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.
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.)
"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:
I love this city & the fans - couldn't be more excited to spend my career here! We're going to bring a World Series to Detroit!!!
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) March 29, 2013
What do you think of the deal? Will Verlander prove worth it?
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