prime
Matt Cain - doesn't look good.  3 straight down years.  Probably needs elbow surgery
Justin Verlander -Two straight down years.  Had been very durable.
Hamels - Very similar to Lester.  More innings, slightly less effective and an NL guy
Dan Haren - 6 WAR season at age 30. 3 straight bad seasons since, even moving to the NL.
Ervin Santana - More of a 3.  Good bounce back season on a favorable team, in a prove it year.  Tough to tell going forward at age 31
Peavy - scrapper, but safely out of his prime.  Wear and tear from early career has hurt him.
Edwin Jackson - very meh, but that's probably is what he is.  Could maybe be a Livan Hernandez type who eats innings for lunch.
Tim Lincecum - 30 and just a shell of his Cy Young award winner self.
John Lackey - We saw his early to mid 30's.  Excellent, bad and in between.  Wish we still had him.
 

JimBoSox9

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Apisith said:
If he collapses like Halladay did, is this the worst contract ever?
 
The entire worst title conversation is treading water until Miggy's $250 million kicks in two years from now.  When he'll be 33.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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Aug 15, 2006
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wade boggs chicken dinner said:
 
All of this is why the Sox are being so - well - conservative for Lester.  Paying for presumed future performance is not a great way to unlock "value".
Two different scenarios. Detroit had Verlander under somewhat control until 2015 (when his extension kicks in). They were essentially bidding against themselves. As a result Scherzer is probably headed elsewhere and the Tigers had to dump Fielder (this was a good move). Lester was willing to take by all player accounts a deal slightly higher than Homer Bailey.

On second thought I blame Kate Upton for his decline. I'll offer to take that bad luck off of his hands.

Grimshaw, I don't think you can call Santana's season this year "bounce back". The guy had a 3.24 era 1.19 WHIP and good secondary stats too. 2013 was his bounce back season. This year has been a continuation. He has broken the sigma of being an odd year/even year guy. Even though it's because he switched leagues, perhaps Santana figured out something in KC and is now using it in Atlanta. He would be smart to stay in the NL.
 

Toe Nash

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Apisith said:
If he collapses like Halladay did, is this the worst contract ever?
Halladay seems like a poor example. He was great from age 31-34, average at 35, and bad at 36 and then retired. The Tigers would be happy if Verlander did that and if so, JV'd probably earn his extension (Halladay put up 24 WAR from age 32-36, the ages Verlander's extension goes through). If Verlander can earn 20 WAR in the five years of his extension, that's $7m / WAR.
 
I'm not really sure this is a major issue beyond those who like to calculate dollars per win. Ilitch obviously doesn't care and it doesn't seem like it's setting the market either. It's a "bad contract" but it's not my money or even my team.