The Detroit Tigers will start the 2021 baseball season with a payroll of just over $79 million for their opening day roster, and $96.1 million for the 40 man roster, including player benefits. Those numbers are down from $107 and $114 million in 2020, respectively. After pro-rating salaries for the shortened season, the Tigers paid just $43.3 million last year for the major league roster.
Detroit shed $44.85 million from their payroll at the end of the 2020 season, and another $6 million for their final payment to Prince Fielder for gross savings of $50 million, year over year. The club spent $16.5 million on major league free agents during the off-season, and some increases for arbitration-eligible players, yielding a net savings of $28 million. Tigers’ payroll now ranks 24th of the 30 major league teams for the 2021 season.
The Tigers’ 40-man roster features:
- Seven players with at least five years of service time
- Nine players with 3-5 years in the major leagues
- Ten players on the 26 man roster with under 2 years of experience, earning minimum salary
- 16 players on the 40 man roster with less than a year of experience in the majors
- Seven of those players with no major league experience
- Matthew Boyd’s $6.5 million salary is the second-highest on the roster
- Robbie Grossman is the first player signed by Detroit to a multi-year contract since 2016
- Isaac Paredes is the youngest Tiger on the 40 man roster, having turned 22 in February
Here is a look at the Tigers’ 2021 roster with service time, options, and salaries.
(Data provided by Cot’s Contracts)
Detroit Tigers’ 2021 Roster, Payroll, Options, Service Time
|Player||MLB Service||Options left||Salary||2022 Status|
|Player||MLB Service||Options left||Salary||2022 Status|
|Cabrera, Miguel||17.101||3 / 3||$30,000,000||$32,000,000|
|Boyd, Matt||4.136||0 / 3||$6,500,000||Arb 4|
|Grossman, Robbie||6.060||0 / 3||$5,000,000||$5,000,000|
|Schoop, Jonathan||7.027||2 / 3||$4,500,000||Free Agent|
|Norris, Daniel||5.073||1 / 3||$3,475,000||Free Agent|
|Urena, Jose||5.040||0 / 3||$3,250,000||Free Agent|
|Fulmer, Michael||4.157||2 / 3||$3,100,000||Arb 4|
|Candelario, Jeimer||3.038||0 / 3||$2,850,000||Arb 2|
|Jones, JaCoby||3.125||2 / 3||$2,650,000||Arb 3|
|Goodrum, Niko||3.031||3 / 3||$2,100,000||Arb 2|
|Ramos, Wilson||10.047||1 / 3||$2,000,000||Free Agent|
|Farmer, Buck||4.083||0 / 3||$1,850,000||Arb 3|
|Mazara, Nomar||5.000||3 / 3||$1,750,000||Free Agent|
|Jimenez, Joe||3.077||1 / 3||$1,500,000||Arb 2|
|Cisnero, Jose||3.020||1 / 3||$970,000||Arb 2|
|Reyes, Victor||2.084||2 / 3||Minimum||Arb 1|
|Greiner, Grayson||2.083||1 / 3||Minimum||Arb 1|
|Turnbull, Spencer||2.020||3 / 3||Minimum||Arb 1|
|Stewart, Christin||1.164||2 / 3||Minimum||Arb 1|
|Castro, Harold||1.141||2 / 3||Minimum||Arb 1|
|Soto, Gregory||1.102||1 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Alexander, Tyler||1.058||2 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Garcia, Bryan||1.029||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Garcia, Rony||1.000||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Baddoo, Akii||0.000||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Burrows, Beau||0.061||2 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Cameron, Daz||0.053||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Castro, Willi||0.170||1 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Faedo, Alex||0.000||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Funkhouser, Kyle||0.136||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Hill, Derek||0.072||2 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Lange, Alex||0.000||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Manning, Matt||0.000||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Mize, Casey||0.111||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Paredes, Isaac||0.117||2 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Perez, Franklin||0.000||1 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Rogers, Jake||0.062||2 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Short, Zack||0.000||2 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Skubal, Tarik||0.114||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
|Wentz, Joey||0.000||3 / 3||Minimum||Minimum|
Major league minimum salary is $570,500 in 2021
The Tigers’ roster features a good deal of flexibility, with just ten 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, and Michael Fulmer is due to reach five years of service time in May, 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 Buck Farmer, Matthew Boyd, and Jeimer Candelario. Those players would have to clear waivers and then be outrighted in order to be sent to the minor leagues.
Akil Baddoo also can not be optioned as a Rule 5 selection who must remain on the major league roster for the entire 2021 season, or put through waivers and offered back to the Minnesota Twins before the Tigers could send him to the minor leagues — unless the Tigers work out a trade with the Twins to acquire his Rule 5 rights and then they could option him.
Players optioned this spring will not have their option counted until they remain in the minor leagues for 20 days. Those numbers will change shortly after opening day, and about a dozen players will be sent down as rosters are pared down to 26 players. A few others will start the season on the injured list, accruing major league pay and service time.
Eight Tigers have just one option remaining, and some of those will burn 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 had the third-youngest average age on their roster in 2020, behind only the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres. We’ll have to see which players make the opening day roster to know if they’ve found the fountain of youth.