Harris: Tigers will ‘aggressively’ pursue contract extensions when situation is right

Detroit News

St. Petersburg, Fla. – The San Diego Padres and former University of Michigan infielder Jake Cronenworth agreed on Friday to an seven-year contract extension worth $80 million. It was the 29th contract extension given to players since the beginning of 2022.

It makes you wonder where Tigers’ president Scott Harris stands on the issue.

Turns out, he’s in favor of them – generally speaking. When the time is right and when there are players deserving and desirous.

“We want to be an organization that players want to play for,” he said. “We want players to want to be here and to be here for a long time. But we have to do our part to create that type of organization and we have to have players that are deserving of the extension.

“It is a tricky balance.”

With a multi-million dollar investment in the organization’s infrastructure by chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch – an investment that runs the gamut from player development, sports science, medical and athletic training, to clubhouse and stadium renovations and upgrades – the Tigers are well on their way to creating an attractive environment for players.

Several new Tigers, pitchers Chasen Shreve and Michael Lorenzen, as well as position players Matt Vierling and Nick Maton, have praised the club’s advances in biometrics and analytics and the attending technology.

“We are fortunate to have an owner like Chris who is committed to investing in the players, the systems and the infrastructure that can help us get this right,” Harris said. “He’s done a lot that you know about and he’s done a lot that you don’t know about.”

The point of all the upgrades is, as Harris said, to get the best out of the players and make Detroit a place players want to come and stay.

But coming soon, Harris is going to be confronted with a batch of significant players hitting their arbitration years. Typically, clubs will offer players a contract extension that takes them through their arbitration years. The Padres paid Cronenworth $4.2 million this offseason to avoid his first year of arbitration and then extended him for another seven years, giving him security into his 30s and giving the club a little bit of payroll stability.

Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Spencer Turnbull, key members of the rotation, are eligible for salary arbitration in 2024; Maton and Vierling in 2025; Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, Joey Wentz and Garrett Hill in 2026.

Extension candidates?

“We’re always open to extending players that want to be in Detroit for a long time,” Harris said. “We’re going to try to be aggressive with that when we identify worthy candidates moving forward. It is something that has crossed our minds, but nothing actionable so far.”

Twitter@cmccosky  

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