On Thursday, the Detroit Tigers agreed to salary terms for the 2024 baseball season with three players who were eligible for arbitration. The deadline for players and clubs to come to an agreement was 1:00 p.m. with an 8:00 p.m. deadline to exchange figures in advance of arbitration hearings, and so the evening was filled with announcements as several players came to terms with the club.
The Tigers players agreeing to salaries were:
Tarik Skubal, $2.65 M (projected 2.6M)
Jake Rogers $1.7M, (projected $2.0M)
Akil Baddoo $1.55 M (projected $1.7M)
Casey Mize, who is projected to receive $1.2 million, had not agreed to terms by the deadline, so the two sides submitted salary figures. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Tigers offered $815,000, which is just $75,000 above the minimum salary, while Mize had requested $840,000.
Fighting with Mize over $25,000 seems remarkably petty, by the way. Not sure what the motivation is for the Tigers to fight over a completely insignificant sum with a pitcher they’re still hoping to have in their rotation for the next three seasons at least.
Here’s the complete list of arbitration eligible players who didn’t come to terms yet. They won’t necessarily all go to an arbitration hearing.
In total, 23 arbitration-eligible players did not reach terms on a contract and are seemingly headed for a trial. Deals still could be worked out, either for one year or long-term. Here is the full list of players, their requested salaries and teams' requested salaries. pic.twitter.com/M3gBan7Huv— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 12, 2024
Clubs and players can agree on terms up to the time of their hearings, but more clubs, including the Tigers, have adopted a file and trial approach once they submit their salary offers, meaning they won’t be negotiating unless they can agree on a multi year contract, which seems unlikely given Mize’s recent injury track record and overall mediocre performance. However, the difference here is so tiny perhaps the Tigers will come to their senses on this one and get it done in principle, to avoid any potential hard feelings.
The projected salaries are compiled by Matt Swartz and published on MLBtraderumors.com every season, and cited widely by baseball sites, including BYB.
The Tigers shed four other arbitration eligible players from the roster earlier this winter when they non tendered or released Austin Meadows, Spencer Turnbull, Tyler Alexander and Trey Wingenter. Of the group, only Wingenter later agreed to a minor league contract with the Tigers.
Alexander was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays, and avoided arbitration by agreeing to a contract which was expected to be in the $2 million range for 2024. Wingenter was resigned by Detroit to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, while Turnbull and Meadows are still free agents.
Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, the fact that the players agreed to terms without going to arbitration means that their one year contracts are guaranteed, which they would not be if their case went to a hearing.
For players who do not come to terms with their teams, the two sides exchanged salary proposals by 8 PM ET, and arbitration hearings are scheduled beginning in early February and continuing for over two weeks. Pitchers normally go first. A panel of three arbitrators, with a background in labor negotiations will hear evidence from agents and clubs, and choose one number or the other.
The Tigers have a track record of avoiding arbitration hearings, and the bitterness that often comes with them. The only Tiger to actually have a hearing was pitcher Michael Fulmer, who lost his arbitration case in 2019.
With just over a month before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, Detroit’s Opening Day roster payroll is projected to come in at about $98 million, ranking 23rd of MLB’s 30 teams and some $24 million lower than the 2023 figure of $122,235,500. The Tigers will also pay $8 million for Miguel Cabrera’s 2024 option buyout.