Detroit Tigers could conceivably spend more in free agency as a rebuilding team

Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 30: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning of a game at Coors Field on August 30, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

New-found financial flexibility

If the Tigers make free agents signings this offseason, the team will do so with much more financial flexibility than they’ve operated with in the past.

The words “Detroit Tigers” and “financial flexibility” haven’t been uttered in the same sentence for quite some time.

That’s what happens when a team operates with a sky-high payroll and accommodates the acquisitions of some pricey veteran performers.

However, things are starting to come back to earth for Detroit from a financial standpoint.

Traded contracts

The team got out of J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila’s expiring contracts at the July trade deadline.

The same deadline also saw the team move Justin Wilson, who is likely in for a hefty pay raise via arbitration this offseason.

There was also the deals to move Justins Upton and Verlander.

We’ll start with Upton, who per Spotrac can opt out of the final four years of his contract this winter. Four years that will pay him $22.125 million per season.

It remains to be seen whether the outfielder opts out or not. However, that’s not the Tigers’ financial concern any more.

In other money-saving news, the Tigers are reportedly sending some money to Houston in the Verlander trade to help pay down the ace’s salary.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted about deal on September 1:

"“The #Tigers, who will pay $8 million a year for the next two seasons to the #Astros, also will send a player back to Houston as part of deal.”"

Considering that Verlander is making $28 million per season (according to Spotrac) over the next two years, that’s a savings of $40 million for Detroit.

Throw in Sanchez’s potential buy out to go along with money owed to Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Francisco Rodriguez coming off the books and the Tigers will have much more cash to work with.

Next: These Tigers could be the next to be traded

That cash will help the team find some short-term veteran fits who can hold down positions until Detroit’s next generation of standout players are ready to take over.