It’s a mantra you can repeat every year at this time of year with the Detroit Tigers: Dave Dombrowski does not do arbitration.
The Tigers GM hasn’t gone to an arbitration hearing with a player during his 10-year tenure in Detroit. And that streak looks like it will continue. On Monday, the team agreed on one-year contracts with starting pitcher Rick Porcello and reliever Phil Coke. Tuesday, it was utility man Don Kelly’s turn.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Tigers and Kelly have agreed on a one-year, $900,000 deal. Kelly qualifed for “Super Two” status and a fourth year of arbitration based on his major league service time.
Last season, Kelly hit .245/.291/.381 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in plate appearances. But he became something of a hitting star in the postseason, compiling a 1.000 OPS in the ALDS versus the New York Yankees. And who can forget (or believe) his solo home run to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the decisive Game Five of that series?
But his true usefulness comes from his ability to play almost anywhere on the field. Kelly played eight positions last year for Detroit, including helping out at catcher and pitching a scoreless 1/3 of an inning in a late-June blowout loss to the Mets.
Kelly is expected to be the left-handed side of a platoon at third base with Brandon Inge this upcoming season.
Pitcher Max Scherzer and outfielder Delmon Young are the two players left to reach contract terms with and avoid arbitration hearings with the Tigers.