10/30/2014

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Sports

Felix no longer king of contracts: Verlander gets $180 million

Felix no longer king of contracts: Verlander gets $180 million
FILE - In this March 11, 2013 file photo, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the New York Mets, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
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LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander agreed Friday to a $180 million, seven-year contract, topping 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 Seattle 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 Cy Young and MVP 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.
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