Why Justin Verlander will be under pressure in 2014

Justin_Verlander_on_June_1,_2013Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander showed signs of struggle last year after signing a big contract-extension that will keep in him Detroit for some time. In late March of 2013, Verlander and the Tigers agreed on 7-year deal worth $180 million dollars that could get bumped to $202 million if the All-Star pitcher stays an extra year. In the first year of his new deal in 2013, Verlander finished with a record of 13-12 and an ERA of 3.46 which are un-Verlander type numbers.

With Verlander struggling and pitcher Max Scherzer putting up Cy Young award winning numbers in 2013 and proving the ballclub has two Ace pitchers in the rotation, Verlander will look to live up to the huge contract he signed to help bring a World Series title back to Detroit for the first time since 1984.

His contract extension isn’t the only thing putting pressure on him.

The massive contract extension of first basemen Miguel Cabrera and the unwillingness of Scherzer and the Tigers to come to an agreement on an extension of their own are all the more reasons why strain will be on Verlander to put up great numbers in 2014.

Since the Tigers were unable to get a deal done with  Scherzer, they ended up spending the big money they had left over to sign Cabrera to a 10-year extension that will keep him in Detroit for the remainder of his career, as long as he continues his production for a good portion of the deal. Signing this contract made the Tigers seem like they are potentially giving up on keeping Scherzer in Detroit for the future, even though both sides have agreed there would be no contract talks during the season.

But would the Tigers be willing to even trade Scherzer if the price is right? I don’t see why not. If that does end up being the case, Verlander would be the lone Ace pitcher for the Tigers.

Verlander is someone who can handle all the pressure though. He has played in a lot of big games and had has success for the most part. He has been in the Cy Young award discussions over the past few seasons and for good reason.

Verlander is still one of the best pitchers in the game today. His tough and tenacious attitude as a pitcher is hard to find sometimes in the game. He has been on record saying that he doesn’t scout his opponent for the most part, he just steps on the mound and plays his game the only way he knows how: with no fear.