Tigers Ink Verlander To 5-Year Deal

The Tigers ended speculation and any concern of possibly losing their ace on Thursday afternoon, signing starting right-hander Justin Verlander to a 5-year deal worth $80 million. The deal will keep Verlander in the olde English 'D' through 2014 while also making Verlander one of the big league's highest paid pitchers.

The five-year deal, which Justin Verlander signed while at the podium at Thursday's press conference, will keep Verlander a Tiger through 2014.

The move was considered an imperative one for the Tigers, given Verlander's looming free agency eligibility after 2011.

While it was never expressly stated, there was likely a need to lock Verlander up long-term after many fans were concerned about the state of the team when general manager Dave Dombrowski shipped out All-Stars Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson earlier this off-season.

The deal will pay Verlander a $500,000 signing bonus, $6.75 million in 2010, $12.75 million in 2011, and $20 million per year in the following three seasons.

The deal is very similar to the contract Seattle Mariners' right-hander Felix Hernandez recently agreed to, with Verlander's just topping Hernandez's deal by $2 million ($80 million over five years vs. $78 million for Hernandez).

Verlander led the majors in strikeouts with 269, while also leading the bigs in innings pitched in 2009 with 240.

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