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Tigers avoid arbitration with Shane Greene, settle at $4 million per report

Greene was projected to earn $4.8 million by MLB Trade Rumors heading into the offseason.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers and Shane Greene have agreed on a contract for the 2019 season, according to Robert Murray of The Athletic. Greene will earn $4 million this year, doubling his $1.95 million salary from 2018.

If there is a surprise here, it’s that Greene’s actual salary is much lower than what he was projected to earn. Matt Swartz (via MLB Trade Rumors) projected that Greene would get $4.8 million for 2019. The Tigers have historically settled at or slightly above Swartz’s projections with their arbitration-eligible players.

Greene’s salary could be noteworthy because there is concern that the Tigers’ longstanding streak of avoiding arbitration hearings could be snapped in 2019.

Those discussions have included [legal counsel John] Westhoff, but he stepped into an advisory role this offseason after 16 seasons as the team’s baseball counsel. He’ll continue to give advice, Avila said, but the bulk of the arbitration work is now being handled by baseball operations director Sam Menzin, who worked closely with Westhoff in recent years, as well as associate counsel Alan Avila and the analytics team led by Jay Sartori. Like Westhoff, Sartori has experience with negotiations from his previous job at Major League Baseball, which included collective bargaining.

On one hand, I’ll believe that the streak is in jeopardy when they actually make it to an arbitration hearing. The club has had a lot of success by paying fair value (or slightly above projections) to avoid hearings, which can get ugly at times, and Westhoff is still in the picture. On the other hand, multiple beat writers have run with this story in the past week, and where there’s smoke, there is sometimes fire.

Here are the salary projections for Detroit’s remaining arbitration candidates (MLB service time is in parentheses).

  • Nicholas Castellanos (5.029) – $11.3 million
  • Michael Fulmer (2.157) – $3.0 million
  • Matthew Boyd (2.136) – $3.0 million
  • Daniel Norris (3.073) -$1.4 million
  • Blaine Hardy (3.108) – $1.2 million