2024 Detroit Tigers’ payroll, options and roster information

Bless You Boys

The Detroit Tigers enter the 2024 season with an overhauled roster that will be without nine of their ten highest paid players from the 2023 Opening Day roster. Those ten players also had the most major league service time on the roster, with only Javier Baez returning.

Gone are Miguel Cabrera, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jonathan Schoop, Matthew Boyd, Michael Lorenzen, Austin Meadows, Jose Cisnero, Spencer Turnbull, Tyler Alexander, and Chasen Shreve. With them, some $84 million is slashed from a payroll that totaled $123 million on opening day, 2023.

While that cast of veterans departed, the core group of young players that has begun to emerge in the major leagues remains, poised to take over a team that finished the 2023 season in second place, albeit in a weak American League Central division.

All that being said, the Tigers began their transition from those now dearly departed veterans to a group of young players who form the core of their future. This season that process should really accelerate as the organization’s player development has emerged as one of the better groups around the game.

Before any off season additions, the “veterans” among the returning players included Tarik Skubal- now the ace of the starting rotation, catcher Jake Rogers, Casey Mize who has pitched just 10.1 innings over the past two seasons, and Akil Baddoo, who is the odd man out in a newly crowded outfield. Those were the only arbitration eligible players remaining after the roster shakeup following the ‘23 season.

The Tigers supplemented their roster during the off season, adding free agents Kenta Maeda and Jack Flaherty to the starting pitching rotation, Andrew Chafin and Shelby Miller to the bullpen, and Mark Canha and Gio Urshela to the lineup. Carson Kelly, who was acquired during the ‘23 season also returns as the backup backstop. Notably, only Maeda has a guaranteed contract while two others have club options for the 2025 season.

These seven new players will be paid $52.3 million in 2024. With arbitration increases, the Tigers active payroll for 2024 comes in at just over $103 million, or about $20 million lower than it was one year ago. There is also an $8 million payment to buy out Miguel Cabrera’s option.

Following is a chart showing each player on the 40 man roster, with their position, age, service time, options remaining, salary, and contract status for 2024.

2024 Detroit Tigers’ Roster, Payroll, Salary, and Options

PLAYER AGE SERVICE OPTIONS 2024 SALARY 2025
PLAYER AGE SERVICE OPTIONS 2024 SALARY 2025
Báez, Javier 31 8.089 2 / 3 $25,000,000 $25.000
Flaherty, Jack 28 6.006 2 / 3 $14,000,000 FA
Maeda, Kenta 36 8.000 3 / 3 $14,000,000 $10.000
Canha, Mark 35 8.092 2 / 3 $11,500,000 FA
Chafin, Andrew 34 9.020 2 / 3 $4,250,000 $0.500*
Kelly, Carson 28 5.161 1 / 3 $3,500,000 FA
Miller, Shelby 33 8.016 2 / 3 $3,000,000 $0.250*
Keith, Colt 22 0.000 3 / 3 $2,833,333 $3.833
Skubal, Tarik 27 3.114 3 / 3 $2,650,000 Arb 2
Rogers, Jake 29 3.040 2 / 3 $1,700,000 Arb 2
Baddoo, Akil 25 2.119 2 / 3 $1,550,000 Arb 2
Urshela, Gio 32 6.127 0 / 3 $1,500,000
Mize, Casey 27 3.111 3 / 3 $830,000 $0.010*
Lange, Alex 28 2.112 3 / 3 $760,600 Arb 1
Díaz, Miguel 29 2.163 0 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Vest, Will 29 2.100 2 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
McKinstry, Zach 29 2.099 1 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Manning, Matt 26 2.098 3 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Foley, Jason 28 2.033 3 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Vierling, Matt 27 2.026 1 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Ibáñez, Andy 31 1.170 2 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Brieske, Beau 26 1.166 3 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Torkelson, Spencer 24 1.137 2 / 3 Minimum Arb 1
Greene, Riley 23 1.110 3 / 3 Minimum
Carpenter, Kerry 26 1.057 3 / 3 Minimum
Holton, Tyler 27 1.045 2 / 3 Minimum
Englert, Mason 24 1.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Dingler, Dillon 25 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Faedo, Alex 28 0.169 1 / 4 Minimum
Flores, Wilmer De Jesus 23 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Gipson-Long, Sawyer 26 0.022 3 / 3 Minimum
Kennedy, Buddy 24 0.096 1 / 3 Minimum
Kreidler, Ryan 26 0.051 2 / 3 Minimum
Leonard, Eddys 23 0.000 1 / 3 Minimum
Meadows, Parker 24 0.042 2 / 3 Minimum
Montero, Keider 23 0.000 3 / 3 Minimum
Olson, Reese 24 0.123 2 / 3 Minimum
Pérez, Wenceel 24 0.000 2 / 3 Minimum
Wentz, Joey 26 0.166 0 / 3 Minimum
White, Brendan 25 0.111 2 / 3 Minimum

