Arbitration Eligibles: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Many of the Tigers’ top players are headed to arbitration this offseason. The team has a large, expensive class that could shrink if a pair of players are non-tendered.

Three fifths of the Tigers’ rotation heads to arbitration this offseason, and while Fister and Scherzer are extension candidates, Porcello could be traded if the Tigers sign a free agent starter. Fister trails Scherzer by one year in the arbitration process and will end up earning about as much in 2013 as Scherzer did in 2012. Despite their different styles of pitching they’re actually reasonable comps in terms of innings, starts, wins and ERA. If the Tigers extend Fister he’d figure to obtain a deal of at least four years and $30MM. 

It might be more challenging to extend Scherzer. Not only is he a Scott Boras client, he’s one year closer to free agency, and impact starters are always in high demand. Jackson, another Boras client, might also appeal to the Tigers as a long-term answer in center field. 

The circumstances surrounding Detroit’s final extension candidate are unique. Alex Avila’s father, Al Avila, works in the Detroit front office as the team’s assistant GM. As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, most recent extensions for catchers with three-plus years of service end up in the $8-16MM range.

Coke rounds out the Tigers’ arbitration class along with two non-tender candidates. Both Raburn and Boesch struggled at the plate this past season after showing offensive promise earlier in their careers. They could both be non-tendered given their projected salaries in the $2MM range.

If the Tigers tender contracts to Fister, Jackson, Avila, Scherzer, Porcello and Coke, they'll be facing an estimated total of $23.3MM for six players.

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors. To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.


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