When the Detroit Tigers signed starting pitcher and former Arizona Diamondback Brad Penny to a contract it began a domino effect that is still rumbling around Major League Baseball. In order to make room for Penny on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated starting pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment.
This is the same Galarraga who received national attention last season when his bid for a perfect game was broken up by a questionable call by first base umpire Jim Joyce. Both Galarraga and Joyce showed humanity and compassion after Joyce admitted his mistake and Galarraga accepted the umpire’s tearful apology.
Just a few short months after that historic event, Galarraga found himself about to be unemployed. The Tigers had one week to either try to trade the pitcher or allow him to become a free agent.
Given the rather shallow market for starting pitching, the Tigers were said to have several teams interested in trading for Galarraga. One team that didn’t seem to be a fit was the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona had just signed Aaron Heilman with the stipulation that he would be allowed to compete for a spot in the already full starting rotation. It therefore came as a surprise to learn that the Diamondbacks were the leading candidate in the Galarraga sweepstakes.
The Diamondbacks offered minor league pitcher Kevin Eichhorn and another player to Detroit in exchange for Galarraga. The Diamondbacks will assume the entirety of Galarraga’s $2.3 million contract for 2011.
This deal will mean a substantial amount of competition will occur during Spring Training as seven pitchers compete for five rotation spots. That is not a bad place to be and Arizona will have what they have been desperately been lacking the past two years—pitching depth.
Hopefully this deal works out better than the last two the Diamondbacks have made with the Tigers. Edwin Jackson and Dontrelle Willis weren’t exactly the kind of returns you want to see out of a team’s trades.