The organization plans to non-tender Boyd ahead of Tuesday’s 8 p.m. deadline, meaning he will become a free agent, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press on Sunday night. He was projected to receive $7.3 million in his final year of salary arbitration.
Had Boyd not injured his elbow, a lot of things could be different.
He had flexor tendon surgery in late September, which is expected to keep him out until June or July. The uncertainties surrounding Boyd’s health caused the Tigers to feel uneasy about that potential arbitration award.
Boyd, who turns 31 in February, made 15 starts in 2021. He posted a 3.89 ERA with 23 walks and 67 strikeouts over 78⅔ innings.
“I’m not going to get into it at this point, because there is a decision to be made on our part,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Oct. 3. “Eventually, there’ll be a decision to be made on his part, if that gets to that point. It’s going to be a two-way thing here for us.”
In 2015, the Tigers acquired Boyd at the July trade deadline (with lefty Daniel Norris) from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for future AL Cy Young-winning pitcher David Price, who spent approximately a year in Detroit.
For the Tigers, Boyd appeared in 149 games (145 starts) over his seven seasons. He was the Tigers’ Opening Day starter in each of the past two seasons. He finished with a 4.96 ERA and 759 strikeouts in 784⅓ innings.
Now that the Tigers have made their decision about Boyd, they’ll need to do so for nine more players: Jeimer Candelario, Michael Fulmer, Jose Cisnero, Joe Jimenez, Spencer Turnbull, Dustin Garneau, Harold Castro, Victor Reyes and Grayson Greiner.
Players on the 40-man roster with fewer than six years of MLB service time must be tendered contracts each winter. If a player isn’t granted a contract, he is considered non-tendered and becomes a free agent.
For a player to be arbitration-eligible, he must have accrued three or more years of MLB service (or earn Super Two status). Arbitration-eligible players with tendered contracts have until Jan. 14 to negotiate salaries with their team. If the two sides can’t agree, an arbitration hearing will be scheduled in February.
The tender deadline, initially scheduled for Dec. 2, was moved up to Tuesday ahead of the likely lockout by MLB owners, which would freeze transactions, upon the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
The CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 1.