Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Due to the Detroit Tigers’ spendthrift habits of late on the free agent market it seems as though they are at a crossroads with budding star Austin Jackson. In my opinion, it is time to extend Jackson on a long-term deal before the price tag gets too high. Recent players to get such deals include the Cardinals’ Allen Craig and Chicago’s Chris Sale. As for Jackson, he recently graduated from a league minimum player into the first of his three arbitration-eligible years. AJ will get $3.5M to patrol Comerica Park’s center field and bat leadoff for Jim Leyland this summer. As it stands now, Jackson has two more arbitration years coming his way before he enters free agency prior to the 2016 season. At that time he’ll be entering his age-29 season, and when you consider his career trajectory to this point, he could be seeking mega dollars. Austin Jackson It would behoove the Tigers to buy out the last two years of his arbitration rights on a deal similar to what Craig and Sale were given. Craig, 28, received a 5-year, $31M deal from the Cardinals with a $13M club option for 2018. From the White Sox, the soon-to-be 24-year old Sale gets three guaranteed years at $35M with two club options that could total $25M. What concerns me is that perhaps the Tigers’ payroll, which has ballooned to an all-time high of $160M for the coming season, might prohibit such extensions. Had the Tigers known that Rick Porcello’s stock would be this hot prior to signing Anibal Sanchez you can be sure they would have gladly let Sanchez walk, saved $80M, and have been better equipped to lock up Jackson. Instead, Detroit is about to start walking a fine line with Jackson who hit .300 a year ago with career highs in almost every major offensive category. If they don’t extend him and he gets to free agency in 2016, smack dab in the middle of his prime, then all bets are off as to him remaining a Tiger. The advantages to locking him up on say a 5-year, $40M deal are several. Detroit has Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, Steven Moya, Austin Schotts, and potentially Daniel Fields all playing outfield and moving aggressively through the farm system. During such a 5-year deal, and when the timing is right for someone to step into a regular role, the Tigers would have dynamite trade bait in Jackson or Andy Dirks. Should none of the prospects prove ready then the team is set in stone through 2017 with a true game-changing, 2-way player. With Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera’s free agency set to hit the books in 2015 and 2016 respectively, holding onto Jackson for $8M/year makes keeping the franchise’s two cornerstones in place for the duration of their careers much more feasible, which is something the organization will feel a lot of pressure to make happen. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it sets a trend as an organization. Detroit is finally becoming a team that is developing a fair amount of young talent. Tampa Bay has turned these early, long-term, arbitration-buyout contracts into an art form. Detroit would be wise to do the same. At some point in the next several years players like Drew Smyly, Alex Avila, Doug Fister, Castellanos, Garcia, and others would be in line for similar extensions. It’s a way of keeping your young players happy, guaranteeing them the millions they’ve been seeking for years, and suppressing inevitable team payroll problems. This has to be the wave of the Tigers’ future spending and Jackson is the perfect guy to start with. To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form [Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Goodell will not recuse himself from Brady appeal

Will Smith suspended eight games for 'foreign substance'

Report: Kobe Bryant likely to retire following next season

Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Re-evaluating all 30 MLB teams at the quarter mark, ranked

Is virtual reality training the next leap forward for football?

Warriors a very shaky 2-0 against the Rockets

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.