As I watched the Tigers season end this weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder what the 2012 offseason holds for them. The answer I came up with isn’t as bad as I thought for Twins fans.
This year, the Tigers payroll was $106 million, their lowest in four years. That was despite signing Victor Martinez for $80 million last Thanksgiving. This year I knew they had another big chunk of essentially wasted money coming off the books:
- Fragile Magglio Ordonez and his $10 million paycheck was coming off the books.
- Oft-injured Carlos Guillen’s four-year deal runs out, giving them another $13 million.
- Finally, pitcher Brad Penny’s one-year, $3 million contract will also be over.
That’s $26 million that the Tigers could spend, even if they don’t want to raise payroll to the stratospheric levels of a couple years ago. That’s enough to do some major shopping. Fortunately, more of it is spoken for than I thought.
- It looks like they’ll offer arbitration to Delmon Young, tying up $7-8 million.
- Justin Verlander is due a $7 million raise by his current contract.
- Several others are due a million dollar raise here or there.
That still probably leaves enough money to make on significant purchase – probably a starting pitcher – or several smaller purchases to fill gaps. But it doesn’t mean a spending spree which could damn near bury the rest of the division. Unless…
Unless owner Mike Ilitch really likes the taste of the postseason he got this year, in which case all bets are off. Unlike our favorite team’s local management, Ilitch has run his team as more of a passion than a business, doubling down at odd times over the last decade. If the Tigers decide to return to the $130+ million payroll level that they had in 2008 or 2010, they’ll have another $25 million of walk-around money. If that’s the case, the rest of the AL Central will have some significant hurdles to clear next year.
More from Star Tribune
More from TwinsCentric
The Twins are riding some positive vibes into the midsummer respite.
Two years ago, the Twins used the 46th pick in the draft to select Louisville closer Nick Burdi. Will they draft his brother next week?
What happens after the longtime GM departs?
If big righty Alex Meyer can make it work as a starter, he'll be more valuable to the Twins.
How did Tyler Duffey's 2016 debut go? Are struggling starting pitchers on the hot seat? Did the Twins make their worst roster move of the year this weekend? All covered below.
Recommended For You
The appearance of conflict of interest is both troubling and inevitable.
Collision injures Danny Santana, puts him on the DL.
Thousands of refugees are navigating hurdles of a new life. And front-line workers in Minnesota, one of the country's resettlement hubs, are poised to take in 2,530 refugees, more than during any year in the past decade.
The country trio avoided politics and stuck to (freshened-up) oldies.
The first-term Minnesota congressman is among the few to openly support Trump, highlighting the anxiety many in Congress are feeling.