The reigning AL Cy Young Award Winner and AL MVP spoke with Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via MLBTradeRumors.com) where he (Verlander) discussed his newfound celebrity status and his future with the team. Verlander expressed his love for Detroit but admitted that he wondered what it would be like playing in a bigger market and what it would take for him to remain a Tiger.
Verlander acknowledged that, sure, he’s thought about what it would be like to play in a bigger market.
“It would be fun, but hopefully I help turn Detroit into a major market,” he said. “Other teams are major markets not just because of their fan base but because of the national fan base. That comes from winning. They’re always on the news because they win.
“We may not have the biggest city in the world, but if we go out there every year and we’re in the playoffs and win some World Series titles, then our national fan base grows. My goal is to help make Detroit and their fan base a major market. I want to be a key piece in that.”
The key is owner Mike Illitch. Illitch desperately wants to add a World Series trophy to his collection of Stanley Cups. Illitch is willing to make the committment to win na dthat means spending money. He proved it by signing Prince Fielder to a megadeal this offseason.
“That’s one of the conversations I had with the Tigers right before I signed,” Verlander said, in reference to the five-year, $80 million extension to which he agreed before the 2010 season. “We talked about money and all that stuff. I wanted reassurances that I’m going to be part of a winning team. They said, ‘We’re going to do what it takes.’ That’s all I needed to hear. I want to win a World Series. And some of the other things I want to do in this game involve being on winning teams.”
I'm pretty sure that Verlander will be a lifetime Tiger, but nothing is certain in the world of sports. Just ask Peyton Manning about that.