Max Scherzer remains the only arbitration-eligible player left for the Detroit Tigers.
By STEVE KORNACKIFS Detroit
DETROIT — The Tigers on Friday announced the signings of six of their seven arbitration-eligible players.
Max Scherzer, who will make the most of anyone in the group of arbitration-eligible players with between three and six years of service time, is seeking to almost double his $3.75 million salary from 2012. Scherzer was 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA and 231 strikeouts in 187 2/3 innings.
Scherzer, who is represented by agent Scott Boras, filed for a $7.4 million one-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Tigers countered by filing for $6.05 million.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has not gone to an arbitration hearing with a single player in his 11 previous seasons with the club. The two sides still can agree to a contract before the arbitration hearings in Phoenix, which will be scheduled for Feb. 1-21.
Scherzer was second in the majors to teammate Justin Verlander in strikeouts, and led the American League with 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings. He also came within one victory of matching Verlander for the team lead. Scherzer won’t be a free agent until accruing six years of service time before the 2015 season.
Avoiding arbitration at various reported dollar figures were right-handed pitchers Doug Fister ($4.0 million) and Rick Porcello ($5.1 million), left-handed pitcher Phil Coke ($1.85 million), catcher Alex Avila ($2.95 million) and outfielders Brennan Boesch ($2.3 million) and Austin Jackson ($3.5 million).
The $19.7 million for those six represents a $7 million increase over their combined earnings in 2012.
According to www.baseball-reference.com, the Tigers figure to have a $148.9 million salary total that is second only to the New York Yankees ($198.4 million) in the American League.
Fister posted a 10-10 record, 3.45 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 26 starts during his first full season with the Tigers.
Porcello started 31 games, going 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA. He has been pursued by the Diamondbacks, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers and Padres in trade discussions, but Dombrowski likes him as the fifth starter with left-hander Drew Smyly also a strong possibility for that spot.
Coke appeared in 66 games, posting a 2-3 record and 4.00 ERA before becoming the club’s best late-inning reliever in the postseason.
Avila hit .243 with 21 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 48 RBI, which marked huge drop-offs from his All-Star season of 2011, when he batted .295 with 33 doubles, four triples, 19 homers and 82 RBI.
Boesch batted .240 with 22 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 54 RBI, and has been in decline since breaking into the majors with a bang during the first half of the 2010 season.
He could push Andy Dirks for playing time in left field. Both hit left-handed and the Tigers currently are looking to platoon Dirks with a right-handed outfielder, while Boesch has received some trade interest.
Jackson hit .300 with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 16 homers, 66 RBI and 12 stolen bases, while establishing career-highs in the Triple Crown categories and getting All-Star consideration. He’s one of the league’s top defensive center fielders.