Tigers avoid arbitration with Price, Simon, J.D. Martinez

Lynn Henning, The Detroit News

With the help of a record-setting payday for David Price, the Tigers agreed Friday to 2015 contracts for two starting pitchers who were moving closer to an arbitration hearing.

Price, a left-hander who two years ago won the Cy Young Award, will make $19.75 million from Detroit in the final season before he is eligible for free agency next autumn. Price made $14 million last season.

The previous record salary for an arbitration-eligible player was $15.525 million, which was Max Scherzer's Tigers salary in 2014. Scherzer is now on the free-agent market.

The Tigers also signed the newest member of their rotation, Alfredo Simon, for $5.5 million — a robust raise from the $1.5 million he earned in 2014 from his former team, the Reds.

Simon was a right-handed reliever for the Reds before he broke loose as a starter in 2014, pitching in 32 games, and rolling up a 3.44 ERA spanning 196.1 innings.

Outfielder J.D. Martinez also settled for one year, $3 million.

The Tigers, in concert with Price and Simon, had until Feb. 1 to negotiate a deal, at which point any impasse would have been presented to a three-person arbitration panel in Phoenix.

The Tigers have also until Feb. 1 to settle with another other arbitration-eligible player, reliever Al Alburquerque.

The Tigers under front-office steward Dave Dombrowski have never failed to agree on a contract with an arbitration-eligible player ahead of the hearings deadline.

Price, who came to the Tigers in a July trade, has status as one of baseball's elite pitchers and in 2014 had numbers in line with past seasons. He had a 3.26 ERA while pitching 248.1 innings, the most by any pitcher in either league.

The Tigers and Price have made no public moves toward a contract extension that might stretch Price's time in Detroit past 2015. Typically, those discussions, if they happen, occur during spring camp and ahead of the regular season, which is when past renewals were completed with Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.

But, to date, there has been no evidence the Tigers, or Price, are discussing anything beyond Price's tenure with the Tigers in 2014.