The Detroit Tigers’ payroll will be just under $90 million for the 25-man roster entering the 2019-2020 offseason. That figure takes into account two guaranteed contracts for Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann, plus estimates for nine arbitration-eligible players due for salary increases, plus 17 players who will earn near the major league minimum salary and one final installment of $6 million paid to the Texas Rangers for the final season of Prince Fielder’s contract.
That projected figure includes some $38 million coming off the Tigers’ payroll due to trades and expiring contracts. It does not include any players to be acquired during the offseason, nor any players who are arbitration eligible being non-tendered or released.
As of the end of the 2019 season, Cabrera and Zimmermann are the only two players on the roster with guaranteed contracts for 2020, and the only two players who have more than five years of major league experience. The two will combine for $55 million in salary for the 2020 season, with Zimmermann’s $25 million coming off the books after next year. The Tigers currently have no other players due for free agency after the 2020 season.
Detroit Tigers 2020 Payroll Obligations
*Player is eligible for arbitration; salary listed is the projected salary calculated by Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors.
**The Tigers owe one final payment to the Texas Rangers for the final year of Prince Fielder’s contract.
The nine players eligible for arbitration are projected to earn salaries totaling $19.8 million, which represents a total increase of $8.7 million over their respective 2019 paychecks. Some of them may be let go before spring, but they are included in the payroll for now. Niko Goodrum is figured at $675,000, a modest boost from his 2019 salary, and the other 16 pre-arbitration eligible players are calculated at $565,000, which is about the average that the Tigers paid to players in that category in 2019.
The club added $16.2 million in one-year free agent contracts for the 2019 season, all of which are due to expire. Coming off the books are free agents Tyson Ross, Matt Moore, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, and Gordon Beckham, plus Nicholas Castellanos and Shane Greene, who were traded in July. The Tigers also will no longer be on the hook for an $8 million payment to Justin Verlander, who has a new two-year contract with the Houston Astros starting next season. Edwin Jackson and a few other veterans will be free agents, but the Tigers are paying them a prorated share of the minimum salary, which will be paid to their roster replacements.
|Tyson Ross||RHP||$5,750,000||Free Agent|
|Jordy Mercer||SS||$5,250,000||Free Agent|
|Matt Moore||LHP||$2,500,000||Free Agent|
|Josh Harrison||2B||$2,000,000||Free Agent|
|Justin Verlander*||RHP||$8,000,000||New Contract|
|Gordon Beckham||2B||$700,000||Free Agent|
|Mahtook, Mikie||CF||$574,500||Free Agent (MiLB)|
The payroll figure is down from the $115.8 million that was reported by Cot’s Contracts as of Opening Day 2019. As it stands, the sub-$90 million figure would be the lowest that the club has seen since the 2006 season. According to estimates, only three Tigers will be earning over $3 million for the 2020 season.
While the Tigers are not expected to make a big splash in free agency during the offseason, they will likely add some veteran players at a cost to be determined. This could be the third consecutive offseason that payroll has been reduced since topping out at over $200 million in Al Avila’s first two full seasons as general manager of the club in 2016 and 2017.