The Detroit Tigers settled five of their six potential arbitration cases yesterday with the announcement that they had signed Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Austin Jackson, Andy Dirks, and Al Alburquerque each to one-year contracts, but we have not yet received word that the team and catcher Alex Avila have agreed to terms.
Yesterday’s deadline wasn’t a drop-dead date of any sort, but if a contract agreement wasn’t reached by noon, the player and team had to exchange the salary figures that they would be submitting ahead of a potential arbitration hearing. The Tigers and Avila did just that.
Alex Avila filed for $5.35 million in arbitration. #Tigers countered with $3.75 million offer.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) January 18, 2014
Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers have a long history of not going to arbitration with their players, so odds are that this will get settled before a hearing takes place, but the two sides are more than a million and a half dollars apart right now.
MLB Trade Rumors’ initial estimate for Alex Avila was $3.7 million, which is basically exactly what the Tigers offered. It’s not uncommon for teams and players to agree on a deal right in the middle of the two filing numbers — $4.55 million in this case — but the Tigers may feel that they’ve already submitted a more-than-fair offer. If the case goes all the way to arbitration, the arbitrator must select either Avila’s $5.35 million submission or the Tigers’ $3.75 million counter. If the MLB Trade Rumors formula (which is based on historical arbitration deals) can be trusted by any reasonable amount, then the Tigers appear to stand a very good chance of winning the case (which would be heard in February).
But I still doubt it gets that far. I’m guessing an arbitration-avoiding deal gets reached in the coming days with Avila getting something right around $4 million.