Tigers work late Friday to get a deal with Castellanos, avoid arbitration with 5 of 6 eligible players

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Nick Castellanos

Detroit —  The Tigers have avoided arbitration with five of their six eligible players. Only pitcher Michael Fulmer remains unsigned.  

Right fielder Nick Castellanos, who was believed to be headed for arbitration, agreed to a one-year deal worth $9.9 million, sources confirmed to the News Friday night.

Earlier Friday, the Tigers avoided arbitration with left-handed pitchers Matthew Boyd, Blaine Hardy and Daniel Norris.

All three signed one-year deals.

Boyd, who made $1.13 million last  season and was projected (by MLBTradeRumors) to get as much as $3 million if he got to arbitration, signed for $2.6 million.

More: Tigers’ minor leaguer Gregory Soto suspended 20 games

Norris, who made $561,400 last season and was projected to get as much as $1.4 million in arbitration, signed for $1.2 million. 

The salary number for Hardy wasn't immediately available. Hardy made $795,500 last year after being released and re-signed on a minor-league contract, and was projected to earn as much as $1.2 million in arbitration.

Castellanos was projected to get as much as $11.3 million. 

Friday was the deadline for players and teams to exchange salary numbers. The Tigers had signed closer Shane Greene to a one-year, $4 million deal Thursday night. 

So only Fulmer remains unsigned. He was projected to get up to $3 million in arbitration.

Arbitration hearings will begin Feb. 1. The Tigers have until then to negotiate with Fulmer, if they choose to. If Fulmer ends up before the arbitration panel, he would be the first Tigers to do so since 2001.

Castellanos, who will be 27 on March 4, is coming of a career year, slashing .298/.354/.500 with an OPS of .854. He will be a free agent after this season, and the Tigers have made him available on the trade market. 

Their asking price, though, has been high. Having his salary set for 2019 could help facilitate a trade before the season.

Boyd, who will turn 28 on Feb. 2, firmly established himself in the Tigers' starting rotation last season. He made a career-high 31 starts, posting a somewhat hard-luck 9-13 record with a career-best ERA (4.39) and WHIP (1.15).

Opponents hit just .228 against him, which ranked 10th in the American League. His slider was one of the most effective pitches in baseball last season. Opponents hit .175 and slugged .298 off it. Boyd had a 33.2-percent whiff rate on that pitch, according to Statcast.

Hardy, who turns 32 in March, was one of the best stories of the season for the Tigers. DFA’d out of spring training, unsigned by 29 other teams and re-signed back to Triple-A Toledo, Hardy, after being used exclusively as a reliever in his previous four seasons with the Tigers, earned his way back to the big leagues as a starter, allowing two runs in 24 innings at Toledo.

He went 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 13 fill-in starts for the Tigers before going back to the bullpen. He wound up pitching in 30 games, posting a 3.56 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

Discussing his pitching staff at the Winter Meetings in December, manager Ron Gardenhire said he expected Hardy would come to spring training as a reliever.

Norris turns 26 on April 25 and was limited to 44 innings last season after groin surgery. He pitched another 17 innings or so in the Dominican Winter League and in the Japan all-star series. 

He is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation.