Price, Tigers avoid arbitration
DETROIT (AP) — Pitcher David Price and the Detroit Tigers avoided arbitration with a record-setting deal.
Price agreed to a $19.75 million contract, the largest one-year deal for a player who filed for arbitration. The agreement surpassed Max Scherzer’s $15,525,000 deal with Detroit last year.
The Tigers confirmed one-year contracts Friday with Price, right-hander Alfredo Simon and outfielder J.D. Martinez, avoiding arbitration with all three. Simon will make $5.55 million and Martinez will make $3 million in 2015.
Right-handed reliever Al Alburquerque is Detroit’s only player left in arbitration. He submitted a figure of $2.05 million and the team offered $1,375,000.
Detroit acquired Price in a deadline trade in July, and the move paid dividends when the left-hander held Minnesota scoreless in a division-clinching victory on the final day of the regular season. Detroit won the AL Central for a fourth consecutive year.
Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, can become a free agent next offseason.
Price made $14 million last year, starting the season with Tampa Bay before being traded to the Tigers. He’s part of a star-studded rotation in Detroit that also includes Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, although the Tigers traded Rick Porcello this offseason and may lose Scherzer to free agency.
Price went 15-12 with a 3.26 ERA last season, and he led the major leagues with 271 strikeouts. He also reached a career high with 248 1-3 innings pitched.
The Tigers traded left-hander Drew Smyly and center fielder Austin Jackson in the move that brought Price to Detroit. It was an aggressive attempt to add another top pitcher to the staff, and the deal meant the Tigers would probably still have a solid rotation this year even if Scherzer ended up elsewhere.
Scherzer remains on the open market, and the Tigers have already shuffled their rotation a bit more. They acquired right-hander Shane Greene from the New York Yankees, and Simon was traded from Cincinnati to Detroit last month.
Price will be a big part of Detroit’s attempt to defend its spot atop the division, which looks increasingly tenuous after Kansas City went to the World Series as a wild card last year and the Chicago White Sox made some significant moves this offseason. Cleveland could also be a threat with its promising rotation, which includes 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
Martinez was another instrumental member of Detroit’s 2014 team, hitting .315 with 23 home runs and 76 RBIs after the Tigers picked him up on a minor league deal. Simon went 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA last season, when he was selected to the National League All-Star team. Detroit acquired him from the Reds on the same day the Tigers traded Porcello to Boston.
(AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.)