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Tigers sign Verlander to record smashing deal

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander heads for the dug-out after a warm-up practice at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan October 26, 201
Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander heads for the dug-out after a warm-up practice at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan October 26, 201

(Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers made Justin Verlander the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball, signing their ace right-hander to a record smashing five-year contract extension on Friday.

The Tigers did not announce terms of the deal but according to media reports, Verlander will remain under contract to Detroit through the 2019 season and could become MLB's first $200 million pitcher.

Verlander has two years remaining on his current five-year $79.5 million deal and combined with a new five-year $140 million extension that includes a club option for 2020 for another $22 million, he would become baseball's richest hurler.

He reportedly would make $28 million each season from 2015-2019.

The deal, which comes two days before the Major League season opens on Sunday, easily surpasses the seven-year, $175 million extension Felix Hernandez signed in February with the Seattle Mariners.

"Justin is one of the premier pitchers in baseball and we are thrilled to keep him in a Tigers uniform for many years to come," said Detroit president, chief executive and general manager Dave Dombrowski on the Tigers' website. "Justin has been a Tiger for his entire career and he is on pace to be one of the greatest pitchers in this illustrious franchise's history."

A five-time All-Star, Verlander has established himself as one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, claiming American League most valuable player and Cy Young Award honors in 2011.

Last season the 30-year-old right-hander went 17-8 with a 2.64 earned run average and 239 strikeouts in 33 starts in helping the Tigers to a World Series appearance against the San Francisco Giants.

His career record of 124-65 includes two no-hitters.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry)

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