Detroit Tigers: Updates on Arbitration
Four Detroit Tigers are eligible for arbitration and hopefully, they all want to avoid it. Those Tigers include Andrew Romine, J.D. Martinez, Jose Iglesias, and a brand new Tiger, Justin Wilson. The Tigers have already come to agreements with two of the four, Romine and Wilson. The remaining two Tigers could take slightly more time, if they cannot agree on terms by the end of Friday.
The new relief pitcher, Justin Wilson, was the first Tiger to avoid arbitration. He and the Tigers agreed to a contract worth $1.525 million for one year. This is a significant raise from the $556,000 he earned in 2015 with his former team, the New York Yankees. He faced 244 batters, striking out 66 with an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.131. He earned a 1.4 WAR in 2015.
Andrew Romine and the Tigers also came to an agreement. Thursday, he agreed to $900,000 for one year. Romine has been an infield utility player with the Tigers since 2014. In his two years with Detroit he hit .239/.291/.583 and has a WAR of 1.8. He hit a total of four home runs and he has 27 RBIs with the Tigers. He earned $520,000 in 2015.
Now that these two players are signed for the season, the focus turns to Iglesias and Martinez. In order to avoid arbitration meetings, the Tigers, Martinez, and Iglesias need to share their contract wishes by Friday so they can continue to negotiate. If the camps cannot come to an agreement, then the negotiation moves on to actual arbitration, with an official arbitrator.
The actual process of arbitration is rather unpleasant for all of the parties involved. The goal of the process is to select a salary, but the process seems more like a hearing about the player’s flaws. If a settlement cannot be reached and arbitration occurs, both parties send their desired salary to arbitrators who sit on an independent panel. Shortly after the salaries are delivered, hearings occur. This is where the team discusses why the player should receive a certain salary. The player is compared to other players who have similar statistics as a way to show that the player is not worth the salary he has suggested.
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The rules forbid the arbitrator to split the difference; one salary figure must be selected. This means that one side loses the arbitration and one side wins it. This entire process can create communication issues between players and teams, so most try to stay away from it. From interviews during the Winter Meetings, Al Avila shared that he and Mike Ilitch are dedicated to keeping Martinez and Iglesias on the team; so hopefully, they will make an offer that both camps will find acceptable. Since Ilitch tends to be a generous owner, odds are good that both will have extended contracts with good value.