Justin Verlander has done a lot in his MLB career, but the flame-thrower reached a milestone on Friday when he became the richest pitcher in the history of professional baseball. No one is questioning this deal, however if Verlander loses any steam later in the contact things could get messy with the Detroit Tigers.
The deal is worth $180M over seven years as the 2011 AL MVP will likely be in a Tigers uniform for the rest of his career. Verlander will be 37 when the deal is complete, but there is a vesting option for the 2020 campaign where he could make over $20M. Long story short, the Tigers did the right thing and made sure that their ace was not going to pitch for anyone else.
I do not see Verlander’s trademark velocity dropping anytime soon, however he will enter his thirties next February.
This season is World Series or bust for the Tigers as they are more polished than ever and looking to stampede all over a suspect AL Central. Last season the Chicago White Sox appeared to have the upper hand most of the year, but the Tigers were took home the divisional crown aside from winning just 88 games. Luckily the Tigers hunkered down versus Chicago winning 12 of the 18 match ups in 2012. Would Verlander still be getting this kind of extension had his team not made the playoffs last season?
Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter look to be huge cogs for this Tigers team as the offense was lackluster at times last year. If these two can bring anything to the table in 2013, the Tigers are going to be the favorites to take home the American League pennant once again.
With the Seattle Mariners giving Felix Hernandez an equally lucrative deal earlier this Spring the money signs are just dancing in the heads of David Price and Clayton Kershaw. Both of these dominant pitchers are in the same class of Verlander and will expecting the same kind of coin. Price is the reigning Al-Cy Young winner and is an unrestricted free agent after 2013. Kershaw has one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2014, but after that he will become a full-fledged free agent as well.
Stay tuned to see which pitcher holds the title as “richest MLB pitcher of all time” because for now that prestigious accolade belongs to Verlander.