Justin Verlander Just Got PAAAAAAID – Signed Through 2019, Could Earn More than $200 Million

71014_moneyhappiness_vl-verticalAnother major arm slides off the possible free agent market in the next few years.

Today the Detroit Tigers re-up with ace Justin Verlander on a five-year extension (he was already signed through 2014), which, combined with the two years he was already under control and a vesting option for 2020, could net him more than $200 million, per Buster Olney. That’s more than Felix Hernandez got from the Mariners, though their preceding contract situations were slightly different.

Still, Verlander is doing pretty well: he’ll get $180 million over the next seven years – more than $25 million per – and then a $22 million vesting option for 2020, when he’ll be 37.

Welcome to the new baseball reality: stars are locked up to mega extensions before they reach free agency, and even those extensions are more expensive than the priciest free agent contracts of old.

(Minor UPDATE – It sounds like his 2013 and 2014 salaries will be $20 million, which is what he was already under contract for. So the extension is really a five-year, $140 million deal, with the vesting option. Obviously that’s a ridiculous AAV ($28 million), but you can’t really call it a $200 million deal.)

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

73 responses to “Justin Verlander Just Got PAAAAAAID – Signed Through 2019, Could Earn More than $200 Million”

  1. nkniacc13

    nice job for Tigers. All the more reason for the Cubs to build thru the draft

    1. MichiganGoat

      Exactly baseball is now all about developing talent or getting players when they are young, it’s becoming increasing difficult to get top players through FA and if you do it will take an monster contract to get the player which could hamper the team on a massive extension.

  2. DarthHater


    The text on the front page of the site says Verlander got more than Felix, but your article then says he got less. I’m confused. Am I missing something?

  3. YourResidentJag

    And here’s another reason why when Brett says the Cubs will be in on big FAs, I just don’t listen to him. #WheresourSP

    1. CT22

      Oh, look. A hashtag on a non-twitter forum. How confused you must be.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Be careful he’ll get angry at you for challenging him

      2. YourResidentJag

        Brett also does have a twitter account. Sorry, I don’t subscribe to that.

  4. Patrick W.

    This new baseball world where stars get locked up for long term mega money deals can only help the Cubs. Smaller market teams aren’t going to be able to afford these salaries and the Cubs will. If Verlander and Hernandez are with this much, David Price has to be in the ballpark. Why wouldn’t the Rays try to find a good trade in 2014 knowing that they will either have to negotiate an extension in 2014 for 200M or so or take the 2014/15 season and hope he signs with a club with a decent draft pick for compensation?

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      But it’s been the smaller market teams who’ve taken advantage of this: by offering their players long contracts with lots of money early, teams like the Rays lock them up for much less than if they had to compete with the Yanks, Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, etc. It’s a risk on both sides: the player makes less money than if he continues to do well and misses the opportunity for the big payday; the team can lose a lot if the player gets hurt or somehow just falls apart.

      It was the small-market A’s who were one of the first teams to toy with this. They locked up Eric Chavez for a long time about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, injuries derailed Chavez’s career, and the A’s wound up spending a lot for very little. That might be what slowed the spread of this tactic. But it’s here now.

      David Price becomes important becuase he’s one of the Rays who wouldn’t sign a long term deal: so he becomes a trade piece this year or next. And he will not be cheap for the team acquiring him!

      1. Marc N.

        I really hope the Cubs are like the Red Sox and Yankees when it comes to trades…if/when they do want you they pay the price. Price fits like a glove here as far as age, health, stuff, size, pedigree, makeup, and so on so I hope they pull out all the stops to land him when he becomes available.

        As a pitching fan he is my dream buy for Los Cubs.

      2. Patrick W.

        Maybe. I think that was absolutely true before the CBA changes. Time will tell, but my best guess is we’ll see a lot more of the David Price situation (though a lot less of his Super-2 status) where players will not be willing to sign extensions at such an early age knowing that they play for a team who will not sink 20-25% of their payroll into one player because that team has gotten really good at building a farm system through more competitively balanced draft. Also, If the Rays signed Price right now to the same extension Verlander just signed (he probably hasn’t earned that yet) in the final year of that contract the Rays will be paying him and Longria $40M. That just seems unlikely.

        I’m not saying that small market teams will be uncompetitive because of it, nor am I suggesting that all small market teams will follow this strategy, but I’m guessing you’ll continue to see teams with the potential for mid-level payrolls sign large extensions with young talent, and teams without that potential build organizations that develop young talent, get the most out of them they can then flip them to teams with potential for very large payrolls. Then there will be the Cubs, who will do all three and be competitive for a very long time.

        I freely admit I could be wrong, but the next 5 years will be telling.

        1. Mr. Know It All (Kyle)

          The Rays are a pretty extreme example. There aren’t too many teams who are as poor as them.

