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 Tigers, D-backs nearing Galarraga deal

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PostSubject: Tigers, D-backs nearing Galarraga deal   Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:47 pm


Armando Galarraga


Kevin Eichhorn

Tigers, D-backs nearing Galarraga deal
Detroit would receive two players in return for right-hander
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 01/24/11 12:48 PM EST

DETROIT -- For the second time in seven months, the Tigers are poised to send one of their former starting pitchers to Arizona. This time, it's Armando Galarraga, whose trade to the D-backs could be completed as soon as Monday.

A deal has been more a matter of "when" than "if" since Saturday. Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said at TigerFest that afternoon that talks were progressing with multiple clubs and that a trade was likely by the middle of the week. Soon after, the D-backs emerged as front-runners.

A source told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that the likely deal would send Minor League right-hander Kevin Eichhorn to the Tigers along with another player. Arizona would pick up the bulk of Galarraga's contract, set to be $2.3 million if he makes the team. The D-backs could still release him in Spring Training and owe him just a fraction of that as termination pay -- just under $380,000 if he's released by March 15 or $569,000 if he's released at the end of Spring Training.

Whatever happens in Arizona, it's a bizarre end to a whirlwind ride in Detroit over the past eight months for Galarraga, who went from a rather anonymous fifth starter to a national celebrity with one historic outing. He retired the first 26 batters he faced last June 2, putting him within an out of a perfect game, when umpire Jim Joyce missed a call at first base on a ground ball by Cleveland's Jason Donald.

What would've been a mess of a story became a lesson in sportsmanship thanks to Galarraga, whose graciousness and willingness to publicly forgive Joyce soothed over anger from fans and teammates alike. The two had an emotional meeting after the game, then shook hands at home plate before the next day's game.

Galarraga hoped that game would be a springboard for him to a breakout season that would establish him as a Major League starter. Instead, he won just two games over his remaining 21 starts for the season. When he pitched well, he was often short on run support, including seven quality starts that didn't earn him victories. When the offense did score for him, he struggled with low consistency and high pitch counts. The sum total was a 4-9 record and a 4.49 ERA.

Not since Eric Hillman in 1993 had a Major League pitcher won four games or fewer in a season when they posted a 4.50 ERA or less over at least 140 innings. Just three others besides Hillman had pulled off that feat since '85: Larry McWilliams and Zane Smith in '89 and John Dopson in '88. Galarraga was the first American League pitcher to do it since Frank Tanana in '81.

Galarraga's frustration became more evident as the summer unfolded, culminating in a mid-August meltdown against the White Sox that included a heated argument in the dugout with catchers Alex Avila and Gerald Laird. It came back to whether he was able to pitch aggressively and attack the strike zone.

The Tigers penciled him into the back of their rotation for 2011, but their preference to find another candidate became evident as the offseason continued. Once they officially signed Brad Penny to a one-year contract, they made room for him on the roster by designating Galarraga for assignment last Tuesday, just hours after they avoided arbitration with Galarraga.

Galarraga, who turned 29 years old this month, went 23-26 with a 4.55 ERA in 84 games for Detroit, 77 of them starts. He led the Tigers with 13 wins as a rookie in 2008.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers, D-backs nearing Galarraga deal   Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:14 pm

Last Updated: January 24. 2011 5:52PM
Tigers trade Armando Galarraga to Diamondbacks for two pitchers
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit — He didn't have to be perfect. He just had to be good enough to win.

But after the well-known peak and subsequent valleys of last year, the Tigers decided that Armando Galarraga wasn't as good — or at least not as likely to win — as Brad Penny, his replacement in the rotation Two days after general manager Dave Dombrowski said at TigerFest that it was "likely" that Galarraga would soon get traded, he was.

They dealt him on Monday to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two minor-league pitchers, Kevin Eichhorn, a right-hander, and Ryan Robowski, a lefty.

Eichhorn is the son of former major-league pitcher Mark Eichhorn.

Neither prospect is on the verge of making it to the majors.

"We look at both of the guys as sort of fringe-type prospects," Dombrowski said. "They're not your blue-chip guys, but guys that we think will pitch at the big-league level.

"In Eichhorn's case, we look at him as someone who'll most likely go to West Michigan. We're having Robowski assigned to our Florida State League (Lakeland) roster.

"I talked with Armando earlier and thanked him," Dombrowski said. "I told him I thought this was a good opportunity for him, that Arizona was aggressive in trying to get him, and that he has a real strong chance to start for them.

"It was a good match for everybody involved, the best-case scenario really." Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't promise Galarraga a spot in the rotation, though.

"He is a quality pitcher that will compete for a spot with all the other starting pitchers this spring," Towers said in the team's announcement of the deal.

Although there were a "handful" of teams seriously interested, said Dombrowski, it had been known since late Saturday that Arizona was the probable landing spot for Galarraga.

The right-hander will be remembered, of course, for one game far more than the other 76 he started as a Tiger. On June 2 at Comerica Park, Galarraga pitched a perfect game according to all but the man who had the last say in the matter, umpire Jim Joyce.

Joyce called Cleveland's Jason Donald safe at first instead of what he was — out. Despite being gracious in his disappointment about the call, Galarraga never really recovered from it, winning just two of his last 21 starts for the Tigers and just one of his last 17.

He ended up 4-9 for the year with a 4.49 ERA. In three years with the Tigers he went 23-26 with a 4.55 ERA.

Eichhorn started 13 games for rookie-level Missoula in the Pioneer League in 2010, going 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.

Robowski pitched in 35 games with Single-A Visalia in 2010. He went 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA, with 51 strikeouts in 54 innings.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110124/SPORTS0104/101240407/Tigers-trade-Armando-Galarraga-to-Diamondbacks-for-two-pitchers#ixzz1C0cWMobM


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