Tigers Sign Justin Verlander To Five-Year Deal

The Tigers signed Justin Verlander to a five-year contract worth $80MM today, buying out the righthander's two remaining arbitration years plus three years of free agency.  MLB.com's Jason Beck says Verlander will get a $500K signing bonus, $6.75MM in '10, $12.75MM in '11, and $20MM per each free agent season.  The Tigers get a discount on the arbitration years, as is customary.

Felix Hernandez's five-year contract with Seattle was used as a comparison for this deal, though Verlander will pocket an extra $2MM and won't reach free agency until age 32. You could make the case that Hernandez deserved the larger contract, though that point is certainly debatable.

Verlander, 27 later this month, led the American League in starts (35), innings (240), batters faced (982), strikeouts (269), and wins (19) in 2009, earning him a third place finish in the Cy Young voting. He also has a no-hitter, a Rookie of the Year Award, and World Series experience to his credit.

The second overall pick in the 2004 draft had reportedly been seeking a sixth guaranteed year, but it obviously wasn't a deal breaker. He will earn $6.75MM in 2010, $12.75MM in 2011, then $20MM each year from 2012 to 2014. The deal also includes a $500K bonus.

The Tigers spent most of the offseason shedding salary by trading players like Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson, however they reversed course to lock up one of the game's best young arms. 

The Associated Press (via NBCSports.com) broke the news of the agreement, and MLB.com's Jason Beck added some details via Twitter.

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