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Verlander, Posey get huge deals

The Tigers and Giants locked up their franchise players, ace Justin Verlander and catcher Buster Posey, on Friday. Verlander agreed to a seven-year deal worth $180 million, Posey a nine-year deal worth $167 million.

Verlander, the MVP and AL Cy Young winner in 2011, could have become a free agent after 2014.

"I wondered what it would be like to test free agency," the right-hander said in Lakeland. "But the pull of Detroit was too much."

Verlander's total salary broke the record for pitchers set last month with Felix Hernandez's $175 million over seven years with the Mariners.

"His record speaks for itself," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. "He can be one of the greatest if not the greatest pitcher in Tiger history."

Verlander, 124-65 with a 3.40 ERA and two no-hitters over eight seasons, was set to make $20 million in 2013 and 2014. Those salaries will remain. He makes $28 million from 2015-19. There is a $22 million option for 2020 that becomes guaranteed if he finishes among the top five in the 2019 Cy Young voting. That would make the deal $202 million over eight seasons.

"It's tough to put into words how much I love Detroit," Verlander, 30, said. "We have the best fans in baseball."

Posey's deal, which includes a full no-trade clause, is the longest ever for a catcher and most in baseball for a player with fewer than three years of service time.

"It's hard to put into words what I feel right now; just an incredible feeling knowing that for the next nine years I'll be a part of this very storied franchise," Posey said in San Francisco. "I'm incredibly humbled."

After missing most of 2011 with a broken left leg and torn ligaments in his left ankle, the former Florida State star hit .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs, winning the batting title and MVP and leading the Giants to their second World Series title in three years.

Posey, 26, was to make $8 million this season. Instead, it will be a $7 million signing bonus and $3 million salary. He will make $10.5 million in 2014, $16.5 million in 2015, $20 million in 2016 and $21.4 million from 2017-21. A club option for 2022 is $22 million (which would make the deal worth $186 million over a decade) with a $3 million buyout.

"A nine-year commitment sounds like a lot," Giants CEO Larry Baer said. "But it wasn't scary to us when you look at Buster the person."

Arizona's big deal: Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, 25, is close to a five-year, $32 million deal, espn.com reported. It would run through 2018 with a 2019 option. As a rookie in 2012, he hit .286 with 43 doubles, 20 home runs and 82 RBIs.

Comeback ends: Outfielder Adam Greenberg, who gained attention last year for his return to the majors, was released by the Orioles. Greenberg was beaned in his first career at-bat, in 2005. The Marlins signed him to play in the season finale, and he struck out in his only at-bat.

Braves: Reliever Jonny Venters will have his left elbow examined after leaving Tuesday's game with pain. He had elbow-ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery on the elbow in 2005.

Mets: Third baseman David Wright played five innings in his first game since sustaining a rib injury. He expects to be ready for opening day.

Royals: Miguel Tejada, 38, the 2002 AL MVP, made the roster as a utility infielder. He last played in the majors in 2011. He spent 2012 with the Orioles' Triple-A team but was released June 25.

Twins: First baseman Justin Morneau sat with a tight back. He likely won't play today, but manager Ron Gardenhire said he will be ready for opening day. Also, righty Cole DeVries, set to start the fifth game, left after three innings with a sore forearm. His status is unknown.

Verlander, Posey get huge deals 03/29/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 12:45am]

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