Last week the Detroit Tigers designated right handed starter Armando Galarraga for assignment, only days after signing him to a one year, $2.3 M deal. Detroit is currently engaging in trade talks for the right hander, and a deal is “likely”, according to Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski.
Rob Biertempfel mentions that the Pirates have some interest in Galarraga, and speculates that they have money to spend to acquire Galarraga, since they made a serious offer to Carl Pavano recently. However, Biertempfel spoke to a trusted source who didn’t see the deal happening.
Galarraga is coming off a year where he pitched 144.1 innings, with a 4.49 ERA. He is most famously known for his incident early in the season when umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base, costing him the final out in what would have been a perfect game. Despite the near-perfect game, and the ERA, Galarraga doesn’t represent an upgrade to the Pirates’ rotation. He had a 4.6 K/9 and a 3.2 BB/9 ratio in 2010, and was on the lucky side, with a .268 BABIP and an 8.9 HR/FB ratio. His xFIP was 5.44.
His best year in the majors was in 2008, when he had a 3.73 ERA in 178.2 innings, along with a 6.4 K/9, and a 3.1 BB/9. He was also on the lucky side that year with a .247 BABIP, although his xFIP was 4.49. He struggled with his walk rate in 2009 (4.2 BB/9), saw his strikeout rate drop in 2010, and has always had issues with home runs, with a 1.42 HR/9 ratio.
Galarraga isn’t an upgrade over James McDonald, Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, or Kevin Correia, and the Pirates would be better off with a competition between Charlie Morton, Scott Olsen, and Brad Lincoln for their fifth starter spot, rather than giving the spot to Galarraga. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like the Pirates are the team that will be making the deal with Detroit.