Tigers ink Verlander to 5-year deal

Verlander will sport the 'ol English 'D'

Just a little more than a week after the Tigers announced they had cut off talks with first round draft pick Justin Verlander, on Friday the announcement came that the two sides had come to an agreement on a 5-year major league contract.

A little more than a week ago it was a sad day for the Tigers organization, as they reluctantly announced that they were severing talks with their first round draft pick, RHP Justin Verlander, and had no plans to sign the fireballer.

But there was apparently a change of heart from the Verlander camp, as this past Monday Justin's father Richard contacted Tigers Director of Scouting Greg Smith to re-initiate discussions. These discussions took place without the presence Verlander's agent, Michael Milchin. Verlander has refused comment on his status.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, the Tigers had admitted previously that their offer to Verlander was substantially more than the $3.35 million deal that they gave 2003 1st round pick Kyle Sleeth. As it is a major league contract however, Verlander will need to move somewhat quickly up the ladder, as he'll need to stick on the big league roster by 2009, or be forced to clear waivers to return to the minors.

With the signing of Verlander, the Tigers have now signed 9 of their top 10 draft picks - with only 7th round high school Pitcher Chris Carpenter not coming to terms with the team. In all likelihood, the signing of Verlander completes the team's work with the 2004 draft, and will allow them to begin to focus on big league club and its offseason moves.

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