By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
Tuesday is upon us, so let’s take a look at 2 more questions. Did we share our answers? Of course not!
So, here are 2 more questions to take a stab at after a dozen games.
1. What is the biggest issue or concern that comes out of JV being on the DL?
While many would go with not having JV in the rotation, I gravitate towards the long-term results and how it impacts the Tigers down the road. First of all, Justin is owed $28 million per year for the next 5 years and currently ranks as the #2 most expensive player in MLB. There is also a sixth year, a vesting option, for another $22 million. Even if he doesn’t meet those requirements, there is still a payout. JV’s contract is worth an additional $140 – $162 million. He has yet to play this year and even if he never throws again, reimbursement via insurance is a pittance.
This confirms the increasing belief and trend now seen that it is bad business to give a pitcher a long-term contract that extends well into his 30’s. The most immediate impact will be seen with David Price, who turns 30 this year and will not be offered a contract extension by the Tigers unless circumstances turn dire.
Conceivably, this was already on the Tigers’ radar given the trade of Porcello. Expect the Tigers to go into the market and trade for more Shane Greene types – young, very promising, earning $515,000 and under club control for the next 6 years.
Well, it’s really about the money isn’t it? Unfortunately, our most expensive pitcher is not only no longer our ace, but not even pitching. And we have been told very little about his condition. But that is certainly the Tigers’ right.
But the fear of the unknown is the most frustrating part isn’t it? And when you are told so little and the guy can’t make it through 60 pitches without “fatigue,” well what are we to think of that? I know what I think. It could be a good long while before we see him this season and when we do, will it be worth the wait? We can only hope.
It’s a pretty scary scenario. But lucky for Brad and Dave, the 10-2 start has taken all the attention away from the Verlander injury; a situation that could snowball into a bad break costing us down the road, and an expensive road at that.
2. Are you surprised by the fast 10-2 start? Why or why not?
Kurt’s gonna hate me again, but very often I see both sides to an issue, so I have to say both “yes” and “no.”
The Tigers had a horrible spring training, second worst in MLB, but also tempered by not having their two top players for most of it. There is a 30-year historic correlation between good springs and good years for the team I wrote about last month so that made it a concern.
But all of a sudden, starting Opening Day, everything seemed to come together – pitching fundamentals, defense, base running and speed. Granted, the competition hasn’t been the top teams in baseball yet so I’d like to see the Tigers play KC, Angels, and the Orioles to get a better sense of how they compare. But the team definitely seems stronger, better balanced and possessing more tools in their arsenal.
Now, remember that the Tigers had a great start last year, too. They went 17 – 9 in April but in May, they won 4 more than they lost, starting that pattern of rollercoaster win-loss runs. The key is going to be sustained focus and play throughout the year. I know they have the talent – let’s see if their level of motivation remains higher than the competition.
Well, yes I am. It’s human nature to analyze something from a negative point of view. But I learned from someone I know that the media looked at the future success of the Tigers from a viewpoint based on who they no longer had. When in reality, if you look at the pieces they added to the current talent, they have a pretty intriguing team with a lot of potential to do well.
But allow me to cheat a little. Go back to the end of last season, look at the Tigers and take away Scherzer, Porcello, Verlander and Nathan (sorry, couldn’t help it). Then tell me that Sanchez would give up home runs like candy in 2 of his first 3 starts this season.
If you did all that and then asked me to guess their record after 10 games, I would probably say 2-10. What Price, Greene, Simon, Cespedes, Iglesias, Gose and Soria (to name of few) have done is flip it all around and made you forget about all those other guys, at least for 12 games. It tells you a little about how much talent we have added and still have on this team.