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 Tigers sign Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay and Zach Miner for 2010

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PostSubject: Tigers sign Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay and Zach Miner for 2010   Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:44 pm

Posted: 4:47 p.m. Jan. 19, 2010
Tigers sign Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay and Zach Miner

POSTED BY JAMES JAHNKE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The Detroit Tigers today agreed to terms on contracts for the 2010 season with right-handed pitcher Zach Miner, left-handed pitcher Bobby Seay and catcher Gerald Laird, avoiding arbitration with all three players.

Terms were not immediately disclosed.

Miner appeared in a career-high 51 games last season with the Tigers. He finished 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA and 62 strikeouts.

Seay posted a 6-3 record and 4.25 ERA for the Tigers in 2009. He established career highs with six wins, 67 appearances and 48.2 innings pitched.

Laird saw action in a career-high 135 games for the Tigers, batting .225 with 23 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 33 RBIs. He led all American League catchers with a .997 fielding percentage and 78 assists. Laird threw out 40.4% of runners attempting to steal, tops among AL catchers.

With the three players agreeing to terms, the Tigers now have 18 players on the 40-man roster under contract for 2010.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers sign Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay and Zach Miner for 2010   Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:56 pm

Tigers, Verlander exchange figures
Detroit signs Miner, Seay and Laird to one-year deals

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

01/19/10 5:53 PM EST

DETROIT -- The numbers are out. Now it's up to Justin Verlander and the Tigers to work out a deal, whether it's for one year or much longer.

While Tigers avoided arbitration with catcher Gerald Laird and pitchers Zach Miner and Bobby Seay with one-year contracts, they exchanged salary figures Tuesday with Verlander, their lone remaining arbitration-eligible player. With a potential hearing scheduled to take place anytime between Feb. 1-21, the Tigers now have at least a week and a half to try to bridge the financial gaps with their players.

In Verlander's case, it's a significant one. Verlander filed a request for a $9.5 million, while the Tigers submitted a salary figure of $6.9 million.

As big as those numbers are, Verlander's contract situation in general looms larger, and it impacts the Tigers' long-term situation as well as the shape of baseball's pitching landscape. After the Marlins signed Josh Johnson to a four-year, $39 million contract last week and the Mariners neared agreement with Felix Hernandez on a reported five-year contract Tuesday, Verlander stands as the last of the unsigned among the trio of baseball's young aces who could become free agents after the 2011 season.

Neither team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski nor anyone from Verlander's side has commented on the contract situation.

"We've said all along that we're hopeful to keep Justin Verlander part of our organization for a long time," Dombrowski said Tuesday on a conference call to discuss the signing of closer Jose Valverde.

Most likely, the Tigers will work to reach a one-year contract and avoid arbitration first, and then approach longer-term talks. They used the same strategy two years ago with Miguel Cabrera, who eventually signed an extension just before the end of Spring Training to make his contract worth eight years and $152.3 million.

How much Hernandez's new contract impacts Verlander's situation is likely a work in progress, but it's definitely intriguing, given the similarity of their careers and their stats. While Verlander and Hernandez were among the Major League leaders with 19 victories in 2009, Verlander topped the big leagues with 269 strikeouts, 240 innings pitched and 35 starts. Hernandez and Verlander finished second and third, respectively, in American League Cy Young Award voting.

For their careers, Hernandez is the most similar among active pitchers, according to baseball-reference.com. While Verlander's 3.92 ERA is nearly a half-run higher than that of Hernandez, he has seven more victories (65 to 58) and a slightly higher winning percentage (.602 to .586). Hernandez has thrown 65 more innings, but over six more career starts.

Recent years and recent deals around baseball suggest that if a long-term contract is going to get done with a young pitcher, it's most likely to happen two years away from free agency, when long-term security appeals to a pitcher the most. Though the two sides have another offseason to work on a deal before Verlander hits free agency, the injury risk carries less weight on a player with just one year to go.

There's also the question of the Tigers' situation at that point, not simply financially but competitively. Tuesday's Valverde signing was a sign that the club still expects to contend in 2010, enough so to make a proven closer making $7 million a year worthwhile. The highly-competitive Verlander has demonstrated his desire to win.

Verlander will turn 27 on Feb. 20. He'll be on track to hit free agency at age 29.

The bright side for the Tigers is that Verlander stands as the one major issue remaining. They agreed to terms with Seay for $2,475,000, a significant raise from the $1.3 million contract the left-handed reliever signed last year.

The 31-year-old Seay went 6-3 with a 4.25 ERA last year in a career-high 67 appearances. Left-handed hitters batted .261 with a .688 OPS against him, compared with a .239 average and .715 OPS from right-handed batters. He's part of a suddenly deep bullpen that includes lefties Fu-Te Ni, Daniel Schlereth and potentially Phil Coke, if he doesn't crack Detroit's rotation.

Laird made $2.8 million last year. The 30-year-old catcher threw out 42 percent of would-be basestealers in 2009, tops in the Majors, but hit .225 with four home runs and 33 RBIs in a career-high 135 games.

Miner was eligible for arbitration for the first time. The 27-year-old right-hander went 7-5 with one save and a 4.29 ERA in 51 games, five of them starts.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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Tigers sign Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay and Zach Miner for 2010
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