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Detroit Tigers’ 2020 roster, service time, options and payroll

Tigers’ payroll is just $37.3 million for the major league roster

Pittsburgh Pirates v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers entered the 2020 baseball season with a payroll of just over $100 million for their 40 man roster, but that is reduced to $37.3 million prorated for 60 games. Add one final $6 million payment for Prince Fielder, bringing the total payroll to $43.3 million. The club will pay about another $1.2 million for payments of $400 per week to minor league players across four levels, not counting rookie leagues.

The Tigers’ 2020 payroll was about $14 million lower than it was on Opening Day in 2019, before salaries were cut to a prorated 37 percent of full value. With guaranteed television revenues from local and national sources and costs fpr player development and stadium operations being reduced, the team will make money in 2020, although not as much as if they had gate receipts and revenue sharing from other MLB clubs.

The Tigers’ 40-man roster features:

  • Eight veteran players with over five years of service time
  • Five players with 3- 5 years in the major leagues
  • Eight players with under 2 years of experience, who are earning minimum salary
  • 22 players with less than a year of experience in the majors
  • 10 of those players with no major league experience

Here is a look at the Tigers’ 2020 roster with service time, options, and salaries.

(Data provided by Cot’s Contracts)

Detroit Tigers 2020 Roster

Player MLB Service Options left Salary/ Prorated 2021 Status
Player MLB Service Options left Salary/ Prorated 2021 Status
Miguel Cabrera 16.101 N/A $30M/ 11.1M FA 2024++
Jordan Zimmermann 10.154 N/A $25M/ 9.25M FA/ IL
Jonathan Schoop 6.027 N/A $6.1M/ 2.26M FA
C.J. Cron 5.097 N/A $6.1M/ 2.26M FA
Matthew Boyd 3.136 0/3 $5.3M/ 1.96M Arb 3 of 4
Austin Romine 6.045 N/A $4.15M/ 1.54M FA
Daniel Norris 4.073 1 / 3 $2.96M/ 1.1M Arb 3 of 3
Michael Fulmer 3.157 2 / 3 $2.08M/ 1.04M Arb 3 of 4
JaCoby Jones 2.125 2 / 3 $1.575M/ 582K Arb 2 of 4
Cameron Maybin 10.059 N/A $1.5M/ 555K FA
Ivan Nova 9.024 N/A $1.5M/ 555K FA
Jordy Mercer 7.095 N/A $1.5M/ 555K FA
Buck Farmer 3.083 0 / 3 $1.15M/ 426K Arb 2 of 3
Niko Goodrum 2.031 3 / 3 $698K/ 258K Arb 2021
Joe Jimenez 2.077 1 / 3 Minimum Arb 2021
Jeimer Candelario 2.038 0 / 3 Minimum Arb 2021
Jose Cisnero 2.012 1 / 3 Minimum Arb 2021
Grayson Greiner 1.102 1 / 3 Minimum
Victor Reyes 1.084 2 / 3 Minimum
Carson Fulmer 1.040 0 / 3 Minimum
Christin Stewart 1.022 2 / 3 Minimum
Spencer Turnbull 1.020 3 / 3 Minimum
Harold Castro 0.141 2 / 3 Minimum
Dawel Lugo 0.130 0 / 3 Minimum
Gregory Soto 0.102 1 / 3 Minimum
Dario Agrazal 0.076 1 / 3 Minimum
Tyler Alexander 0.058 2 / 3 Minimum
John Schreiber 0.035 3 / 3 Minimum
Bryan Garcia 0.029 3 / 3 Minimum
Rony Garcia 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Kyle Funkhouser 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Beau Burrows 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
David McKay 0.071 2 / 3 Minimum
Travis Demeritte 0.060 3 / 3 Minimum
Eric Haase 0.063 1 / 3 Minimum Taxi
Jake Rogers 0.062 3 / 3 Minimum
Willi Castro 0.037 1 / 3 Minimum
Anthony Castro 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum Taxi
Sergio Alcantara 0.000 2 / 3 Minimum
Franklin Perez 0.000 2 / 3 Minimum
Troy Stokes Jr. 0.000 2 / 3 Minimum IL
Daz Cameron 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum IL
Isaac Paredes 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Derek Hill 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum Taxi
Prince Fielder Inactive N/A $6 M Thru 2020
Total 26 man roster $106,592,300
Total prorated payroll $43,256,407
60 Man Player Pool Pos
Tim Adelman P
Nolan Blackwood P
Shao-Ching Chaing P
Alex Faedo P
Zack Hess P
Alex Lange P
Matt Manning P
Casey Mize P
Nick Ramirez P
Tarik Skubal P
Dillon Dingler C
Brady Policelli C
Brandon Dixon UT
Frank Schwindel 1B
Spencer Torkelson 3B
Jorge Bonifacio OF
Riley Greene OF

