DETROIT — AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer agreed to a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers for $15,525,000, avoiding arbitration with free agency still looming less than a year away.
Scherzer could have an even bigger payday coming soon — one way or another. He is eligible to go on the market after the season, although the Tigers would love to avoid that by signing him to a long-term contract.
General manager Dave Dombrowski said Friday this one-year agreement doesn’t necessarily mean the Tigers are any less likely to sign Scherzer to a lengthier deal before opening day.
Detroit announced Scherzer’s deal along with one-year agreements with right-handers Rick Porcello and Al Alburquerque, and outfielders Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson. All had filed for arbitration.
The 29-year-old Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts last season, and the Tigers advanced to the AL championship series against Boston. He made $6,725,000 last year, and another stellar season could put the right-hander in position for a contract similar to those of teammate Justin Verlander ($180 million for seven years) and Seattle’s Felix Hernandez ($175 million for seven) or even the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw ($215 million for seven).
Scherzer’s deal was announced a day after David Price’s one-year agreement with Tampa Bay. Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner, agreed at $14 million.
Phillies sign Kendrick, Mayberry
PHILADELPHIA — Right-hander Kyle Kendrick has agreed to a $7,675,000, one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, avoiding arbitration.
Kendrick’s deal includes award bonuses. He was 10-13 with a 4.70 ERA last season, and is 64-55 with a 4.38 ERA in seven seasons. John Mayberry Jr. also signed a one-year, $1.587-million contract plus award bonuses.
The Phillies have two remaining arbitration-eligible players: outfielder Ben Revere and left-hander Antonio Bastardo.
Kendrick has won double-digit games four times and made 30 starts three times. He’s slated as the No. 3 or 4 starter behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Also, Charlie Manuel has returned to the Philadelphia Phillies as a senior adviser to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Manuel was offered a position the day he was fired. He accepted earlier this week and the team made the announcement Friday.
Gardner, Robertson, Nova agree with Yankees
NEW YORK — Outfielder Brett Gardner and pitchers Ivan Nova, David Robertson and Shawn Kelley have agreed to one-year contracts with the New York Yankees, raising the team’s luxury tax payroll to about $181.5 million for 19 players with agreements.
Gardner gets $5.6 million under Friday’s deal, while Robertson earns $5,215,000, Nova $3.3 million and Kelley $1,765,000.
New York, which settled with all its players in arbitration, hopes to be under the $189 million luxury tax threshold. It would appear the Yankees might go over the mark even if they don’t sign Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees’ payroll was lowered by Alex Rodriguez’s season-long suspension for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. While he would have counted for $27.5 million on the team’s tax payroll, the suspension likely will lower his figure $3,155,738, pending agreement by Major League Baseball and the players’ association.
Pirates sign six to deals
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with all six players who had filed for arbitration, including third baseman Pedro Alvarez and second baseman Neil Walker.
The 26-year-old Alvarez will make $4.25 million in 2014. Alvarez is coming off an All-Star season in which he hit a career-high 36 home runs.
Walker will make $5.75 million. He hit .251 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs in 2013 while missing 29 games due to injury.
Reliever Mark Melancon, who split time as a setup man and a closer last season, will make $2,595,000. Melancon went 3-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 16 saves in 72 appearances in 2013.
The Pirates also reached agreements with first baseman Gaby Sanchez ($2.3 million), outfielder Travis Snider ($1.2 million) and right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro ($950,000).
Orioles reach agreement with Davis
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with home run king Chris Davis for $10.35 million, avoiding arbitration.
Davis led the majors last season with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs, both career highs. He earned $3.3 million.
The 27-year-old Davis played in 160 games, batted .286, had 167 hits and scored 103 runs.