Top 5 Detroit Tigers Upcoming Free Agents

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Top 5 Biggest Detroit Tigers Upcoming Free Agents

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Kim Klement- USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are going to have to make a lot of huge decisions coming up. Already a payroll that exceeds profitability, the cost of the players the Tigers have is just going to increase. Luckily they have an owner in Mr. Illitch that allows for a bigger budget than just about any owner would because of his desire to win a world championship, but Mr. Illitch can't support this payroll forever and eventually some names are going to have to be allowed to leave.

Upcoming this season are some smaller but still big decisions affecting both the infield and relief which have both been problems for the Tigers in years past. In two to three years, the discussion really takes off where a team with the most $20 million per year players may have to increase that number or risk losing talent that could end up being future Hall of Fame members. We know one thing for sure; the Tigers' next offseason and the next couple after that will be anything but dull.

Click through the slideshow and see who are the top 5 Tigers hitting free agency in the next couple of seasons and also my opinion on whether or not those players will be re-signed or let go. Some of the decisions may surprise you and they are not moves that I want to see happen (or any fan wants to happen for that matter). But it is keeping in mind the business of baseball and the fact that you can't always get everything you want. Never count out Mr. Illitch's desire to have it all, though.

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5. Jhonny Peralta

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

Jhonny Peralta is a free agent after this season, and while he was named to the All-Star team I believe this will be his last season as a Detroit Tiger. You have to count in the steroid suspension that may or may not be looming, but if it does the Tigers will more than likely be forced to trade for a young shortstop. Even if it doesn't the Tigers seem to want to get younger up the middle so expect the Tigers to let Peralta walk.

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4. Omar Infante

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

Omar Infante is another Tiger up for free agency after this season and another player having a very solid year in his free agency year. This will be difficult because Infante will want more than some will feel he is worth, but I do believe there is a mutual interest in keeping Infante in Detroit so he will re-sign.

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3. Joaquin Benoit

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Kim Klement- USA TODAY Sports

How can you let your best bullpen pitcher and potential All-Star guy go when the Tigers bullpen has more holes in it than Swiss cheese? It's not going to be something the Tigers necessarily want to do, but the money Joaquin Benoit is going to command will likely drive the Tigers away, that is unless there are no other options on the market. I believe there will be, though, and Benoit will move teams.

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2. Max Scherzer

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David Richard- USA TODAY Sports

This is incredibly intriguing and would top almost any other team's list. The Tigers have handcuffed themselves in a way signing Justin Verlander to that giant extension and Anibal Sanchez to a five-year, $75 million deal. Mix that with Doug Fister who makes decent money and you already have an expensive starting staff. Throw in Max Scherzer who recently hired MLB super agent Scott Boras and you know Max is going to be making $20+ mil a year. The Tigers can offer arbitration for one more year before free agency, and I think they will use that then potentially trade Scherzer near the trading deadline next season.

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1. Miguel Cabrera

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David Richard- USA TODAY Sports

The best player in baseball has to be No. 1 on this list. Luckily for the Tigers he is not a free agent until after the 2015 season, but it's never too early to look ahead. The Tigers have had preliminary talks, and while nothing has been solidified yet you can guarantee the Tigers will look to lock him up as soon as they can like they did with Verlander. I expect a deal to be done, and I expect Miguel Cabrera to be a Tiger for life.

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