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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 3/30/2013

Tigers keep Verlander for 7 years, $180 million

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Verlander Verlander
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LAKELAND, Fla. — For Justin Verlander, $180 million was enough. No need to wait two seasons, become a free agent, and find out how much baseball's biggest spenders would offer.

"I wondered what it would be like to test free agency, but the pull of Detroit was too much," the Tigers' ace said Friday after agreeing to a seven-year contract, the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history. "Once spring training started I knew I wanted to stay."

Verlander's deal broke the record for pitchers set just a month earlier when Seattle's Felix Hernandez agreed to a $175 million, seven-year contract.

"It's a very exciting day," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. "It's a big day for us. He's as fine a pitcher as there is in baseball. His record speaks for itself. He can be one of the greatest, if not the greatest pitcher in Tiger history."

The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner had been signed through 2014 under an $80 million, five-year contract paying him $20 million in each of the next two seasons.

The new deal keeps those salaries and adds $140 million in guaranteed money: $28 million each season from 2015-19. It includes a $22 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he finishes among the top five in 2019 Cy Young voting. The deal could be worth $202 million over eight seasons.

The 30-year-old right-hander is 124-65 with a 3.40 ERA in eight major league seasons with two no-hitters. He was 24-5 two years ago.

Verlander's teammates were pleased for their star pitcher.

"First, he deserves it because it means a lot for all of us," pitcher Max Scherzer said. "From now on, every time we go out to dinner, I am not even going to make a token effort to pull out my credit card. Every dinner this year is on him."



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