Published January 18, 2011
The Detroit Tigers appear ready to part ways with Armando Galarraga, the right-hander who missed a perfect game last season when an umpire's wrong call cost him what would have been the final out.
In an odd procedural move, the Tigers designated Galarraga for assignment Tuesday, almost immediately after agreeing to a $2.3 million, one-year contract with him. Detroit also finalized its one-year deal with Brad Penny, bumping Galarraga from the starting rotation.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers will now try to trade Galarraga.
"There are clubs looking for starters right now," Dombrowski said. "If we can find him a home in a rotation somewhere, that's what we'll be trying to do."
Detroit has 10 days to make a move with Galarraga. If he isn't traded, he could be sent to the minors.
Galarraga went 4-9 with a 4.49 ERA last year. By agreeing to a deal with the 29-year-old pitcher, the Tigers avoided salary arbitration.
Galarraga's bid for a perfect game last June was one of the signature moments of the season. With two outs in the ninth inning, umpire Jim Joyce ruled that Cleveland's Jason Donald was safe at first base. Joyce later admitted the call was wrong, and both he and Galarraga earned plaudits for handling the situation with class.
But Dombrowski figures the Detroit rotation is set with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Phil Coke and now Penny.
Dombrowski sounds confident he'll be able to trade Galarraga.
"It's not like I have a for-sure deal," he said. "But I do have enough clubs that have asked me about him."
Dombrowski admitted it was unusual to announce a contract agreement in the morning, then designate the same player for assignment later in the day.
"I've never had it happen," he said. "It's not an ideal scenario."
He said he talked with Galarraga on Tuesday and believes the pitcher would be fine with a move to a team he could start for on a regular basis.
Penny agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with the Tigers last week, with $3 million in performance bonuses.
The 32-year-old Penny is coming off an abbreviated season with the St. Louis Cardinals. He went on the disabled list in late May with a strain in his upper back, and although it was believed at the time to be a minor injury, he didn't pitch again. Penny went 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts.
"We gave him some very thorough physicals," Dombrowski said. "He passed all of them."
The previous season, Penny started 30 games for Boston and San Francisco.