Arbitration Eligibles: Detroit Tigers

So far in our arbitration eligibles series we've covered all of the AL East: the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays.  Now we take on the AL Central starting with the Tigers.

I can see the Tigers tendering contracts to all but Thomas.  Porcello and Kelly project to be arbitration eligible as Super Twos.  Starters Porcello and Scherzer should get nice first-time salaries in the $4MM range.  Porcello, especially, is helped by a pre-arbitration salary of $1.536MM owing to the Major League deal he signed out of high school.  Kelly might get around $700K, while Coke projects at $1.4MM.  Thomas has battled elbow issues for most of the year, and the Tigers tried to outright him but had to put him on the 60-day DL.  He's likely to be cut prior to the non-tender deadline.

Young's non-tender candidacy was a factor in his trade to the Tigers.  His power has bounced back in 89 plate appearances with Detroit, though he's yet to draw a walk.  If you look at Young's current 2011 counting stats – 7 home runs, 49 RBIs, 39 runs – they should lead to a relatively meager raise.  We're thinking a $725K bump to a $6.1MM salary, a gamble the Tigers might take if they like what they see for the rest of the year.

If the Tigers retain Jose Valverde for $9MM and tender contracts to all arbitration eligibles, they'd have just under $100MM in 2012 commitments.  With a 2011 Opening Day payroll of $107MM, the Tigers would have to trade someone or raise payroll to 2008-10 levels to be able to add a prominent free agent or two.


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37 Comments on "Arbitration Eligibles: Detroit Tigers"


I_See_Blue_He_Looks_Glorious
3 years 10 months ago

According to Cot’s, the Tigers have a $1.344 million club option on Porcello for 2012.

3 years 10 months ago

Arbitration overrides that.

I_See_Blue_He_Looks_Glorious
3 years 10 months ago

Interesting.  How can arbitration override an option on a contract? Is that option only in place if Porcello hadn’t accrued enough service time to reach arbitration?

3 years 10 months ago

Correct.  I think that’s the way all MLB deals for draft picks work.

3 years 9 months ago

Cot’s used to show that Porcello could opt for arbitration if he was eligible, but that clause was deleted from their contract description at some point along the way.  Obviously, he’d opt for arbitration.   I don’t believe it always works that way unless the language is included in the contract.   Not every day that you see a club option in the fifth season of a player’s contract when he’s signed out of high school.   That would be the time that he’s just coming eligible for Rule 5 eligibility.   Still I’m pretty sure that a player can give up the right to arbitration when he negotiates his contract.  Arby in this case is worth a few million bucks to Kid Rick.

In Porcello’s case, a couple of stints in the minor leagues pushed him BACK into super two status, but also pushed him back to where he could spend the next three years in the majors and still not be eligible for free agency for another season.  Handy things those options can be. 

Big_Time_Tiger_Fan
3 years 10 months ago

I guess I am missing where the Tigers payroll would be as high as you say when Guillen ($13 million) Ordonez ($10 Mil) and Penny ($3 mil) will not be returning which is $26 million. Besides Young, which was the 5.5ish you talked about, they did not add any large payroll guys. Mostly cheaper under control for a couple of year types. Looks to me that they will have plenty to go out and get the 2nd baseman that they need. I know Porcello and Scherzer are due bump ups, but they won’t take up what they are saving by dumping the 3 mentioned above.

3 years 10 months ago

Just the $73.875MM found here:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tEZvMIXrj8vgGMsajr8pR0g&output=html

Plus $9MM for Valverde plus $16.3MM for arb eligibles equals $99.175MM.

tycobb
3 years 10 months ago

Zumaya as well…..I hope. Go get a 2nd baseman.

threeeds
3 years 10 months ago

Zumaya is making *just* over $1MM this year. He’s not an expensive piece at all. Not like Guillen or Magglio. He will not be the one preventing them from getting a second baseman if they opt to bring him back.

