We are currently about a month and handful of days away from the pitchers and catcher of the Detroit Tigers reporting to Lakeland, Florida for Spring Training. With the arbitration deadline set for 1 P.M this afternoon, a few moves were made this week to round out the Tigers 40-man roster.
Friday’s deadline was for the arbitration-eligible players and clubs to exchange contract numbers. The offers need to be filed with the league, but there is nothing that keeps teams and players from negotiating after this deadline. Though some teams do use this as a hard deadline, and if not signed they will take their chances with a certain player in an arbitration hearing.
The Tigers reached one-year agreements with four players this week. Each of them being major contributors to the team for the last couple of years.
James McCann was the first player this week to sign his one-year arbitration deal. The fourth-year catcher settled with the Tigers on a one-year $2.38 MM contract. In his four years, McCann has collected a 3.4 WAR, has shown flashes of hitting for average, power hitting, and stellar defense. He is unquestionably the Tigers starting backstop and is an interesting note to keep track of this season — since it’ll be his first full-time gig.
Greene stepped into the role of the closer after the departure of Justin Wilson last season. In 67.2 innings pitched last season, he accumulated a 2.66 ERA, a 9.07 K/9, collected nine saves. He slots in as the team’s closer for 2018 unless moved sometime during the season. The team avoided arbitration with Greene on a one year, $1.950 million deal–slightly higher ($1.7MM) than Baseball Trade Rumors had him projected at.
Wilson, for his part, has been one of the more grittier relievers in a Tigers uniform. Having a down season in 2017, Wilson had performed very well for the Tigers after coming over in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. In 2015 and 2016 he carried an ERA of 2.19 and 2.96 respectively but saw that balloon in 2017 to 4.50. Mainly a setup guy, Wilson’s did suffer an injury toward the end of last season but is ready to go for 2018. Agreeing to a $1.925 million deal, the Tigers saved a little bit of money on Wilson’s BTR arbitration projection.
Nicholas Castellanos and the club came to an agreement later on Friday night, agreeing to a one-year deal, somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 MM.
Tigers about to tie up a one-year deal with Nick Castellanos. Will be announced later tonight. Contract in area of $7M. Not rumored $7.6M.
— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) January 12, 2018
With the trade of Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs for minor league third baseman Jeimer Candelario, Castellanos’ time at third base seemed to be drawing to a close. He agreed to transition out to right field, a hole left by J.D. Martinez, and the experiment is just getting underway. Castellanos held his own toward the end of the season last year, but a large sample size is needed for a true judgment of his ability in the outfield.
Jose Iglesias is still unsigned —
Jose Iglesias is still unsigned, the last of the Tigers arbitration-eligible players. According to the Bob Nightengale, the two sides are a million dollars and change apart:
Jose Iglesias and #Tigers are $1.2 million apart; $6.8 million and $5.6 million
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 13, 2018
Iglesias is in his last arbitration year and is projected by Baseball Trade Rumors to get exactly what the Tigers are offering according to Nightingale. He is asking $1.2 MM more.
For his career, Iglesias adds seven wins above a replacement player. Nearly all of that coming because of his stellar defense. Last year he hit .255/.288/.369, which from the nine-spot isn’t terrible. Had his offensive numbers resembled more of a two-hole hitter the Tigers would be more apt to sign him for a higher price. If the two sides end up at an arbitration hearing, it will be the first hearing for the Tigers organization since 2001.
Tigers fill out 40-man by claiming reliever —
The Tigers claimed off of waivers Johnny Barbato from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Barbato is a right-handed reliever who has spent time in the Majors with the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 37 Major League games, Barbato has collected a career 5.18 ERA, an 8.2 K/9, and a 1.46 WHIP. He is only 25-years-old and can fill out the Minor League pen while he still develops. The move pushes the Tigers 40-man roster to 40 players.