LAKELAND, Fla. -- 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 just a month earlier when Seattle's Felix Hernandez agreed to a $175 million, seven-year contract.
The 2011 AL 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.