Third baseman Jeimer Candelario, infielder Harold Castro and utility player Willi Castro were non-tendered and officially became free agents at Friday’s 8 p.m. tender deadline. Earlier this offseason, the Tigers cut ties with four arbitration-eligible players: right-hander Drew Hutchison, outfielder Victor Reyes, righty reliever Miguel Díaz and righty reliever Kyle Funkhouser.
The Tigers, led by new president of baseball operations Scott Harris, started the offseason with 13 arbitration-eligible players.
Salaries for the 2023 season aren’t locked in, but tendering contracts is the first step in the process. Arbitration-eligible players have until mid-January to negotiate salaries with their team. If the two sides can’t agree, an arbitration hearing will be scheduled in February.
The Tigers already avoided arbitration with one player: Alexander (one year, $1.875 million).
To keep the five others, the Tigers likely will pay roughly $13 million. Meadows is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $4 million; Soto $3.1 million; Jiménez $2.6; Cisnero $2.2 million; and García $1 million.
Players on the 40-man roster with less than six years of MLB service time must be tendered contracts each winter. For a player to be arbitration-eligible, he must have accrued three or more years of MLB service (or receive Super Two status).
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Meadows, 27, only played 36 games for the Tigers in 2022. The left-handed power hitter, an All-Star in 2019, failed to record a home run. The Tigers acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in April 2022, but he missed most of the season with vertigo, COVID-19 and bilateral Achilles strains before sitting out September for mental health reasons. He hit .250 with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts.
In 2023, Meadows is projected as a starter in the outfield. He is under team control through the 2024 season.
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