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According to an Associated Press report, the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander have agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract.
An unnamed source close to the negotiations says the bind can become official as soon as Thursday.
Detroit's right-handed ace finished third in the American League Cy Young Award race last season, winning 19 games with a 3.45 ERA. Verlander also led the AL in innings pitched (240) and strikeouts (269). In his five-year Major League career, which additionally includes a no-hitter in 2007, Verlander is 65-43 with a 3.92 ERA.
Eligible for arbitration this winter, Verlander submitted a $9.5 million mark for next year, while the Tigers
countered with a $6.9 million offer. Possibly recognizing the need to secure Verlander for the long term, Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski bypassed the complicated arbitration route in favor of a multi-year pact.
At this point, it is still unclear how much the hurler from Old Dominion University will earn annually and whether or not a no-trade clause is attached.
Felix Hernandez, similar to Verlander in age and accomplishment, recently signed a five-year, $78 million extension with the Seattle Mariners
. He placed one spot ahead of Verlander in last year's Cy Young race. King Felix's deal will net him $6.5 million this season, $10 million in 2011, $18.5 million in 2012, $19.5 million in 2013, and $20 million in 2014.
Verlander, 26, will head a youthful staff that includes emerging talents Rick Porcello (21) and Max Scherzer (25).