I have a theory that Justin Verlander understands he doesn't need the big-market cities to find success off the field with endorsement deals. Unfortunately, not all players think that way, and they look for ways to play in larger markets with more media exposure.
Verlander is different in that he has a very good relationship with the Detroit fans and has gone on record saying that he wants to stay in Detroit. As James Schmehl from MLive.com wrote:
I've made it no secret that I love Detroit, he said. I grew up in front of these fans. I feel like I've been a big part of this city and this city has become a big part of me. So, obviously, I'd love to play my career here.
If Verlander is serious, then the Detroit Tigers should give him additional incentive to sign by telling him they want him to be a part of their organization once his playing career is over. This would ensure that he will have a long-term bond with the fans and the organization and that he would be remembered as a Tiger great.
Now, I understand that personal-services contracts are no longer permitted to be included in writing within player agreements. After they were included in Albert Pujols' and Ryan Zimmerman's contracts, Major League Baseball and the union stepped in to prevent this from occurring in the future.
Even though it can't be in writing, the Tigers could make their feelings known to Verlander about wanting him to be a part of the Tigers once he's done with his career. While the Tigers wouldn't be able to pay him large amounts of money, in line with what Pujols and Zimmerman will have made after their playing careers with the personal-services contracts included, they can have him follow the paths of Willie Horton and Al Kaline.
Kaline and Horton are beloved in Detroit for still being such a part of the Tigers and the city of Detroit. The Tigers should let Verlander know that they see him following the same path, which will mean a lot to him.