Before I do, I want to point out that I was going to write a piece on what I consider to be a terrible off-season for the Tigers, but Jonah Keri wrote this piece for FanGraphs today. He’s not as hard on them as I would be, but it’s still a well-thought-out piece.
Plus, Jonah Keri rules so…buy his book in March. It’ll be the new ‘Moneyball’.
Today, the Detroit Tigers traded starting pitcher Armando Galarraga to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor-leaguers Kevin Eichhorn, a right-handed pitcher and Ryan Robowski, a left-hander.
Galarraga is well-known for his near-perfect game last season which was lost due to a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce.
Galarraga avoided arbitration with the Tigers by signing a one-year $2.3-million last week; he was then promptly placed on revocable waivers and designated for assignment.
For those who don’t know, revocable waivers is sort of a complicated process. When someone is placed on them, he can be claimed by any team in the league. If he is claimed by more than one team, the move is blocked; however, if he is claimed by only one team, there is a decision to be made. The Tigers could have pulled Galarraga back, let him go to the Diamondbacks for nothing, or work out a trade with the claiming team.
This is probably the first move this offseason by Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski that I like. Galarraga had no place in the Tigers rotation for the upcoming year with the addition of Brad Penny and rather than non-tender Galarraga and effectively release him, the Tigers’ GM was able to turn him into two serviceable (albeit fringy) prospect pitchers.
Eichhorn is the son of former major-league pitcher Mark Eichhorn and was a two-way player in high school as both a pitcher and a short stop. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft by the D’Backs.
He is ostensibly a two-pitch pitcher possessing a fastball in the 88-91mph range with solid arm-side break and an average curve. His command is advanced for a pitcher of his age (about to turn 21); he posted a very solid 1.9 BB/9 rate mostly with the Pioneer Rookie League’s Missoula Osprey.
Eichhorn is still a ways from the major leagues but might see action as high as AA this season if he continues to show improvement. With only two effective pitches, he’s likely no more than a middle-reliever in the future.
There isn’t much info on Robowski out there, but he was a 16th round draft pick by Arizona in 2009 and posted a 5.17 ERA in 35 relief appearances in 2010 with high-class-A Visalia.
He’s slightly older than Eichhorn at nearly 23, but also exhibited solid command with a 2.7 BB/9 rate and a 3.19 K/BB ratio.
As for Galarraga, the Diamondbacks are getting a pitcher who can, when he’s on, dominate a game, but has trouble staying consistent. He’s past the point where he can be considered a high-ceiling player, but the D’Backs are getting a pitcher with some experience who is a solid back-of-the-rotation starter on a decent team.