Over the last two days, the Detroit Tigers have signed all of Rick Porcello, Phil Coke, Don Kelly, Delmon Young, and Max Scherzer to one-year deals, thus avoiding arbitration with all of their players with enough service time to qualify. This was a fairly predictable outcome, as Tigers’ general manager Dave Dombrowski has yet to have a player go to an arbitration hearing since he took over for Randy Smith in 2002.
It appears Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report the salaries for the three most recent deals; to Kelly, who will make $900,000, Young, now the club’s fifth-highest paid player, who will get $6.75 million, and Scherzer, who will earn $3.75 million plus performance bonuses.
Matt Swartz, who developed a very nice system for projecting arbitration salaries, had these five pegged to earn $16.5 million combined if their salaries were to be determined by an arbitrator. Judging by his model, the Tigers slightly overpaid for Kelly and Young while getting discounts on the others. If their reported salaries are all correct, the five will actually earn a total of $15.6 million with potential additions due to conditional bonuses.
The Tigers now have $104.575 million committed to 17 players for the 2012 season (detailed contract information is available at to Cot’s Baseball Contracts). Salary figures for players not yet eligible for arbitration, including Alex Avila and Doug Fister among other key players, have yet to be announced. Those players must all earn at least the league minimum, which is $480,000 for 2012. Teams have all the leverage in so-called negotiations with such players, so none of them will earn much more than the aforementioned minimum unless they are given long-term deals.
All that considered, as figured by our friend Kurt Mensching over at Bless You Boys, Detroit’s opening day roster will cost somewhere around $108.5 million barring further changes, up from just under $107 million (according to Cot’s) last year.