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Thursday, Jan. 11, was the deadline for MLB teams and arbitration-eligible players to file salary figures for 2024. If the two sides don't agree to a contract before the deadline, they typically wind up in an arbitration hearing. This year the Detroit Tigers and former No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize failed to reach an agreement by the filing deadline.

Mize's agency filed for $840,000. The Tigers, meanwhile, filed at $815,000, or just $75,000 above the league minimum in 2024. In the overwhelming majority of cases when the figures are this close -- only a $25,000 difference -- the team and player find common ground and don't have to file salary figures. That didn't happen here. The Tigers and Mize did exchange salary figures.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the two sides were able to avoid an arbitration hearing. The Tigers and Mize agreed to a one-year contract worth $830,000 on Friday, reports The Athletic. The contract includes a $3.1 million club option with a $10,000 buyout for 2025. Mize gets the $840,000 he sought, and Detroit has a club option in the event Mize has a breakout season in 2024.

Just to be clear, Mize will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2025 even if the club option is declined. The option simply gives Detroit cost control over that season. If Mize projects to make less than $3.1 million through arbitration in 2025, the Tigers will decline the option and negotiate a lower salary. If he projects to make more than $3.1 million, they'll pick up the option.

Mize was the top draft pick out of Auburn in 2018. He reached the majors in 2020 and joined the rotation on a full-time basis in 2021. In his 30 starts, he went 7-9 with a 3.71 ERA (114 ERA+), 1.14 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 150 1/3 innings. That was all worth 3.3 WAR, which is a quality season from a mid-rotation starter. 

Of course, a mitigating factor here is Mize had to undergo Tommy John surgery after two starts in 2022 and missed all of 2023. The Tigers could argue that Mize didn't help them at all in 2023 and still made $734,200 while Mize's representatives could point out he greatly out-pitched the $574,100 he made in 2021 and will be back to full time this season.

When there is an arbitration hearing, a three-person panel hears each side's case and then picks either the salary the player filed or the salary the team filed. Nothing in between. Arbitration hearings can be contentious at times and the Tigers and Mize avoided that headache this year.