Results tagged ‘ Brad Penny ’

Penny steps off plane, arrives at Spring Training

The first official workout for Tigers pitchers and catchers isn’t until
Monday, but it was hard to tell from the procession of pitchers throwing
off the back mounds at Tigertown Friday morning. Most os f the pitchers
in camp are already here. That now includes Brad Penny, who stepped off
his red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Orlando and went straight to
Lakeland for his first workout in Tigers gear.

“Couldn’t wait to get here,” Penny said Friday morning.

Considering he hasn’t pitched in a game since last May, he’s had it with
waiting. The oblique injury that ended his season early is now a thing
of the past, but the time off might pay off dividends this year. Because
he had so much time this offseason, he more this winter than usual. In
past years, he said, he’d throw one bullpen session before reporting to
camp. He has several under his belt now, though Friday wasn’t his day to throw. He worked out with the pitchers and hit the weight room.

Penny won’t need long to feel at home. He received the Spring Training
locker at the start of the pitching corridor, previously occupied by
Todd Jones and Jeremy Bonderman. Max Scherzer, Phil Coke, Jose Valverde,
Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander are down the line.

For those who were wondering, Penny will wear number 31, Zach Miner’s old digits.

Galarraga officially hits the trading block

The Cubs are on the verge of sending Tom Gorzelanny to Washington for
prospects. Joe Blanton no longer looks like a sure bet to be traded out
of Philadelphia. The quality of the remaining free-agent market drops
precipitously after Carl Pavano.

What’s a team looking for starting pitching left to do?

Could they go for Armando Galarraga?

That’s what Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is counting
on. He’s strong enough about it that he thinks he stands a better
chance of trading Galarraga now than Spring Training. Otherwise, he
probably wouldn’t have designated him for assignment Tuesday to make
room for Brad Penny.

Instead of waiting until March, the Tigers have 10 days to try to deal Galarraga.

“I’m confident,” Dombrowski said Tuesday when asked about his chances of
finding a trade partner for his former fifth starter. “You never know
until you get it done. We’ve had enough  clubs express some interest.
It’s not like I have a for-sure deal, but I do have enough clubs that
have asked me about him.”

By no means is Galarraga an answer for teams looking for a front-line
starter. For teams needing a fifth starter who has been through a few
seasons, though, Galarraga is an option. That list could be longer than
expected, now that waiting for the Tigers to release Galarraga in Spring
Training is no longer an option.

The Tigers’ return for Galarraga might be only marginally better than
what they received last spring for Nate Robertson. Galarraga doesn’t
have an untradeable contract, or a significant injury history, but he’s
coming off an up-and-down season and a stretch.

Considering Galarraga’s issues with attacking the strike zone last
summer, he’s the type of pitcher who might benefit from a pitching coach
who views him as a bit of a project to restore his confidence.

The Tigers could still end up bringing Galarraga to camp if no team
claims him on waiver. He could then be outrighted to Triple-A Toledo and
brought to Spring Training as a non-roster invite. But with the Tigers
rotation clearly set, and prospects Andy Oliver, Charlie Furbush and
Jacob Turner also likely to get stretched out in terms of innings, the
Tigers could have a problem finding the innings to showcase Galarraga
for anybody.

