The Tigers announced this afternoon they’ve agreed to terms with starter Spencer Turnbull on a two-year contract. The deal doesn’t affect his window of club control, but it will prevent the team and player from worrying about arbitration hearings for the next couple seasons. Turnbull will still be arb-eligible in 2024. That’s his final season before hitting free agency.
Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press reports the terms (on Twitter). He’ll make $1.5MM this season, followed by a $2.15MM salary in 2023. The deal also contains $125K in possible performance bonuses for the latter campaign. Prior to the extension, Turnbull had filed for a $2.1MM salary while the club had filed at $1.325MM. The right-hander settles at a figure nearer the team’s asking price this year, but he’ll see a bump towards his desired number for the following campaign.
In all likelihood, Turnbull wouldn’t have been in position to net much of a raise next winter had he proceeded through arbitration. The 29-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery last July. He has expressed optimism this spring about returning to the big leagues late in the season, but a best-case scenario would probably see him back in short stints for the final few weeks of the year.
The forearm tightness that necessitated that procedure marked an unfortunate end to what had been shaping up as a productive season. Through nine starts, Turnbull owned a 2.88 ERA. His 21.9% strikeout rate was a couple ticks below average, but he racked up ground-balls at a huge 57.2% clip in that time. It was the second straight productive season for Turnbull, who posted a 3.97 ERA in 56 2/3 frames during the condensed 2020 season.
For the upcoming season, Detroit looks likely to rely on Eduardo Rodríguez, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning and Michael Pineda as the starting five. Wily Peralta and Tyler Alexander are the top depth options thereafter for manager A.J. Hinch. If healthy, Turnbull will certainly return to the rotation in 2023.