Detroit Tigers Arbitration FAQ
If we had to guess when the 2023 season ended, most wouldn't say that the Detroit Tigers would be one of the most active teams of the offseason. The Tigers have made five additions in the past few months through trade or free agent signing, the last of which was Shelby Miller, who they signed a few days before Christmas. They spent $45.75 million on four of them, and traded for Mark Canha. Though things have slowed down, the Tigers will still have money decisions to make as the deadline to offer salary numbers to arbitration-eligible players nears.
No one wants to go into arbitration. The basic premise of the whole idea is that teams have to argue why they believe a player isn't worth what he thinks he is. It usually doesn't end well for players and can lead to hurt feelings, but if a player's camp really believes that they can milk more money out a team, they have the right to do so. Here's everything you need to know about the Tigers and arbitration this offseason.
When is the MLB arbitration deadline?
The deadline for both teams and players to submit initial salary figures to avoid arbitration is Thursday, Jan 11 at 1 PM EST, moved from Friday, Jan. 12. If they can't agree, they go to a neutral arbitration panel in late January to early February to argue their cases. Last year, the Tigers avoided arbitration ahead of the deadline with two out of four players, the exceptions being pitchers José Cisnero and Rony García, who eventually agreed to contracts before they had to go to hearings.
Historically, panels have largely taken teams' sides in arbitration hearings. Last year, 19 players went into hearings and only six won. Corbin Burnes walked away from his arbitration case with the Brewers last year feeling like his relationship with the team had been damaged. The Tigers haven't gone to a hearing since Michael Fulmer, who eventually lost, escalated things in 2019 and that was their first since 2001.
Which Detroit Tigers players are eligible for arbitration?
The Tigers have four players who are eligible for arbitration this year, down from eight after they decided not to tender contracts to Austin Meadowes and Spencer Turnbull, DFA'ed Tyler Alexander, and re-signed Trey Wingenter to a minor league contract. Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, Jake Rogers, and Akil Baddoo remain for the Tigers to come to agreements with. Three are in their first year of regular eligibility, while Baddoo is Super Two eligible for the first time, meaning that he became eligible for arbitration ahead of the usual three-year requirement based on being in a top percentage of MLB service time.
What are the projected salaries for the Detroit Tigers' arbitration-eligible players?
MLB Trade Rumors has projected figures for all of the league's arb-eligible players. Arbitration figures can be a little bit of a crapshoot, so we won't know what numbers the team lands on until official announcements. Here are the estimated salaries for the Tigers' arbitration eligible players:
Tarik Skubal: $2.6 million
Casey Mize: $1.2 million
Jake Rogers: $2 million
Akil Baddoo: $1.7 million
Given that all of these players are arb-eligible for the first time this offseason, they're expecting pretty significant raises. They were all making around $740,000 in the years before, just $20,000 above league minimum. Tarik Skubal will deservedly receive the most money after 80 1/3 great innings for the Tigers in 2023. The raise will also reflect the Tigers' expectations for him going into 2024, as he could be their Opening Day starter.
Casey Mize might be receiving more if it weren't for the fact that he was hurt for all of 2023. His still notable hike is an indicator of the solid 150 1/3 inning, 3.71 ERA year he had in 2021 before he got hurt. Although he'll be innings-limited, there are a lot of expectations for him to come through in a big way for the Tigers rotation as well in the coming season.