Jay
3 years 10 months ago

Dombrowski stated earlier this year that they will NOT be bringing Zumaya back…either one of them.

threeeds
3 years 10 months ago

Zumaya is making *just* over $1MM this year. He’s not an expensive piece at all. Not like Guillen or Magglio. He will not be the one preventing them from getting a second baseman if they opt to bring him back.

mistermonkey
3 years 10 months ago

Verlander gets something like an $8M raise in 2012, and Cabrera and Martinez also get a bump of $1M. So, with Young’s $5.5M or so, Valverde’s bump from $7M to $9M, and arbitration raises for Porcello and Scherzer (about $4.5M combined), there’s not a whole lot to work with, even with the departures of Guillen, Penny, Zumaya and Ordonez. But at least not as much of their payroll will be dead weight.

3 years 10 months ago

I added Brad Thomas to the post.  Thanks to Eddie Bajek for reminding me.

3 years 9 months ago

Eddie rocks!  Tiger fans are really smart people. 

DutchTiger
3 years 10 months ago

The question is: Do the tigers need prominent new additions next year? Bring back Santiago and then you have pretty much the team they are playing now minus Guillen and Ordonez, who hardly play anyway.   

The only needs are a hitting 3rd baseman and a 4-5 starter if Turner doesn’t make it out of spring training. 

TartanElk
3 years 10 months ago

You need a 2B and a 3B for sure. A SP to come in until Turner is ready mid-2012. Possibly a reliever.

JacksTigers
3 years 10 months ago

Aramis Ramirez is a possibility to play third next year. I’m hoping that they bring Betemit back to be a pinch hit specialist, as he’s done very well in that spot since coming to Detroit. While it will be much more difficult and they would need Illitch to add to the payroll, which is not a stretch at all, Jose Reyes could be brought in to play SS and move Peralta to 3B.

As for the starters, I think that they are pretty much set. The 2012 rotation will look like this:

1. Verlander
2. Fister
3. Scherezer
4. Porcello
5. Turner

The average age of that rotation will be under 26 years old which means that you’re looking at the projected rotation through 2015 or so. I would prefer them to go after a second basemen rather than a starter. Santiago is a premier bench player, but not very good when it comes to starting every day. Remember his walk off homerun in the 10th inning a couple of days ago? He came in as a pinch runner in the late innings (7th?) If the Tigers were to get Ramirez and Kelly Johnson in the offseason, then that puts them at a large advantage that on paper. With the rotation that you see above and a lineup that looks like this:

1. Jackson CF
2. Boesch RF
3. Young LF
4. Cabrera 1B
5. Martinez DH
6. Ramirez 3B
7. Avila C
8. Peralta SS
9. Johnson 2B

I don’t really see any holes in that team. So now that I’ve turned a simple comment of who should play third for Detroit in 2012 into an article, I’m gonna press “Post as JacksTigers” and go eat lunch.

Julian
3 years 10 months ago

As much as people think it could happen, the Tigers will NOT sign Jose Reyes.  Part of the reason Peralta’s production decreased in Cleveland and the Tribe traded him was because they moved him over to 3B and he was unhappy about it. 

With that aside, I think DD and JL are adament against never having someone who can steal a base.

JacksTigers
3 years 10 months ago

I agree. That’s why I didn’t figure him into the lineup. I just said it was a possibility.

JacksTigers
3 years 10 months ago

I agree. That’s why I didn’t figure him into the lineup. I just said it was a possibility.

Julian
3 years 10 months ago

As much as people think it could happen, the Tigers will NOT sign Jose Reyes.  Part of the reason Peralta’s production decreased in Cleveland and the Tribe traded him was because they moved him over to 3B and he was unhappy about it. 

With that aside, I think DD and JL are adament against never having someone who can steal a base.

