Tigers tender offers to all six eligible players

Tigers tender offers to all six eligible players

DETROIT -- The Tigers' quest to pare back payroll below luxury-tax levels did not affect their arbitration decisions. All six arbitration-eligible Tigers -- shortstop Jose Iglesias, third baseman Nick Castellanos, utility man Andrew Romine and relievers Justin Wilson, Alex Wilson and Bruce Rondon -- were tendered contracts for 2017.

Most of the decisions were fairly easy. While Rondon and the two Wilsons were significant setup pieces in the Tigers' bullpen, Castellanos and Iglesias formed an improving left side of the Detroit infield. The one player with any hint of suspense was Romine, who played every position but catcher in 2016 as a super utility player. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to make around $1.2 million in arbitration in 2017.

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Romine has spent three seasons in Detroit, which acquired him from the Angels in a Spring Training trade in 2014, following Iglesias' season-ending injury in camp. Romine ended that season getting the bulk of the playing time at short, then transitioned to a utility role once Iglesias returned to action in 2015.

Romine's role expanded last season, turning him from an extra infielder to a part-time center fielder and occasional first baseman. He picked up some late-inning work in the outfield corners once the Tigers cut ties with fellow super utility player Mike Aviles.

Romine even served as an emergency pitcher, recording the last two outs of a 16-5 loss at Kansas City on June 18. He also pitched in a game in 2014. Romine was the Tigers' emergency catcher, though he didn't get into a regular-season game behind the plate.

Romine batted .236 (41-for-174) with a .626 OPS, two home runs and 16 RBIs, a quarter of which came without putting a ball in play. He drew three bases-loaded walks, including a tiebreaking ball four in the eighth inning against the Red Sox on Aug. 18, and took a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.

Castellanos is up for arbitration for the first time in his career, coming off a 2016 season in which he set career highs with a .285 batting average, .827 OPS and 18 home runs, despite missing nearly two months with a broken hand. He's projected to make $2.8 million in 2017, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Iglesias is projected to make $3.2 million in his second year of arbitration, coming off a season in which he was a Gold Glove Award finalist while batting .255 with four homers and 32 RBIs in 137 games.

The MLB Trade Rumors' projections for the six add up to $12 million. The Tigers currently have about $173 million in guaranteed salaries to 11 players on their roster, not including a $6 million payment for part of Prince Fielder's salary stemming from his November 2013 trade from Detroit to Texas. Add in arbitration, other players to fill out the roster and player benefits, and the Tigers are projected to surpass the luxury-tax threshold, even with the threshold raised to $195 million under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.