What is the current payroll for the Detroit Tigers?

Gone are the days when the late Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch readily approved any superstar player acquisitions Dave Dombrowski proposed for Comerica Park. Now, under the stewardship of budget-conscious Chris Ilitch, who assumed the ownership mantle after Mike’s passing in 2017, the team operates with fiscal restraint.

This shift doesn’t mean the Tigers have entirely abandoned big contracts, although many fans might argue they’d be content if such lavish spending had never occurred. Nevertheless, there’s been a noticeable pullback from the era of excess.

In 2024, the Tigers’ active payroll stands at $107,934,961, as reported by Spotrac, which includes various expenditures such as those for injured players, retained payroll, and minor league salaries. Notably, $8 million of this is allocated for buying out Miguel Cabrera’s contract. This places the Tigers 22nd in MLB payroll rankings, well below the league average of $164 million, and second lowest in the AL Central, with only the Cleveland Guardians spending less ($100.5 million).

As for the luxury tax threshold in MLB, the Tigers’ payroll totals $117,398,066, providing them with approximately $120 million of cushion beneath the $237,000,000 threshold. It’s unlikely they’ll approach that limit.

In terms of player contracts, only four Tigers earn above $10 million in 2024. Javy Baez tops the list with a hefty $25 million salary, making up 23.5% of the team’s payroll. His contract extends for another three years, with consistent high salaries through 2027. Following him are Jack Flaherty on a one-year, $14 million deal, Kenta Maeda with $14 million this year out of a two-year, $24 million contract, and Mark Canha earning $11.5 million in the final year of his Mets-originating deal.

Andrew Chafin, a relief pitcher, is the fifth highest-paid Tiger, earning $4.25 million this year, a significant drop from the top earners.

Despite the financial burden of Baez’s contract, the Tigers still have flexibility. Their commitments for 2025 project at just $52 million, with various club options available, including those for Chafin, Shelby Miller, and Casey Mize.

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