DETROIT -- The Tigers could be headed to their first arbitration hearing since 2001, though they took care of a quartet of potential cases on Friday. The club reached agreements on one-year deals with right fielder Nicholas Castellanos and pitchers Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and Blaine Hardy.
That leaves right-hander Michael Fulmer as the lone arbitration-eligible player without a contract, as the two sides prepared to exchange salary proposals at Friday's deadline. The Tigers have not been part of the trend of "file-and-trial" teams that end negotiations once numbers are exchanged, but this could be the year that changes.
Boyd will make $2.6 million, a source confirmed to MLB.com, after qualifying for arbitration as a Super Two-eligible player. Normally players must have three full seasons of service time to qualify for arbitration, but the top 22 percent of players in terms of service time between two and three seasons qualify as "Super Two." Boyd made the cutoff by two days after sticking in the Tigers' rotation for the entire 2018 season.
Not only did Boyd stick -- he was arguably Detroit's most effective starter, posting a 9-13 record and 4.39 ERA while allowing just 146 hits over 170 1/3 innings. His 7.714 hits per nine innings ranked 10th among qualified American League starters.
Norris will make $1.275 million according to a source, after splitting last season between a swing role on the Tigers' staff and a disabled list stint due to left groin surgery. He posted an 0-5 record and 5.68 ERA in eight starts and three relief appearances, but first-time arbitration-eligible players are judged on their career numbers to date rather than just the most recent season. The 25-year-old is 12-17 with a 4.56 ERA, 4.41 FIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings over parts of five seasons, including three-plus years in Detroit.
Hardy, who is arbitration-eligible for the second time, reached agreement on a one-year, $1.3 million contract. The 31-year-old lefty found a full-time role on Detroit's pitching staff after being outrighted to Triple-A Toledo in Spring Training. He ended up making 13 starts and 17 relief appearances, posting a 4-5 record and 3.56 ERA over 86 innings.
The Tigers and Castellanos avoided arbitration on the evening of deadline day for a second consecutive year, this time with a $9.95 million salary. The 26-year-old batted .298 with 23 home runs, 89 RBIs and an .854 OPS, becoming the focal point of the lineup with Jose Cabrera out.
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Castellanos is in his third and final year of arbitration before he can qualify for free agency next offseason. The Tigers publicly entertained the idea of a contract extension last offseason, but that quieted this offseason as trade talks heated up.
By avoiding an arbitration hearing with Castellanos next month, the Tigers might have helped their chances of trading him, having set a salary for the season that gives potential suitors certainty on how much he'll make.
Like Boyd, Fulmer qualified for arbitration as a Super Two player, sticking in the big leagues since making his debut on April 29, 2016. He won AL Rookie of the Year Award honors that year, and Fulmer was an AL All-Star the next before a knee injury limited him to 24 starts last year, when the righty posted a 3-12 record and 4.69 ERA, holding opponents to 128 hits over 132 1/3 innings with 46 walks and 110 strikeouts.