DutchTiger
3 years 10 months ago

I am not so sure if signing Ramirez is feasible. The guy is making almost $15mm and having a good year. You would have to sign him to a Guillen size contract.  He would be an upgrade, no doubt, but I don’t think he is worth the cash and years you would have to pay him with Nick Castellanos waiting in the minors.

As for Johnson. Is he really an upgrade over Raburn? I don’t think so. The fact is that the 3b and 2b free agent group is pretty poor this year. 

If they can sign Reyes that would be great because they have decent back-ups when he gets injured. Otherwise, a long-reliever who can occasionally start in place of Turner would be the main priority.  

bziter
3 years 10 months ago

I hope they non-tender Delmon Young. I don’t like the idea of a 3 hitter who can’t draw a walk. Next priority: Resign Santiago. Next priority: Avoid an albatross contract that will cripple this team for the next five years.

JacksTigers
3 years 10 months ago

I stopped reading after “I hope they non-tender Delmon Young.”

mmwatkin
3 years 10 months ago

I can’t believe anyone thinks Delmon Young is worth $6M. The Twins were going to non-tender him and traded him to a division opponent for a song. That should tell you all you need to know about him.

The Tigers have more pressing needs than to overpay for a horrible corner outfielder with zero plate discipline. The guy seriously looks like a stumbling drunk tracking a flyball. I would rather see Ryan Raburn with baseballs bouncing off his head and over the wall than Young. 

Lets someone else cross their fingers and hope he returns to 2010 form. His only job was to be better than Ordonez for 6 weeks. Congrats on him achieving that, although a potted fern might have done the trick as well. 

JacksTigers
3 years 10 months ago

I stopped reading after “I hope they non-tender Delmon Young.”

MattCMoore
3 years 10 months ago

First: who cares. The tigers didnt aquire DY to draw walks. They want him to drive em in. That said he might be better hitting 6th with Peralta or Avila coming up finally. Second: they will definately sigh Santiago. Unless someone offers him a deal as a erryday starter. Third: Unavoidable.

JacksTigers
3 years 10 months ago

The thing with DY is that you can’t put him any where but the 3-hole. He is such a free swinger that anybody not named Jose Miguel Torres Cabrera that follows him in the lineup will just give him the oppurtunitey to hit strikes. That’s the problem he ran into with the Twins. They would throw a pitch out and he might swing. Now they throw him strikes and he is hitting well.

3 years 9 months ago

Agree.   He doesn’t need to draw BB’s unless he’s hitting anywhere in the lineup ahead of Cabrera.   But as long as his OBP is this meager, he should not be batting third. 

Along with the 2B and 3B spots needing to be filled, the Tigers need to match them up with two players that can hit in the top three spots in the lineup.   We have the best RBI man in the business, but players hitting ahead of him that hack away like they’ve got the whooping cough.   Speed is no dam good if you don’t get on base.  Get us a couple of guys that can flash the leather in the field and get on base so Miggy can bring em back alive. 

Jay
3 years 10 months ago

Mike Illitch has always said he’ll spend what ever it takes to win, he’s never capped anything. Most, if not all, of those previous bad contracts (D-Train, Sheffield, etc.) were Illitch’s idea, and he’s certainly never reprimanded anyone in the front office for them. He’s getting old and wants a WS title before he pushes daisies, so expect to see at least a small FA splash this off-season, and perhaps a bigger one at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2012. No need to worry about the payroll, Pizza Mike’s got our back.

Jay
3 years 10 months ago

Mike Illitch has always said he’ll spend what ever it takes to win, he’s never capped anything. Most, if not all, of those previous bad contracts (D-Train, Sheffield, etc.) were Illitch’s idea, and he’s certainly never reprimanded anyone in the front office for them. He’s getting old and wants a WS title before he pushes daisies, so expect to see at least a small FA splash this off-season, and perhaps a bigger one at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2012. No need to worry about the payroll, Pizza Mike’s got our back.

gamaize
3 years 10 months ago

Renew Delmon Young for one year, let him prove it for a whole season.

gamaize
3 years 10 months ago

Renew Delmon Young for one year, let him prove it for a whole season.

