Verlander shutting down contract questions
Remember the CBSSports.com piece from a few days ago, quoting Justin Verlander saying he didn’t want any contract negotiations during the season? Well, he doesn’t want any questions regarding contract negotiations starting … right … about … now.
The question on his contract came up as expected after his 5 2/3 innings of work Wednesday against the Phillies.
“I’ve got no comments on contract anything,” Verlander said. “We’re one start away from Opening Day and I’d prefer to talk about that.”
Does that signal anything going on, considering Verlander has taken questions on his contract status all spring? At this point, there are no signs that anything is close. The Tigers haven’t commented on Verlander’s contract status all spring, other than GM Dave Dombrowski saying he’d like to keep Verlander in a Tiger uniform for a long time. Verlander’s agent, Mike Milchin, is known for not saying much of anything to the media on negotiations.
It could also be that Verlander didn’t want to take questions on contract talks on this particular day.
Here’s the thing about Verlander: Though the Tigers don’t close spring training until Saturday, when they wrap up Grapefruit League play against the Rays at Tropicana Field and then fly to Minneapolis, Verlander goes into regular-season mode starting Thursday. His final spring start was moved to Wednesday so that he could start Opening Day on his standard four days of rest. He is a creature of routines, and his regular-season routine starts now.
It’s hard to tell whether there’s any room for Verlander to take on contract talks in the midst of that routine. The fact that Verlander isn’t talking about it could suggest that he is, or it could suggest he’s just shutting everything down now. It’s hard to tell with him.