After leading their teams to last year’s World Series, Justin Verlander and Buster Posey cashed in just hours apart Friday.
The All-Star pitcher and MVP catcher were guaranteed nearly $350 million in contracts by the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants, a sure sign of the baseball times: Teams are awash with revenue from television and high-priced tickets.
Verlander, an A.L. MVP and Cy Young Award winner for Detroit, agreed to a $180 million, seven-year deal with the Tigers that is the richest for a pitcher and prevents him from becoming a free agent after the 2014 season.
Posey, the batting champion who led San Francisco to a pair of World Series titles in the last three years, received $167 million, nine-year deal from the Giants. The catcher could not have gone on the market until after the 2016 season.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig expects revenue to top $8 billion for the first time this year.
“It’s quite a story when you think back in 1992 it was $1.2 billion,” he said this week. “We’ve come a long way. It’s a manifestation of how popular this sport is in every way.”
MLB last year agreed to eight-year contracts with News Corp’s Fox and with Turner Sports that run from 2014-21 and increase average annual revenue from about $500 million to roughly $800 million. ESPN and MLB reached a deal covering 2014-21 that hikes the average yearly payment from about $360 million to approximately $700 million.
Clearing the bases
The Oakland Athletics have designated for assignment infielder Daric Barton, who was their longest-tenured player, and left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley. … The Colorado Rockies have designated Ramon Hernandez for assignment, and they could be responsible for paying the catcher $3.2 million this year if they are unable to trade him. … Pitcher Freddy Garcia agreed to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, five days after he was released by the San Diego Padres. … First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and the Arizona Diamondbacks are close to agreement on a $32 million, five-year contract that would run from 2014-18.