Source: Cot’s Contracts

Salaries

Notes-

  • The major league minimum salary is $740,000 for the 2024 season. That’s an increase of $20,000 from 2023, and there will be annual increases of $20,000 through the end of the current collective bargaining agreement in 2026.
  • Casey Mize has a club option for the 2025 season worth $3.1 million, with a $10,000 buyout. If the option is declined, he will be eligible again for arbitration.
  • Shelby Miller has a club option for $4.25 M for ‘25, with a $250,000 buyout. The price of the option may increase based on games pitched and games finished.
  • Andrew Chafin has a club option for $6.25 million for the 2025 season, with a $500,000 buyout. He also has performance bonuses up to $1.3 million based on game appearances.
  • Out of Options: Joey Wentz, Zach McKinstry, and Miguel Diaz are out of options, so they would have to clear waivers before they could be sent to the minors.
  • In addition, any player with five seasons of major league service time can not be optioned without their consent.
  • The salaries of each player with five years of service and those who were arbitration eligible this season are all fully guaranteed for the season.
  • In a final purge of potentially larger salaries, in relative terms, the Tigers outrighted Trey Wingenter, who was the lone million dollar man remaining after the ‘23 season, other than Baez, and resigned him to a minor league contract. They also traded arb eligible Nick Maton and released Eric Haase.

Options

A player may be optioned in three seasons in his career without clearing waivers. Only one option is used per season, so once a player on the 40-man roster is sent down, they can be freely moved between the majors and minors (after the requisite 10-day waiting period) up to five times in a given season. A player must be on optional assignment for at least 20 days to be charged with an option year.

With only three of the returning group of players being out of options, the club will have plenty of roster flexibility throughout the season to move players up and down from the minor leagues. For the time being, the 40 man roster is full, subject to any final moves prior to opening day.

Players with at least five years of major league service time can’t be optioned without their consent. Detroit has eight players who have reached the five year milestone.

There are eleven Tigers who can not be sent to the minor leagues without clearing waivers. Those are the eight players with at least five years of service time, as well as Diaz, McKinstry and Wentz.

Players optioned this spring will not have their option counted until they remain in the minor leagues for 20 days. Those numbers will change shortly for those players unless they are called up to Detroit.

Outright Assignment

When a player is out of options, he must be taken off the 40-man roster and clear waivers before he can be sent outright to the minor leagues. A player who has been previously outrighted at any time in his career may decline the assignment and become a free agent immediately, or after the season if he is not returned to the 40 man roster.

Payroll

The median payroll in major league baseball is between $143 and 146 million. That figure is $30 million lower than it was one year ago. The average MLB payroll is just over $149 million, according to Spotrac. That is slightly up from 2023. Opening Day salary figures do not include minor league salaries.

Detroit has the 23rd highest opening day payroll and ranks 25th in payroll for luxury tax purposes. The latter calculates the average annual value of contracts through their conclusion.

In fact, all five teams in the AL Central division rank from 19th to 25th in payroll, with the Tigers being higher than only Cleveland. As we see with teams like Baltimore, Arizona and Tampa Bay, a large payroll is not necessary for a team to be successful in major league baseball, though the big spenders continue to play in, and win, World Series titles.

The Tigers do not have any players with salaries guaranteed beyond the 2025 season, other than Baez, who is guaranteed at least $24 million per year through the 2027 season, and top prospect Colt Keith, who signed a long-term deal guaranteeing him $28.6 million through the first six years of his major league career. So the organization has tremendous payroll flexibility.

Ten Detroit players could be eligible for arbitration for the first time prior to the 2025 season, provided they accrue enough major league service time in 2024. Four others could be eligible for a second round of arbitration next winter. As some of the newly acquired $52 million in salaries starts to come off the books, the young group of players will begin to get more expensive to retain.

With the recent crop of free agents being signed to one year contracts, a couple of those with team options for the 2025 season, the Tigers are clearly relying on their youth movement to step up and lead the way forward starting this season. They have the fifth ranked farm system according to MLB Pipeline, and most of those top prospects are just about ready to contribute at the major league level. The Tigers should, repeat should, have plenty of money to boost this group once they show they can contend.

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