Tigers, Penny agree to terms on one-year deal

The Tigers and Brad Penny closed in Monday evening on what is expected to be have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, has learned. The deal is pending a physical. reported early Tuesday morning that the one-year deal should be worth $3 million in base salary plus incentives. The Tigers would not confirm an agreement, per their policy of not commenting on specific free agents.
Penny tweeted on his official account Monday night that he was “getting closer to finding my new home. Should know by the end of the day.” He did not tweet which team, but indications later confirmed he has decided on the Tigers. 
That possibility seemed dim Monday, when the team released its list of non-roster invitees that was expected to would finalize its Spring Training roster. Their chances at adding a starting pitcher suddenly improved Monday evening, when Penny closed in on a decision.
The Tigers’ interest in Penny has been known since last month. They also have been linked to free agent starters Jeremy Bonderman — who pitched for Detroit the past eight years — and Freddy Garcia, but always appeared more focused on Penny. Talks never progressed far on Garcia or Bonderman.
Penny, who has seen his Twitter following more than double since the New Year, ranks among the better free agents left on the market in these final weeks of the offseason. He certainly has a familiarity factor in the Detroit front office. Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski gave Penny his first shot in the big leagues more than a decade ago as general manager of the Florida Marlins, who acquired Penny from Arizona in a trade for Matt Mantei in 1999 and put him in their rotation a year later. 
Since then, the right-hander has spent all but 24 starts of his 11-year career in the National League, including nine solid starts last year with the Cardinals before a strained right lat in late May persisted into a season-ending injury. His lone American League experience was a stretch in 2009 with the Red Sox, where he posted a 7-8 record and 5.21 ERA before getting his release and promptly finding his form in a late-season stint for the Giants.
Still, as long as he’s healthy, there are reasons to believe the 32-year-old is more than a National League pitcher with AL struggles.  First, the AL experience was less than a full season in Boston, with a hitter-friendly home ballpark and a selection of formidable lineups in the AL East. His .487 slugging percentage allowed with the Red Sox was by far the highest mark of his career, while his .838 OPS allowed in the same stretch was 97 points above his career number in that category.
Just as important, at this point in his career, coming off injury, he fits the profile of a low-risk, high-reward signing that would fit the Tigers’ needs. Dombrowski said last week that any signing they did make would most likely be with a one-year contract. That would especially follow for starting pitching as long as they hold onto top pitching prospects Andy Oliver and Jacob Turner, both of whom could be ready for the big leagues by season’s end and compete for rotation spots in 2012. 
The deal with Penny is expected to finish out the Tigers’ offseason dealings. Detroit is believed to be set with its position players, including invites, barring an unforeseen development. They briefly had interest in Fred Lewis earlier this offseason as a reserve outfielder, but talks didn’t progress far.

Could Freddy return to Detroit? Maybe, but not likely

The Tigers helped get Freddy Garcia back on the mound a few years ago after shoulder surgery, then watched him help thwart their division hopes with the White Sox the following season. Now that Garcia is a free agent again and the Tigers need some starting competition, would a reunion in Detroit be possible, or has he burned his bridges here?

It’s possible, though unlikely at this point. Tigers officials at least pondered the idea this offseason, and Garcia is believed to be open to it. But all indications point towards Brad Penny and Jeremy Bonderman getting more consideration from the Tigers right now as they look for a veteran starter to push Armando Galarraga for the fifth starter spot.

On the list of back-end starting options, the Tigers certainly could do worse.

Garcia went 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts down the stretch for Detroit in 2008 after missing more than a year rehabbing from labrum surgery. More shoulder trouble in winter ball helped keep the Tigers off him that offseason. He rejoined the White Sox, where he helped win a World Series in 2005, and went 15-10 in Chicago over the last two seasons, but with a 4.56 ERA and 27 home runs allowed over 213 combined innings.

Garcia throws with even less velocity now than he had a few years ago, but he gets more results out of less pure stuff than a lot of pitchers in his situation. As one scout put it, he pitches like he can throw 95 mph. He also has as much experience with AL Central hitters as anyone on the market — 36 plate appearances against Justin Morneau (6-for-29), 35 PAs versus Joe Mauer (13-for-31), 36 with Travis Hafner (15-for-33) and 34 against Jim Thome (5-for-23).

There’s also the 18-7 record he sports against the Tigers, including 2-1 with a 4.39 ERA in five meetings with Detroit last year. His seven innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts at Detroit on the final Saturday of the 2009 season was a major blow in the Tigers’ division collapse, dropping them into a tie with the Twins.