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Justin Verlander signs five-year extension, could make $202 million through 2020

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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Justin Verlander has had a good Friday. First, he got to meet Rocky, this four-week-old Bengal tiger from the Dade City Wild Things Zoo.

Then he and the Detroit Tigers announced a five-year, $140 million contract extension that will keep him in the Motor City through 2019. It contains a one-year vesting agreement for 2020 worth $22 million, which would be his age 37 season. The figures were first reported by Buster Olney of ESPN.

Combined with the two years and $40 million he has left on his existing contract, Verlander could take home as much as $202 million over the course of the next eight years. Purrr, kitty.

[AL Central Preview: No. 2 is up for grabs]

The longstanding Tigers ace and 2011 AL Cy Young winner told Jeff Pasan of Yahoo! Sports back in February that he'd be interested in becoming baseball's first $200 million pitcher and that's exactly what he did here. Verlander's deal surpasses the $175 million, seven-year deal that Seattle's Felix Hernandez signed in early February. (That deal also included two years of an existing contract.)

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"Of course," Verlander told Passan last month. "I don't play this game to make the most money. But I do feel like it would be nice to be compensated for what I feel like I've been: one of the best, if not the best, the last few years. In my career, I feel like I've been one of the top. But the last two years, I've kind of separated myself, me and a handful of other guys.

"It's not a thing where I'm like, 'Hey, I want to be the highest-paid player,' where that's the chief goal. It innately comes with my competitiveness. That's just me. That's not why I play the game. I'm good at the game because of that side of me, because I'm competitive at everything I do."

Here's what Verlander had to say on Twitter following Friday's news:

What do you think of the deal? Will Verlander prove worth it?

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