Armando Galarraga Rumors
The Tigers believe there’s a market for Armando Galarraga, the right-handed pitcher who agreed to a $2.3MM deal one day before getting designated for assignment. Since few viable free agent starters remain and a number of teams are looking for pitching, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says he’s 'confident' the team will be able to move Galarraga.
“It’s not like I have a for sure deal, but I do have enough clubs that have asked me about him,” Dombrowski said on a conference call with reporters.
If the Tigers demote Galarraga to the minor leagues, they’re responsible for his $2.3MM salary. If they release him, they’ll be responsible for part of his contract, depending on the date of his release and whether another club signs him.
The Tigers also announced their one-year deal with Brad Penny, the pitcher who ousted Galarraga from Detroit’s rotation. Penny missed the last four months of the 2010 season with a shoulder strain, but the Tigers have put him through physicals, examined MRIs and determined that the 32-year-old is in 'tremendous shape.'
“When Brad Penny is healthy, we think he’s a good pitcher,” Dombrowski said. “And we think he’s healthy.”
Though Dombrowski acknowledged that there’s always some risk involved when signing pitchers, he said Penny has the upside to be much more than a fifth starter.
“He does not have back of the rotation stuff,” Dombrowski said, before praising the right-hander’s mid-90s fastball, breaking ball and change-up.
Now that the Tigers have added the two-time All-Star to their rotation, Dombrowski says the team’s rotation projects to be better than it was a year ago. Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello are still developing, Justin Verlander is one of the best pitchers in the game and the Tigers believe in Phil Coke’s ability to transition to the rotation.
“We’re happy,” Dombrowski said of his team’s offseason. “I think a lot of clubs say that and I’ll be a lot happier if we’re playing late into October.”
One day after agreeing to terms with him on a $2.3MM contract for 2011, the Tigers have designated Armando Galarraga for assignment. The team announced the move on Twitter, while making its deal with Brad Penny official.
Galarraga's contract is non-guaranteed, though the Tigers would owe him termination pay if they were to release him.
Some items from around the majors...
- The Angels aren't one of the teams reportedly still interested in Rafael Soriano, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. The Yankees are "still trying," in spite of their earlier statements to the contrary.
- Charlie Manuel's agent tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that Manuel and the Phillies have a mutual interest in working out a contract extension before Opening Day. Manuel has one year left on his current deal, and Salisbury speculates that he's looking for a two-year extension worth roughly $4MM per season.
- Armando Galarraga is out of options, eligible for arbitration and has probably been squeezed out of the Detroit rotation by Brad Penny, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com. If Galarraga gets too large of a salary bump in arbitration, the Tigers could choose to trade or just release him before Opening Day.
- The Angels' quiet offseason has been heavily criticized, but Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reminds us that the Halos still have a very solid team.
- If the Twins don't re-sign Jim Thome, Kelly Thesier of MLB.com says the team could return to what it was looking for last winter: a right-handed hitting backup option in the outfield or at first base. Thesier cites Jorge Cantu and Troy Glaus as possibilities, and we've heard the Padres were considering the same two players. The Twins could also dip into the rest of the DH market, or look to upgrade their bullpen.
- There isn't much historial evidence to suggest that Josh Beckett will return to his ace form over the long run, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
There are still over 100 free agents out there, but the Tigers could pass on all of them now that they've added another arm to their rotation. GM Dave Dombrowski agreed to sign Brad Penny to a one-year deal worth $3MM plus incentives, capping a busy offseason.
Penny's agreement with the Detroit means Jeremy Bonderman loses a suitor. The longtime Tiger won't return to the Motor City, but Bonderman can take solace in the fact that Penny signed a deal worth $3MM plus incentives after missing the final four months of the season. Like Penny, Bonderman, Jeff Francis, Chris Young and Justin Duchscherer have dealt with injuries in the past couple seasons, but they're drawing legitimate interest nonetheless.
The deal also impacts Armando Galarraga, who will now have to overcome serious competition to win the fifth starter's job. Before the Spring Training battle begins, Galarraga and the Tigers will determine the right-hander's 2011 salary; he's arbitration eligible for the first time.
I wonder if Jonathan Sanchez's name could come up as a comparable pitcher. Sanchez, who's one year ahead of Galarraga in terms of service time, had similar career numbers last offseason (4.81 ERA, 429 K, 214 BB in 413 1/3 innings) to the ones Galarraga has now (4.49 ERA, 301 K, 186 BB in 475 1/3 innings). The Giants paid Sanchez $2.1MM for the 2010 season. Interestingly, both pitchers even approached pitching perfection in their final pre-arbitration seasons - Sanchez with a no-hitter and Galarraga with a near-perfect game.
Penny's deal sends the Tigers' offseason spending over the $100MM mark, as MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows. The team has now committed $102.25MM to Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit, Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Magglio Ordonez and Penny.
