Monday, April 1, 2013

Detroit Tigers sign pitcher Justin Verlander to contract extension at $28 million per year

The Detroit Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander has let it be known that he’d like to spend the rest of his baseball career with the American League team. On March 29 his wish might have come true as the Tigers announced that they were going to sign him to a five-year contract extension. He’ll now be a member of the Tigers starting pitching rotation until 2019 and perhaps as long as 2020.

The Tigers didn’t officially release any financial terms of the new contract, but ESPN has reported that Verlander will be paid a total of $28 million for each season pitched between 2015 and 2019. There is an option for the 2020 season which is worth $22 million. If Verlander does indeed take home $28 million each year, he’ll become baseball’s best-paid yearly pitcher. Felix Hernandez signed a deal with the Seattle Mariners in February which will see him paid $175 million over seven years, or $25 million each season.

Verlander’s current contract isn’t too shabby either. He’s still got two years left on it which will guarantee him $20 million for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. These are the last two years on a $79.5 million five-year contract which he signed following the 2009 baseball season. If Verlander makes $22 million in the option year he will be paid $202 million in total over the next seven years.

The 30-year-old had an excellent season in 2012 when he compiled a record of 17-8 to complement his ERA of 2.64 and his 239 strikeouts. Verlander started 33 games last season and led the American League in complete games with six of them. He was also tops in the league in strikeouts and innings pitched at 238 and 1/3. Verlander’s best season personally may have been in 2011 though, when he won the American League’s Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards. He became the 10th pitcher in MLB history to capture both of those honors during the same season.

Verlander’s been named an all star five times during his illustrious career so far. His career ERA stands at 3.40 and his record is currently a very impressive 124-65 since breaking into the league back in 2005. Verlander will be the Tigers starting pitcher on opening day on Monday April 1 when they pay a visit to the Minnesota Twins. It’ll be the sixth consecutive year that manager Jim Leyland has gone with him as the team’s opening-day hurler. He’s still quite a way off of the club record though as Jack Morris pitched in 11 consecutive opening days between 1980 and 1990.

Dave Dombrowski, Detroit’s general manager, CEO, and president, said Verlander’s one of the top pitchers in all of baseball and the organization is happy to have him under contract for the next seven years. Verlander said he wasn’t in a hurry to sign a new deal, but he didn’t want to start talking about a contract extension during the season.

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