Currently moving in free-agency and pre-arbitration the 2016 payroll is already at a whopping $111.8 million dollars and that’s before guys like J.D. Martinez and Jose Iglesias get their salary bumps, along with 3 others heading to arbitration.
Most of that money is tied up in Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander who are both due $28mm each, followed by $18mm going to Victor, $16.8mm to Anibal, and $14mm to Kinsler. Plus don’t forget, we’re paying $6mm for Prince Fielder and $1mm for the Joe Nathan buyout.
That’s not half of it though…the 2017 payroll is only slightly down with $107.8mm tied up in contract with all the players mentioned above earning the same amount except for Ian Kinsler who will be at $11mm, but you’ll be able to add 6 more players to the arbitration discussion.
2018 must be better right? Not really, the Tigers at this point have $96mm tied up in contracts between Cabrera, Verlander, with team options on both Ian Kinsler and Anibal Sanchez. Don’t forget that Prince Fielder is still part of this payroll either.
In 2019, we start to see some relief with just JV and Miggy under contract at $64mm to go with the $6mm for Prince.
For 2020, we just have Miggy under contract at $30mm and finally out from under the Prince Fielder contract with just $30mm in contracts, although JV does have a vesting option.
So in short…
2016 – $111.8mm
2017 – $107.8mm
2018 – $96mm
2019 – $64mm
2020 – $30mm
With these figures, I think we can expect contracts to be for less years and probably not over paying for that, so attracting really only second tier free agents