Detroit Tigers: It shouldn’t be money holding up the Carlos Correa deal

It shouldn’t be money that is holding up the Detroit Tigers from signing free agent Carlos Correa.

Detroit quickly made a splash in free agency, signing starting pitcher left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year contract with an out built-in after the first two years.  Rodriguez gives the Tigers a reliable top-of-rotation arm to pair with Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal.

Al Avila still has some work to do in hopes of piecing together the backend of Detroit’s 2022 starting rotation.  Matt Manning will surely maintain one of the final spots to begin the year. If Matthew Boyd is healthy, Avila may give him one last chance to stick with the Tigers in more of a relaxed role at the backend of the rotation rather than expecting him to be the ace of the staff.

Perhaps Detroit remains in the market for a couple of cheap-ish veteran hurdlers like Zack Greinke, Anthony DeSclafani, Martin Perez, Michael Pineda, or bringing back someone like Jose Urena.

Money shouldn’t be holding up the Detroit Tigers from signing Carlos Correa.

As it stands, the Detroit Tigers have a projected team salary of $79,350 million, which includes Miguel Cabrera’s scheduled $32 million heading into 2022.  The league average sits at $100 million.

With Cabrera’s lucrative deal accounting for 40% of Detroit’s overall salary and coming off the books in a mere two years, general manager Al Avila can simply slide Cabrera’s money out and Correa’s money in.

I don’t have an issue with Avila weighing all of his options before coming to a final decision, as I recently described here earlier this week. If it’s overall health, projected longevity, and the overall impact of one player perhaps hampering future spending, ok.  But if Detroit is willing to spend, say, $25 million per season on a player possibly a bit less impressive in each grading metric at the same position instead of $30 million for Correa, shame on Avila.  But if Avila decides instead of Correa, the Detroit Tigers are going to be able to sign Corey Seager and another $15 million bat, I understand.

Signing Correa to a 10-year $300 million deal puts the Tigers right in the middle of the pack when it comes to overall salary. The term may play a role here, but if Correa is set on finding a ten-year commitment, someone will certainly give it to him, but this is where negotiations become vital. Maybe up the dollar amount per year a bit in hopes of landing a seven-year deal.

Avila may elect to front-load the deal keeping Detroit’s youth in mind, in turn putting more cash in Correa’s pocket right away.

Down the road, if things work out as planned, the Tigers will be shelling out money to keep Mize, Skubal, along with Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson.  If Detroit can play Correa $120 million over the first three seasons and $180 million over the next seven, it may help the team’s financial situation in the years to come.

Detroit is a big enough market to be in the top third of league spending if they want to be, and that opens up a whole other can of worms; does Chris Ilitch really want to spend money, or does he prefer to leave a trail of crumbs for fans to follow into Comerica Park?

Earlier in the year, Avila mentioned that the Detroit Tigers would-be buyers this winter in free agency but refuse to spend like a drunken sailor.  So far, that is a true statement.

Adding Rodriquez to this pitching staff has the makings of being perhaps the most underrated signing in all of free agency at the end of the day, especially knowing what we saw from pitching coach Chris Fetter last season.

Spending like a drunken sailor would be signing a couple of these big-named free agents in addition to Correa.

No one expects Avila to sign Marcus Semien and Correa, although both would fit nicely in Detroit’s lineup.  Semien could be injected in at second base, Correa at shortstop, forcing Jonathan Schoop over to first base on a full-time basis until Spencer Torkelson is ready.

That is nothing more than a fantasy scenario for Tigers fans and unrealistic.