Pawsdeep
3 years 10 months ago

If the tigers win the central, you all can mark my words that Illitch will allow DD to bump up payroll to the 120-130 mil mark. That would be a bit of a stretch to see it up to 130, but I have no doubt Illitch will allow DD to surpass this year payroll to fill in some holes. I have no doubt we see a 2b via trade or free agency this offseason come to Detroit and maybe a 3b, but I have a horrible feeling that the organization will allow Inge to try and break camp or even worse, rush up Castellanos.

tigers22
3 years 10 months ago

They won’t rush Castellanos up next year, I can promise you that.  Way too big of a jump to take.  I also don’t see them adding a big name, highly priced 3B… I know JacksTigers mentioned Aramis Ramirez above, but I just don’t see it.  2012 will be one more year of Inge/Betemit/Raburn?/some other stopgap until Castellanos is ready.  

weaselpuppy
3 years 10 months ago

I think this is the stand pat offseason after adding so many pieces in season. DY2 and  Raburn are very flawed but will likley be holding down the fort in the LF and UT spots until 2013. Betemit I’d love to see come back, and JL will too, as it gives him flexibilityto use Raburn and Kelly. Betemit may be the UT in 2013 if he comes back on a 2 year deal…maybe 8m? That’d be fine. Inge will go to camp and unless Betemit is not signed, end his Tiger career there in March. He looks cooked. Love ya Brandon but it’s time to go. Dirks as a 4th OF looks to be in the right role The 2012-13 offseason is when we’ll see the spend to get a  a 2b solution (Howie Kendrick in the Placido Polanco Memorial 2b/2 slot position). Slot Boesch in the 3 hole, pick up the option on Peralta and wait for Castellanos late in 2013….and hope the minors produce a LF long term…Fields? Garcia? Collins?

3 years 9 months ago

For our 25 man roster next year, the realization is that we are ALREADY at this years payroll numbers…IF you take the ASSUMPTION that Tim specifies here with regards to picking up Valverde’s option and our 5 arbitration optional players (with the projected salaries Tim specifies here) we are at 99.175 million…but that ONLY accounts for 14 players AND that includes Turner, who is NOT gauranteed to be on the roster (for the sake of argument lets assume he is our #5 starter next year)…IF you add the 9 non-arbitration eligible players most likely to make our team next year…those 9 being in no particular order…Jackson, Avila, Boesch, Fister, Perry, Dirks, Alburquerque, Schlereth, and Pauley; making at or around the league minimums or say average $450K each that is another $4M on the books…that still is just 23 players…keeping Santiago will cost probably $3.5-4 mil for 2 years (he’s a FA coming off a 2 yr $2.5M deal) and you still one more player…..so your at $105+M hoping Turner is your #5 guy…IF he is NOT and you add ANY veteran starter your at $3-5 in addition, most likely, AND you STILL need a guy….For MY money….IF your going to add payroll to the level of 2008-2010 level sign Reyes BAR NONE….the guy is ONLY 28….give him the $20M for 6 or 7…AND you STILL are under $125M and you have your 25 guys…Reyes LEADING OFF would be HUGE HUGE HUGE for us…..I love this Jackson kid but he HAS to work on the strike outs, its KILLING US this post season and anyone denying that is foolish….Besides come 2013 you have $19M coming off your payroll in the form of Inge, Peralta, and Valverde and with Castellanos possible for then you still got flexibilty getting a closer IF Valverde doesn’t make financial sense….having a lineup that is Reyes, Boesch, Young, Cabrera, Martinez, Peralta, Avila, Rayburn, Jackson would be a POWERHOUSE for years to come….When you consider our pitching staff is so young AND gaining valuable experience we could be on the VERGE of something very very promising….