Signing Sanchez Makes Tigers AL Favorites

Signing Sanchez Makes Tigers AL Favorites

The happiest person right now is Justin Verlander.

He’s not only anchoring the best starting pitching foursome in baseball, with Anibal Sanchez’s return to the Tigers this morning, but he’s now perfectly positioned to become the game’s first $30-million-per-year pitcher upon the expiration his contract following the 2014 season.

This is the price of championship contention for the Tigers.

Sanchez got fair market value: five years at $80 million.

That’s what quality, middle-of-the-rotation starters -- even with career sub-.500 records -- get now in an open bidding war.

Sanchez’s deal, on average, is slightly higher than the five-year, $79.5-million contract Verlander signed in 2010. But Verlander will make $20 million next season and in 2014. And after Zack Grienke’s five-year, $147-million deal with the Dodgers, the starting point for any negotiations with Verlander will be $28 million annually.

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