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 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.”
Verlander, 30, the 2011 America League 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 city of Detroit is committed to winning,” he said. “I’m so excited to be playing in Detroit. I was never shy about saying I wanted to stay in Detroit. It’s tough to put into words how much I love Detroit. We have the best fans in baseball.”
Giants retain Buster Posey
Buster Posey is the San Francisco Giants’ new franchise man.
The Giants rewarded the NL MVP and batting champion catcher with a $167 million, nine-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2022 that could raise the value to $186 million over a decade.
Posey had been due to make $8 million. He instead gets a $7 million signing bonus, with $5 million payable Oct. 15 and the remainder Jan. 15, and his 2013 salary is reduced to $3 million.
He will make $10.5 million in 2014, $16.5 million in 2015, $20 million in 2016 and $21.4 million in each of the following five seasons. The Giants’ option is for $22 million with a $3 million buyout.
Posey’s agreement includes a full no-trade clause. It is the longest for a catcher and the largest in Giants history, surpassing Matt Cain’s $127.5 million, six-year contract signed before the start of last season.
Pitcher Garcia signed
Pitcher Freddy Garcia, 36, agreed to a minor-league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, five days after he was released by the San Diego Padres.
The right-hander was 1-4 with an 8.71 ERA in six spring-training starts for the Padres, allowing 25 runs and 26 hits in 20‚ innings. He was 7-6 with a 5.20 ERA in 17 starts and 13 relief appearances for the New York Yankees last year.
The Orioles also reassigned outfielder Chris Dickerson to their minor-league camp.
Around the league
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and the Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly close to a $32 million, five-year deal that would run from 2014-18. ... Former American League MVP Miguel Tejada, 38, who last played in 2011 with the San Francisco Giants, has made the Kansas City Royals’ opening-day roster as a utility infielder. ... Atlanta Braves reliever Jonny Venters will have his ailing left elbow examined Wednesday by an orthopedic surgeon. ... New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (torn tendon) hopes to get the protective brace on his injured right wrist removed Monday.