DETROIT (CBS Detroit) After much speculation, ace pitcher Justin Verlander signed a contract extension with the Detroit Tigers.
The Tiger’s public relations team confirmed a five-year contract extension had been reached Friday, through 2019. ESPN is reporting it’s a $180 million contract, the largest for a pitcher in MLB history.
Prior to the extension, Verlander was making $20 million for this season.
Baseball fans have been on pins and needles since Verlander said he would not engage in contract negotiations with the team after his next start, cracking open the door to eventually becoming a free agent.
Verlander, 30, compiled a 17-8 record, 2.64 ERA (238.1IP/70ER) and 239 strikeouts in 33 starts with the Tigers during the 2012 season. He topped the American League with six complete games, 238.1 innings pitched and 239 strikeouts, while he finished second with a 2.64 ERA, .217 batting average against, 7.25 hits per nine innings and 3.98 strikeouts per walk, tied for third with 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings and tied for fourth with 17 wins.
“Justin is one of the premier pitchers in baseball and we are thrilled to keep him in a Tigers uniform for many years to come,” Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said. “Justin has been a Tiger for his entire career and he is on pace to be one of the greatest pitchers in this illustrious franchise’s history.”
Fans out outside Comerica Park on Friday were excited, including Don Brandt of Quincy, Michigan.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game, so he deserves it,” said Brandt. “The guy’s awesome … anytime he’s on the mound it’s a great game. So, I’m sure it’s exciting for the game itself.”
A five-time American League all-star selection (2007, 2009-12), Verlander has posted a 124-65 record, 3.40 ERA (1,553.2IP/587ER) and 1,454 strikeouts in 232 starts during his major league career. Detroit’s first-round selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in 2004, he is currently fifth all-time in club history with 1,454 strikeouts and 10th with 124 wins.
Verlander was selected the American League Most Valuable Player and unanimously selected the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2011. He became the 10th pitcher in major league history to win both the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards during the same season, joining Don Newcombe (1956), Sandy Koufax (1963), Bob Gibson (1968), Denny McLain (1968), Vida Blue (1971), Rollie Fingers (1981), Guillermo Hernandez (1984), Roger Clemens (1986) and Dennis Eckersley (1992).
Verlander himself teased the news with a Tweet before it was official, saying he would have “big news” today.
He later Tweeted, “I love this city & fans – couldn’t be more excited to spend career here! We’re going to bring World Series to Detroit!!!”