What is the Detroit Tigers payroll this year?

The Tigers are not the big spenders they used to be. How do they shake out against the rest of their MLB competition?
Detroit Tigers chairman and CEO Chris Ilitch and president of baseball operations Scott Harris watch
Detroit Tigers chairman and CEO Chris Ilitch and president of baseball operations Scott Harris watch / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Long gone all the days of late Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch signing off on whatever superstar player Dave Dombrowski thought was a good idea to bring to Comerica Park.

We are now in the days of budget-conscious Chris Ilitch, his won who took over as the face of the ownership following Mike's passing in 2017.

That doesn't mean the team has totally cut out giving out large contracts (though Tigers fans arguably would be quite happy with one of those large contracts having never happened). But they've certainly cut back from the days of excess.

Detroit Tigers Payroll 2024

The Detroit Tigers have an active payroll of $107,934,961, per Spotrac. The active payroll numbers include the injured list, retained payroll, and buried minor league salaries. (That retained total is $8 million to buy out Miguel Cabrera's contract if you're keeping track.)

The Tigers rank 22nd in MLB at that figure, substantially beneath the $164 million league average. They are the second lowest in the AL Central with only the Cleveland Guardians coming in less (at $100.5 million).

What is the Luxury Tax Threshold in MLB?

The Detroit Tigers' luxury-tax payroll totals $117,398,066, per Spotrac. It includes the average annual value plus benefits and minor league salaries (buried or otherwise). That gives the Tigers roughly $120 million of wriggle room beneath the luxury tax treshhood of $237,000,000. Something tells us they probably won't need that.

Who are the most expensive Detroit Tigers contracts in 2024?

The Tigers have just four players whose 2024 salary checks in above $10 million.

Javy Baez, whose contract is an albatross for Detroit at this point, is set to make $25 million. Baez alone makes up 23.5% of the Tigers' payroll. (He has another three years after this coming in at $25 million in 2025 followed by $24 million in 2026 and 2027.)

He's followed by pitcher Jack Flaherty on a one-year, $14 million contract, pitcher Kenta Maeda on a two-year, $24 million contract with $14 million of that this year, and Mark Canha earning $11.5 million on the final year of his deal after coming over from the Mets.

Relief pitcher Andrew Chafin is the fifth-highest-paid player on the team, earning $4.25 million this year. So that's quite a drop.

The good news is, even with the Baez mistake, the Tigers have room to work. They are projected to have just $52 million committed for 2025 and several club options to choose from (including Chafin, Shelby Miller, and Casey Mize).