Another 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.)