LAKELAND, Fla. — Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander agreed Friday to a $180 million, seven-year contract, topping Seattle’s Felix Hernandez for the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history.
“I love this city &the fans,” Verlander tweeted. “Couldn’t be more excited to spend my career here! We’re going to bring a World Series to Detroit!!!”
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.
Verlander’s agreement topped the record for pitchers set when Hernandez and the Mariners agreed in February to a $175 million, seven-year contract.
Considered an elite pitcher since winning the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year award, 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, becoming the first starting pitcher to sweep the Cy Young and MVP awards since Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986.
Verlander also has compiled a 19-win season and two each of 18 and 17. He led the big leagues in strikeouts and innings in 2009, 2011 and 2012.