Tigers catchers will have to handle some of the hardest throwers in the game in 2011. Dombrowski has added Penny (94.1 mph fastball in 2010) and Benoit (94 mph) to a staff that already included Justin Verlander (95.4 mph), Ryan Perry (95.4 mph), Jose Valverde (95.2 mph) and Max Scherzer (93.2 mph).
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
Wednesday night linkage..
- The Royals could use Robinson Tejeda as a trade chip, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweets that the Tigers signed first baseman Scott Thorman. Thorman belted 22 homers for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate last season.
- Joel Zumaya and Armando Galarraga are unlikely to be nontendered, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- It's going to be a while before we see Cliff Lee sign with a team, a league source told Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- Sam Merten of the Dallas Observer wonders if the Rangers have the money and desire to keep up their winning ways.
- It makes sense for the Tigers to retain Magglio Ordonez, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic likes the D-Backs' signing of Wily Mo Pena.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that Terry Collins' name has popped up in connection with the Mets' managerial search. Collins spent the 2010 season as minor league field coordinator with the organization.
- The Rockies have not expressed interest in Brandon Webb, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- Armando Galarraga qualified as a Super Two, which puts him in a unique spot according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- Anthony McCarron of The New York Daily News reports that Royce Ring has elected free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster by the Yankees (Twitter link).
- Former Yankee right-hander Darrell Rasner has signed a one-year deal with an option for 2012 with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reports Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. Rasner has played in Japan since 2008.
- Heyman spoke to Adrian Gonzalez's agent, who mentioned Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, and Ryan Howard are contract comparables (Twitter link). It's pretty clear that they're seeking upwards of $22MM annually.
- Meanwhile, Padres GM Jed Hoyer has spoken to Jerry Hairston Jr.'s agent about bringing the utility player back to San Diego next season according to MLB.com's Corey Brock. Hairston has indicated that he'd like to return to the team.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that a competing executive sees the Nationals signing Carlos Pena. The team is emphasizing defense, which Pena excels at, and GM Mike Rizzo has a strong relationship with his agent Scott Boras.
- Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post hears from a source close to the team that the Nats will in fact pursue Brandon Webb this offseason. We heard rumblings about potential mutual interest between the two sides last month.
- Boras indicated that he's received "a lot of early calls" about Magglio Ordonez according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. If the outfielder is going to return to Detroit, it won't happen quickly; he and Boras are going to see what the market has to offer.
MLBTR has an update on major league signings for today based on e-mail communication with Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. His article is here.
Florida Marlins - Anibal Sanchez, $400,000
L.A. Angels - Jered Weaver, $465,000
Arizona Diamondbacks - Tony Pena, $430,000
Detroit Tigers - Armando Galarraga, $430,000
San Francisco Giants - Jonathan Sanchez, $455,000
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News expects the Tigers to make a trade before the regular season, "perhaps a big one." Henning writes that the team could trade away starting pitching if Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis are healthy. Henning also mentions Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn as possible trade candidates.
Willis and Robertson each have considerable negative trade value, as they'll both make at least $7MM in 2009 and 2010. Unless the Tigers are willing to pay most of that, they'd have to trade one of their other starters: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson or Zach Miner. Trading one of those starters would leave the Tigers with a thin rotation.
The Tigers don't have a starting spot for Thames if Gary Sheffield stays healthy.
According to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, the Tigers could trade a starting pitcher. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski listed off seven Tigers starters and said "trade possibilities come up" involving the team's pitching.
This doesn't mean Dombrowski seriously considered dealing pitching. The Tigers go to Spring Training with Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Zach Miner. They have more arms than rotation spots, but this is by no means a deep rotation.
Some Saturday odds and ends to mull over...
- The Yankees considered bringing Octavio Dotel back, but wouldn't go two years on him.
- Richard Justice thinks Astros GM Ed Wade is making a mistake by setting a deadline and going to arbitration hearings with Jose Valverde and Mark Loretta. I doubt the Astros wanted Loretta to accept their offer of arbitration in the first place, but they took the $4-5MM gamble hoping to get a draft pick. But they actively sought out Valverde, and this might not bode well for him staying past 2009.
- Can't promise anything, but my source is saying Brad Wilkerson is likely to become a Mariner on a one-year deal. Put this in the unconfirmed category for now.
- Did the Rangers DFA Armando Galarraga in anticipation of including him in a trade?
- Troy Tulowitzki explanation: he can opt out of his $15MM club option for 2014 if he's traded. Tracy Ringolsby also reports that Garrett Atkins had unfruitful extension talks with the Rox last year and would still like to stay.
- "No substantive negotiations" on a multiyear deal for Ryan Zimmerman.
- Casey Blake's agent put in a counteroffer but hasn't heard back from the Indians yet; the two sides are $1.5MM apart on his '08 salary.