          1. Patrick W.

            Totally fair.

  5. Marc N.

    Wow, congrats to him and the Tigers. Moment of sadness.

  6. nkniacc13

    Giants trying to lock up Posey. Maybe looking at 10 year deal

  7. Alex

    Anyone that uses twitter hash tags to make a point should simply be banned. With that being said, unless we get basically a Mark Appel, how exactly do you expect to be competitive without signing a pitcher when we have only one top pitching prospect, and hes recovering from TJ surgery at that.

    1. TWC

      “Anyone that uses twitter hash tags to make a point should simply be banned.”


      1. Tommy

        Another stupid comment by TWC.


        1. TWC


          1. Tommy


            1. hansman1982


            2. HoustonTransplant


          2. DarthHater


            1. Tommy


  8. Jonathan

    Signing pitchers to this long and this high of contracts is very risky. This is exactly how you create long term salary problems. Unless these pitchers get by on location and movement like Maddux or find the Pettite/Clemens fountain of youth in a needle, odds are these contracts make Soriano’s look brilliant.

    1. Patrick W.

      Verlander is not going to be a long term salary problem. All signs point to a guy who will be Maddux-like. Maybe better. Tigers have salary problems, but 25 other teams would have jumped at the chance to sign Justin Verlander to this contract.

      1. Rebuilding

        I agree that the deal makes sense for the Tigers. Not sure I agree that Verlander is that kind of pitcher. His 98 mph fastball is his bread and butter. Once that is more like 94-95 who knows. I think the deal makes sense though because as Doc said about Wainwright you can look at the last couple of years as deferred salary

        1. dw8

          I’m in the camp that says that no pitcher is “that kind of pitcher”. Tigers have the money and are trying to win so, I say, good for them.

        2. Jonathan

          Johan Santana was also a great trade and signing by the Mets. Odds are long term this limits the Tigers. That said they are in their window now and if they win the World Series between 2015 and 2017 this works out great for them. If he injures himself in the next two years and is never the same then they get absolutely $0 value from the deal. This is kind of like the Ryan Howard deal where they extended him several years before he hit free agency. Bet the Phillies wish they could have that one back

    2. Die hard

      Curt Flood never intended for this to happen because these contracts are going to kill the past time… He wanted more balance and this is skewed the other way

  9. Curt

    Brett,resident isn’t worth yr time man, I don’t always agree with you either but I respect yf point of view which is usually accurate, and opinions are just what they are opinions, everyone’s entitled ,but resident I’s off base the cubs can only sign those players that are available pay attention resident.

  10. Edwin

    With the price of elite pitching being what it is, I’d rather the Cubs try and build up their starting pitching through depth, rather than putting an enourmous amount of resources into aquiring David Price. I think having an elite starting pitcher isn’t the only way to have a great starting rotation.

    1. Rebuilding

      Yeah, but those guys seem to only be available very high in the draft, by trade or by giving out 7/180. Given what the Rays got for Shields – the #3 prospect in baseball and a top 20 pitcher + I would expect them to start at Baez, Almora, Vogelbach +. Given our lack of arms I would think that would be the minimum. That’s why I hope we can have some other pieces emerge this year

      1. Edwin

        That’s why I think stockpiling a number of quality pitchers in the 3-4 WAR catergory might be a better way to go. If it’s so hard and costs so much to aquire “elite” pitching, why bother?

    2. daveyrosello

      I’ve said the same thing here many times. A team can be just as good with five legitimate #3 quality starters, as the team would be with legitimate numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. And with the reality of big money contracts today, I think the former would likely be a less expensive solution than would the latter.

      This theory is also why, re: discussion on another thread, that I believe Appel would be a low-risk choice for the Cubs in the upcoming draft. He projects as one of those legit #3 quality starters, to go along with two others the Cubs already have (Shark and Jackson). If Vizcaino returns OK from his rehab, then Theo needs to find just one #3 starter for next year (presuming he trades Garza), and the starting pitching is done.

      Also worth noting that I feel Wood and Villanueva are definitely NOT part of this solution, both are fillers/spot starters/fringey guys, no more.

  11. clark addison

    The changes in the CBA, along with the increased revenues, mean more good young players will be signed to long term contracts. This could limit the annual free agent auctions to supporting casts. This could be a good thing. Fans may once again be able to identify with players instead of rooting for laundry. Maybe we’ll see some more Cal Ripkens, Ernie Banks(es), and Stan Musials who play their entire career with one team. Or at least some Ron Santos or Billy Williams(es) who play almost their entire career with one team.

  12. nkniacc13

    Posey just got PAID as well 9 year 167 million

  13. hawkcub

    Hot N Ready Pizza’s will soon go to $6.