Players who have been optioned this season have not yet had their option counted in this chart, because they must remain in the minor leagues for 20 days before the option is counted. Look for those numbers to change shortly, and others to be sent down as rosters are pared down to 26 players.

It is noteworthy that injuries have thrown off the roster count, with Jordan Zimmermann on the 45 day injured list (IL), Troy Stokes out for the season with a hand injury- and not included in the 60 man player pool, and COVID casualties Daniel Norris and Daz Cameron still not formally returned to duty. When they return, Cameron will be optioned and another player will have to be removed from the roster to make room for Norris.

The major league roster stands at 30 players. It will be reduced to 28 by August 7th and to 26 by August 21st. There will be no September call ups this season.

Clubs are allowed to take three players on a taxi squad on road trips. One of those must be a catcher, who can also remain with the team in the bullpen during home games. Eric Haase has been designated as the Tigers’ taxi catcher, with outfielder Derek Hill and pitcher Anthony Castro accompanying the team on the road. They will not receive major league service time or salary and are not eligible to play unless they are added to the major league roster due to an injury.

Miguel Cabrera is the only Tiger with a guaranteed salary after the 2020 season, when Jordan Zimmermann and six other recently signed free agents’ contracts are due to expire.

With Prince Fielder’s final payment to the Texas Rangers being made this year, Detroit will have over $50 million coming off the books after this season. That will leave just over $50 million on the payroll heading into next winter, before arbitration increases, non tenders and replacements are added. More than half of that amount is committed to Cabrera.


The Tigers’ roster features a good deal of flexibility, with just twelve players on the roster who can not be sent to the minor leagues without clearing waivers.

A player may be optioned in three seasons in his career without clearing waivers. Only one option is used per season, so once a player on the 40-man roster is sent down, they can be freely moved between the majors and minors (after the requisite 10-day waiting period) several times in a given year. A player must be on optional assignment for at least 20 days to be charged with an option year.

Players with at least five years of major league service time can not be optioned without their consent. Detroit has seven players in that category. Norris is due to reach five years of service time around the first of September, meaning that he can not be optioned without his consent after that point.

Players who have been optioned three times and have no options left include Matthew Boyd, Buck Farmer, Dawel Lugo, and Jeimer Candelario. Those players would have to clear waivers and then be outrighted in order to be sent to the minor leagues.

Candelario and Lugo, in particular, are in a do or die situation. Both are vying for playing time at third base.

Another player who can not be optioned is Rule 5 selection Rony Garcia, who must remain on the major league roster for the entire 2020 season, or put on waivers and offered back to the New York Yankees before the Tigers could send him to the minor leagues — unless, that is, the Tigers work out a trade with the Yankees to acquire his Rule 5 rights and then they could option him.

Seven Tigers have just one option remaining, and some of those will use that this season.


When a player is out of options, he must be taken off the 40-man roster and clear waivers before he can be sent outright to the minor leagues. A player can be outrighted once in his career without his consent. A player who is outrighted for the second time in his career can elect free agency either immediately or after the season.

The Tigers used 32 pitchers and 22 hitters during the 2019 season, so that’s 54 different players who played for Detroit. The 2020 season figures to be more of the same, as the club attempts to sort out which players can stick at the major league level and which will be casualties as the team brings up their next crop of major leaguers.