The Detroit Tigers have been one of the highest spending team in terms of payroll over the last few years. They have spent north of 100 million dollars in each of the past five seasons. The Tigers payroll has been as low as 106 million in 2011, and right around 140 million for 2012 when we factor in the half year earning of Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. With a lot of the supporting cast not under contract, and significant upgrades needed the question becomes how much will the Tigers spend on payroll in 2013?
Jose Valverde, Delmon Young, and Don Kelly are gone and Gerald Laird will likely join them. That saves the team 17.65 million dollars in salary. However, since the team is looking to resign SP Anibal Sanchez it seems likely he will get 10-15 million a year on a long term deal. Since the Tigers will also likely need to add a front line closer we can argue that these departures will not offer the club any payroll relief.
Complicating matters are group of Tigers players who are due big raises. Austin Jackson, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Alex Avila are all arbitration eligible and are all due significant pay increases over they 5.27 million they made combined for 2012. Some estimates have the resigning of these players costing as much as 15 million dollars per season.
At some point General Manger Dave Dombrowski will off set the high salaries of this team’s established stars with younger players from within the organization. That cost cutting might start with Rick Porcello. Porcello is arbitration eligible and is also likely due a significant raise. If The Tigers resign Sanchez they may look to a youngster, such as Drew Smyly, to be this team’s fifth starter.
Without Porcello, the team saves the 3.1 million the paid him in 2012 and the likely five million overall he would demand on the market. Add that to the likely departures of Ryan Raburn and Brennan Boesch and the club saves another 2.6 in 2012 salary and likely three to four million in payroll increases for those players. Those saving likely pay for a corner outfielder upgrade.
As it stands now the Tigers have nine players under contract for 2013 at a total cost of 98.2 million dollars. It seems a very safe bet that the final 2013 payroll figure will be significantly higher than the 2012 one.