$200 million is a lot of money. Especially for a starting pitcher. Those things can be fragile. They fall apart physically. They require surgeries. They lose their velocity. They get old. Like the rest of us. Only the rest of us probably aren't guaranteed $200 million no matter whether we fall apart or not. The MLB is not the NFL. If you say you're going to pay someone $200 million, that's what you do. No make believe contracts in baseball.

Some weeks ago I argued Justin Verlander will probably command $200 million. Mainly because it's a nice round number. It sounds good. And it's more than Felix Hernandez is getting paid. And why shouldn't Verlander be paid better? He *is* better. At least right now.

Of course then you throw in the aging curve and all that other stuff, and you begin to wonder if it really is a good deal to pay Verlander so much money, especially when you consider he'd be 38 or 39 years by the time the contract was up, depending on when he signed it.

Well, Verlander's going to get paid. Fans in Detroit love him. Fans around the MLB seem to love him, judging by the jersey sales. May as well sign him sooner than later. Hey, if you're going to pay him $200 million, may as well start the clock on that contract sooner -- when he's still effective -- rather than later.

Anyway, I lay it all out in this week's column at the News. Go check it out