Zach Miner signs with Royals

The Tigers had every intent at keeping Zach Miner after they designated the right-hander for assignment last month, and Miner had plenty of interest in sticking with Detroit. But there was more interest in Miner than one might expect for a swing pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery.
And when it came down to picking a deal, Miner said, the Royals were a better opportunity for him. Kansas City announced its minor-league contract with Miner on Friday. (UPDATE: Miner will earn $950,000 if he spends the entire season with the big club, any DL time included. That’s the same salary for which he signed with the Tigers last year.)
“There were a few teams that checked in, and the Tigers and the Royals were the most aggressive,” Miner wrote in an email to MLB.com. “But in the end, we just felt like KC was going to be a very good opportunity going forward, not only for this year, but for a few years down the road.”
The prevailing thought a month ago was that no team would value Miner more coming off surgery than the Tigers, who knew what they had in him after four seasons in Detroit. But the Tigers also had it clear that they envision Miner as a reliever, not a starter, and they go into 2011 with potentially few openings in their bullpen between the addition of Joaquin Benoit and the development of their young relievers.
Kansas City, on the other hand, has openings abound, including in the rotation, and Miner said the Royals feel like he could start. 
It wasn’t an easy decision for Miner, who goes from being able to drive to Spring Training from his Florida home to now trekking to Arizona. But it was arguably the best decision for his career.
“I really enjoyed being a Tiger,” Miner said, “and loved playing for Jim Leyland.”
The Royals have seen enough of Miner to know what they’re getting if he’s healthy. He has pitched more innings in his career against Kansas City (49) than against any other opponent, going 5-4 with a 4.22 ERA in seven starts and 10 relief appearances.
What this means for Detroit isn’t clear quite yet, and might not be until we know how soon Miner is ready to pitch in games this coming season and how Joel Zumaya looks heading into camp. If Zumaya’s ready and Ryan Perry matures as a reliever, the relief corps is pretty well stocked from the seventh inning on. With both Miner and Eddie Bonine gone, though, the Tigers have lost their two experienced right-handed long relievers, as well as two ground-ball specialists. The Tigers might add another minor-league invite for depth, but at first glance, there’s a good opportunity for Robbie Weinhardt to make this team out of camp.

5 Comments

Management was stubbornly against Miner being a starter right up to the bitter end. That’s bad management on the part of both Dombrowski and Leyland, IMO.
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–Rich

Agreed, Rich. They seem to only want potential aces getting a regular chance to start. It’s like they saw a ceiling on Miner of 12 wins and a 4.25 era and figured he wasn’t that great…but we would love to have had that type of production in the rotation the last few years. Good luck to Zach.

any recent rumors on whether the tigers are on any of the remaining free agents? last i heard, they were among the teams interested in brad penny but nothing further over the holidays. penny is coming off injury, so not sure if he’d even be ready for spring training.

further on penny…dombrowski when marlins gm, acquired him in a matt mantei trade. so there is a familiarity there that might make a small difference. penny was pitching in good form through the first month of the season until he got hurt. could be the #5 starter with upside if he can stay healthy.

Happy New Year Tiger fans. Long time to post for me, haven’t really been reading either so I apologize if I missed anything major in your lives. I am happy we kept Maggs, I think he still has the ability after his success the first part of last season, I just hope he can stay injury free for the year. Has anyone heard anything on Carlos Guillen? I probably have to give in and say he is done but my heart will always want him on the team. Not surprised to hear about Miner, I just hope we don’t get haunted by him when we have to play the Royals, that seems to be a problem for us.

Well, with spring training a few months away I will start paying attention again. Got Tiger golf club covers for Christmas and a Tiger can coolie so I am refreshed and ready.

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