Tigers avoid arbitration with 6 players

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DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Tigers avoided arbitration with six players Friday, increasing their payroll by over $13 million while agreeing to terms with a talented group that includes right-hander Doug Fister and center fielder Austin Jackson.

Right-hander Max Scherzer is the only Detroit player remaining whose case could go to a hearing next month.

Fister, 18-11 since the Tigers acquired him in a midseason trade in 2011, will make $4 million this season. Jackson, the speedy outfielder who hit .300 last year, will make $3.5 million.

Detroit also reached a $5.1 million deal with right-hander Rick Porcello, a $2.95 million contract with catcher Alex Avila, a $2.3 million agreement with outfielder Brennan Boesch and a $1.85 million deal with left-handed reliever Phil Coke.

After winning the AL pennant, Detroit signed free agent outfielder Torii Hunter this offseason and re-signed right-hander Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers haven't made any other major additions, but Friday's deals with arbitration-eligible players involved a bit of a financial hit.

The six players will make a combined $19.7 million this year. Last season, they earned $6,245,000 - and Porcello's $3.1 million contract accounted for about half of that.

Scherzer is coming off an impressive season in which he went 16-7 with 231 strikeouts in 187 2-3 innings. He is asking for $7.4 million through arbitration, and the team is offering $6.05 million. The two sides could still come to an agreement before a three-arbitrator panel hears the case in Phoenix.

Porcello received a $2 million raise, but it's not clear how much longer he'll remain with the Tigers. They have six capable starting pitchers after keeping Sanchez, making Porcello a potential trade candidate if Detroit decides to go with left-hander Drew Smyly as its fifth starter.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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