Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander agreed Friday to a $180 million, seven-year contract. The deal topped the record for pitchers set when Felix Hernandez and Seattle agreed in February to a $175 million, seven-year contract.
Verlander, 30, the 2011 A.L. MVP and Cy Young Award winner, had been signed through 2014 under an $80 million, five-year deal paying him $20 million in each of the next two seasons. The new contract keeps those salaries and adds $140 million in guaranteed money. It includes a $22 million option for 2020.
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay are getting closer to a contract extension that would make the quarterback the highest-paid player in league history, league sources told ESPN. Speculation is the deal could average $25 million per year. The former Cal quarterback is under contract for the next two seasons, with a base salary of $9.25 million in 2013 and $10.5 million in 2014.
Monday qualifier Steve Wheatcroft ran off three straight birdies early in his round en route to his second straight 5-under 67. That gave him a 134 total, a shot ahead of D.A. Points (71) and Jason Kokrak (69) going into the weekend at the Houston Open in Humble, Texas. Rory McIlroy also will be around. He two-putted from 85 feet on his 17th hole for a birdie that gave him a 70. McIlroy, at 143, made the cut on the number. Phil Mickelson (71) also made the cut on the number.
A deal to loan Mark Martin to Joe Gibbs Racing as a replacement driver for Denny Hamlin fell apart when Michael Waltrip Racing said Martin will fulfill his commitment to its team. When the dust settled, Brian Vickers wound up as Hamlin's replacement driver for at least four races. Vickers was already scheduled to drive Martin's car for MWR at Martinsville next week and will keep that commitment, with Martin driving Hamlin's car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Then Martin will go back to MWR, and Vickers will drive Hamlin's car until Hamlin is cleared to return from a fractured vertebra in his lower back. He's out at least five races.
Andy Murray reached the Sony Open final by rallying past Richard Gasquet 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Murray's opponent Sunday will be David Ferrer, who took the final five games to defeat Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Saturday's women's final pits Serena Williams against Maria Sharapova.