Brad Penny Rumors

Olney On Angels, Penny

The Cardinals’ bullpen struggled early on in the 2011 season but recovered to help St. Louis win the World Series. This provides hope for teams with early-season bullpen issues such as the Angels, as Buster Olney explained at this morning. Here are some more notes from Olney:

  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says the club needs to restore Jordan Walden’s confidence. "We need for Jordan to be good,” he said. “He's going to be an important part of things here."
  • The Angels are struggling for many reasons in Dipoto’s view, but the bullpen remains a clear area of concern, especially with recent injuries to Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins. Dipoto acquired Ernesto Frieri from the Padres over the weekend.
  • Brad Penny has offers from MLB teams to start or pitch out of the bullpen, Olney reports. Penny, who recently became a free agent, expects to choose a team soon. He had been dealing with shoulder issues while under contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

SoftBank Hawks Release Brad Penny

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have released right-hander Brad Penny at his request after just one start in Japan, according to this Sanspo article passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (Twitter link). The right-hander signed with the Hawks this past offseason, but shoulder pain sidelined him for much of the past month and he appeared to have trouble adapting to Japanese baseball.

"It was the individual's strong desire to leave," according to the team. 

Penny and the SoftBank Hawks agreed to a $4MM contract with $3.5MM in performance bonuses this February. The 33-year-old Legacy Sports client posted a 5.30 ERA with 3.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 181 2/3 innings for the Tigers last season.

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Brad Penny Signs With SoftBank Hawks

4:48pm: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Penny's deal contains a $4.5MM mutual option that becomes a player option if he pitches 150 innings or wins 12 games.

1:32pm: Penny's contract is worth $4MM plus $3.5MM in performance bonuses, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  A source tells Rosenthal (via Twitter) that Penny's deal is the largest ever given to an American pitcher in his first year with a Japanese team.

10:34am: Brad Penny has signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to the team's website (Japanese link).  Penny's deal is for one year and $3MM, plus performance bonuses, according to a report from the Yomiuri Shimbun passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.'s Jerry Crasnick recently reported that Penny was weighing an opportunity with the Hawks.  The 33-year-old posted a 5.30 ERA with 3.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 31 starts for the Tigers last season.

The Chunichi Dragons have also picked up a former Major Leaguer in reliever Jorge Sosa, according to Sanspo (Japanese link).  Newman writes that Sosa received a $100K signing bonus in addition to his $300K salary.

Japan Notes: Penny, Kawakami

Some news about players who could be playing in the Far East in 2012…

  • Brad Penny is "weighing an opportunity" with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  Penny, 33, missed most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury but rebounded to pitch 181 2/3 innings in 31 starts with the Tigers last season, though he only managed a 5.30 ERA, an 11 H/9 rate and a 1.19 K/BB ratio.  Crasnick hears from a source that two Major League teams were interested in Penny, but it's not clear if either team actually made Penny an offer.
  • Multiple reports out of Japan say Kenshin Kawakami is close to signing a one-year deal with the Chunichi Dragons (passed on by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman).  Kawakami starred for Chunichi in the first 11 years of his pro career before signing a three-year, $23MM deal with the Braves before the 2009 season.  Kawakami posted a 4.32 ERA in 50 games for Atlanta (41 of them starts) and spent all of last season in the minors.

AL East Notes: Cole, Penny, Davis, Vlad

A few AL East links, as the Orioles enjoy first place…

Tigers ‘Confident’ In Market For Galarraga

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.”

Tigers To Sign Brad Penny

The Tigers have officially agreed to sign Brad Penny to a one-year, $3MM deal, according to Jon Heyman of (Twitter link).'s Buster Olney, who first reported the agreement, says the deal includes up to $3MM in incentives for the Legacy Sports client (Twitter link).

Penny will compete with Armando Galarraga at the back of a Tigers rotation that's led by Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke. After starting the 2010 season with nine strong starts, Penny missed four months with a right shoulder strain. The 32-year-old's season line includes a 3.23 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and a career high 52.8% ground ball rate.

Penny has spent nearly his entire career in the National League and his one stint in the American League went poorly. The Red Sox signed him before the 2009 season and he posted a 5.61 ERA in 131 2/3 innings for Boston. As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, this isn't the first time Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has acquired Penny. He obtained him for the Marlins from the Diamondbacks in 1999.

Click here to read about the fallout from the deal.

Olney and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that Penny was nearing a deal with the Tigers after the right-hander hinted at one on his Twitter account.

Fallout From The Brad Penny Deal

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 FrancisChris Young and Justin Duchscherer have dealt with injuries in the past couple seasons, but they're drawing legitimate interest nonetheless.

PennyThe 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 MartinezJoaquin 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.

Tigers On Verge Of Deal With Brad Penny

TUESDAY, 7:30am: The Tigers are on the verge of signing Penny to a one-year, $3MM deal, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The hard-throwing righty will be able to earn more through incentives in his second American League stint.

MONDAY, 8:22pm: ESPN's Buster Olney hears that the Tigers are the frontrunner for Penny's services (Twitter link). He would step in as their number five starter. 

6:55pm: Brad Penny has drawn interest from a few teams this offseason, most notably the Tigers, and it appears he's close to making a decision about where he'll spend the 2011 season. The right-hander said he was "[g]etting close to finding [his] new home" on his Twitter account, and that he "[s]hould know by the end of the day."

The 32-year-old Penny missed the final four-plus months of the 2010 season with a shoulder strain, but he had pitched to a 3.23 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, and a career high 52.8% ground ball rate in 55 2/3 innings with the Cardinals before the injury. If we remove his ugly 2009 stint with the Red Sox (5.61 ERA in 131 2/3 innings), Penny has pitched to a 3.82 ERA in over 900 innings since 2004. 

Penny's injury did not require surgery, which is always good news, but the Cardinals still have "little enthusiasm" in re-signing him. Their front three was already stacked with Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Jaime Garcia, but they then added Jake Westbrook to the mix at the trade deadline and have since re-signed him. The Yankees, Mets, Orioles, Indians, Nationals, and Rockies are known to be seeking rotation help, though none have been connected to Penny in recent weeks.

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Tigers Continue Pursuit Of Brad Penny

The Tigers are still pursuing Brad Penny as they look to add depth to their starting rotation, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Morosi reported last month that the Tigers were considering Penny, who missed most of the 2010 season with a right shoulder strain. Later that day, GM Dave Dombrowski explained that the Tigers are comfortable with their pitching staff, but open to additions.

Penny posted a 3.23 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 55 2/3 innings for the Cardinals last year before going on the disabled list in May. The 32-year-old has spent nearly his entire career in the National League and his one stint in the American League went poorly. The Red Sox signed him before the 2009 season and he posted a 5.61 ERA in 131 2/3 innings for Boston.

Justin VerlanderMax ScherzerRick Porcello and Phil Coke will likely start for the Tigers, who appear interested in providing Armando Galarraga with some competition for the fifth rotation spot. Dombrowski recently told Tom Gage of the Detroit News that the Tigers are keeping an open mind about free agent starter Jeremy Bonderman.