The Detroit Free Press reports it's the second-highest amount owed to a released player in the club's history -- behind the club's $14.3 million hit it took in 2003 with Damion Easley.
The move is even more perplexing considering his next home run will be the 500th of Sheffield's career.
Sheffield hit .178 (8-for-45) during spring training.
"Sheffield said he still "feels great" physically and would like to play this season. When asked if this is the end of his career, he replied, "It ain't close."
"Once he clears waivers, Sheffield will be able to sign with another team. He said he'd give preference to the Tampa Bay Rays, who play close to his home."
Tigers release Sheffield [MLB.com]
Tigers release designated hitter Gary Sheffield [MLive.com]