The Tigers have agreed to one-year contracts with relievers Shane Greene and Alex Wilson. The contracts are worth $1.95 million and $1.925 million for 2018. This is Greene’s first year of arbitration and Wilson’s second year.
Greene was relatively reliable out of the bullpen last season, finishing with career bests in nearly every stat. He closed out 2017 with a 2.26 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, nearly 10 strikeouts per
inning nine innings, 26 games finished, and nine saves. He looks to be a bright spot in the ‘pen for 2018 and beyond.
On the other hand, Wilson had his worst season in a Tigers uniform yet in 2017. His ERA was 4.50, he pitched the fewest innings yet (60) but gave up the most runs (34, 30 earned), he gave up over 10 hits and one home run per nine innings. There were bright spots, however: his strikeouts per nine was 6.9 and his strikeout/walk ratio was 2.8, both his best since joining the Tigers. It’s possible he’ll rebound in 2018 and be back to his reliable self.
What this means: This isn’t necessarily Greene and Wilson’s last season in Detroit. While both players technically agreed on one-year deals, Greene is still under club control for three more seasons while Wilson is under control for two more. They and the Tigers will have to negotiate again next offseason, which will likely be for one-year deals as well. This is a common practice with most young players, and the Tigers have never gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since general manager Al Avila entered the organization under former GM Dave Dombrowski.
Is a long-term extension possible? Multi-year deals are possible but it’s rare for young relief pitchers to sign extensions. Teams don’t typically want to commit to largely unproven pitchers past their arbitration years.
Who else will sign these deals? As Patrick outlined, the Tigers have five arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man roster, including Greene and Wilson. Jose Iglesias is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, while Wilson and Nicholas Castellanos are in year two of arbitration. Greene and James McCann are in their first year of arbitration eligibility. Castellanos and Iglesias are the only remaining players who haven’t signed as of Friday afternoon.