We all know that at the moment the Detroit Tigers are set to be a World Series contender, but what most people don’t know is that in the next couple years they are going to have to make some very tough decisions about player’s contracts. Every team dreams of having the kind of talent that the Tigers have, but when you have that much talent you eventually have to pay them big money.
The Tigers currently have 13 players that are under one-year contracts. That will be 14 once they sign starting pitcher Max Scherzer to a one-year deal, which is what everyone thinks is going to happen. Obviously some will be eligible for arbitration and some will most likely not be cut or traded, but still there are some major issues to solve. Austin Jackson is one of those players with a one-year deal. Jackson had a career year in 2012, racking up 55 extra-base hits, while hitting .300 and having an on-base percentage of .377. This was a huge improvement and a welcome sight for Tiger fans. Along with hitting the ball very well he also was a finalist for the Golden Glove Award, showing his worth in the outfield as well as with the bat. He’s developing into a premiere center fielder and he should have made the All-Star team last year. This is where the problem lies; the Tigers are going to eventually have to pay him.
Along with Jackson they have even bigger issues. Justin Verlander will be a free agent after the 2014 season and will most likely become the highest paid pitcher the game has ever seen, and deservingly so. Now I don’t believe he will hit the market in 2014 because the Tigers will sign him to an extension, but that’s a whole lot of money. As if it couldn’t get any worse, Miguel Cabrera will be a free agent after the 2015 season, and we all know he’s going to take a lot of money to sign. The Triple Crown winner and MVP could end up getting one of the biggest contracts anyone has ever seen. The Tigers have shown that they are willing to pay big money to form a top contender and they have done that in the last couple years, but this will take the payroll to a whole new level. If they sign both Verlander and Cabrera to deals and add that to the deal already in place for Prince Fielder, they will be paying those three players more than other teams pay for all of their players combined.
I don’t know what the future holds for the Tigers, but I do know that they will be making some very tough choices in the next three years. It will greatly depend on how much they are willing to pay for the stars that are on their team. All of them are worth the money they will get paid, but it may come down to whether or not if there is enough money to go around.