TIgers pitcher Justin Verlander won't have contract talks during the season. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Detroit Tigers don't have long if they want to sign pitcher Justin Verlander to a long-term deal.
Verlander said he will not negotiate with the team during the season and management seems to agree with that demand. Verlander will make $20 million in each of the next two seasons as part of a five-year, $80 million contract extension signed before the 2010 season. Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez is the game's highest paid pitcher, agreeing to a $175 million deal over seven years last month.
"Once this last start comes around, I want to concentrate on the start of the season," Verlander said to CBSSports.com. "I do like it here in Detroit. (But) I'm my own individual," Verlander said. "I'm not Felix. I'm not anybody else. It'll be whatever I feel comfortable with."
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, whose team will be one of the favorites to win the American League this season, said there was nothing going on as far as negotiations with Verlander.
"First of all, Justin is still with us two more years,''Dombrowski said. "And as I've said, we want Justin to remain a Tiger for a long time. I don't think anything productive comes from talking about a contract during the season. We try to keep distractions out. It's been rare when we've done it, and it's usually more about free agents."
After winning the American League's Most Valuable Player and Cy Young award in 2011, Verlander, 30, went 17-9 with a 2.64 ERA and 239 strikeouts last season.