Detroit Tigers agree to contract with Casey Mize; avoid arbitration
The Detroit Tigers and right-handed pitcher Casey Mize were heading toward an arbitration hearing over a measly $25,000. When the numbers were filed by Mize and his agency (The Bledsoe Agency) and the Tigers, the figures were merely $25,000 apart, but neither side caved, leading to them missing the deadline, so the Tigers were heading for a hearing.
However, on Friday, the Detroit Tigers announced that they had come to terms of a new contract with the former first-overall pick. The deal is only worth $840,000, which is just $75,000 above the league minimum. However, this is the amount Mize had initially requested, whereas the Tigers filed at $815,000 before the deadline.
There's more to the contract than the one-year extension for 2024. The Tigers now have a club option, worth $3.1 million, for the 2025 season to retain Mize, giving him a nice boost in pay. If not, Mize is subject to a $10,000 buyout (paid by the Tigers) and will keep his arbitration-eligible status next year.
For the Tigers, it is a cautious vote of confidence that he can get back on track after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. After all, Mize has not pitched in a big-league game since the beginning of the 2022 season, realistically, having not pitched since 2021, with only 10.0 innings logged in total in 2022 across two starts in the opening weeks of the year.
It's been a long road of recovery for Mize, but he is ready to hit the ground running after undergoing surgery and rehabbing all of last year. Mize was nearing a return in 2023, but the Tigers shut this down after some fatigue seemed to be plaguing Mize, and playing it safe was the smarter option for both Mize's future and the Tigers organization.
But, looking ahead to 2024, Mize has his contract figured out, and "heading to a hearing over $25,000" seems less like a spit-in-the-face move by Detroit than it had initially looked like. He's likely to slot into the middle of the rotation, being the team's two or three if he is healthy enough to get back into game shape.
For Mize, this will be a big Spring Training for him. He's got his contract figured out, and he needs to find his place in the rotation and prove to the organization that he is ready to rock'n'roll once again. It's time for Mize to get to work with pitchers and catchers reporting in the next month or so.