The Tigers announced that they have signed righty Zack Godley. He’ll receive a minor-league deal with an invitation to participate in MLB camp.
There’s a $1.5MM salary if Godley can crack the roster, with another $1.5MM in available incentives, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets. Godley also receives a March 23rd opt-out date to force the Tigers’ hand. If all goes well Godley can elect free agency at season’s end rather than being subject to the arbitration process.
Godley looks to be an intriguing buy-low candidate for the Detroit organization. He has at times demonstrated an intriguing blend of skills that could make him quite a valuable starter. But more recent struggles forced the 29-year-old into a make-good, minor-league arrangement.
Last year, Godley limped through 92 innings of 5.97 ERA pitching, generating only 6.9 K/9 to go with 4.1 BB/9 and a 43.0% groundball rate. That was a far cry from his excellent 2017 season, when he ran up 155 frames of 3.37 ERA ball while striking out 9.6 and walking only 3.1 per nine and generating grounders at a hefty 55.3% rate. Godley wasn’t quite as effective in 2018 but still carried sub-4.00 FIP and xFIP numbers.
Godley has been hampered of late by a loss of fastball velocity, though it did trend up over the course of the season. He also increasingly experimented late in the ’19 campaign with abandoning his frequently used curve in favor of his cutter. Whether he’s already on track or still needs to find the right tweak, Godley will have to find a way to reverse the trends. If he can return to generating a combination of a 13+% swinging-strike rate and 50+% groundball rate, as he did in 2017, he could become a nice trade chip. If not, the Tigers will at least hope Godley can fill some innings in a respectable manner.