On arbitration projections and the Tigers rotation
One of the new traditions of the early offseason is the MLBTradeRumors list of projected arbitration figures, the end result of a process that has become more detailed over the years. It’s not always spot-on (it can’t be, really, when so many players and teams settle and avoid a hearing), but it’s usually a good estimate, and it definitely gives an idea of what to expect come arbitration time in January. It’s also helpful for payroll projection projections.
In the case of the Tigers rotation, the projections show a starting staff that’s about to get a major raise. This winter’s projections, released Tuesday, predict David Price to make $18.9 million next year (up from $14 million this past season) and Rick Porcello to make $12.2 mil (he made $8.5 mil this year).
That’s a $31.1 million combined
bump salary. Add to that the contractual raises in the long-term deals for Justin Verlander (whose salary goes from $20 million this year to $28 million next) and Anibal Sanchez (from $15.8 million this year to $16.8 million in 2015), and the top four starters in the Tigers rotation would make a combined $75.9 million under the projections for Price and Porcello. The Cubs, Astros and Marlins all had lower team payrolls when the 2014 season began.
With that, you get an idea why the Tigers’ payroll is becoming a major issue, and why it would be very difficult to hold team payroll steady around $163 million next year, no matter what the Tigers do this offseason (even if they traded Price heading into his contract year).
The rest of the projections put J.D. Martinez in line to make $2.9 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and Al Alburquerque at $1.7 million in his second year (he made $838,000 this year). No projection was made for Alex Avila, who has a $5.4 million club option next year.