By: Will Burchfield
Al Avila and the Tigers entered the 2016-17 offseason with an intention to cut payroll. They achieved just the opposite.
The Tigers’ 2017 Opening Day payroll checks in at $199.75 million, up from $195 million in 2016, based on figures from the Associated Press.
With that jump, Detroit has moved ahead of the Yankees as the second biggest spenders in the league. The Yankees, who slashed about $30 million in salary this offseason, rank outside the top two teams in payroll for the first time since 1993.
The Dodgers’ $225 million payroll leads the way in 2017.
Despite not making any big free agent signings over the winter, the Tigers saw their payroll increase largely through arbitration. They were forced to dole out raises to six players, including Nick Castellanos (up $2.5 million in 2017) and Jose Iglesias (up $2 million).
Detroit’s salary leaders in 2017 are Miguel Cabrera ($28 million), Justin Verlander ($28 million) and Justin Upton ($22.125 million).
Per MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, the Tigers will be forced to pay a 30 percent luxury tax on every dollar above the $195 million threshold.