The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today they have acquired right-handed pitcher Armando Galarraga from the Detroit Tigers for right-handed pitcher Kevin Eichhorn and left-handed pitcher Ryan Robowski. "We are excited about the opportunity to acquire a pitcher of Armando Galarraga's ability a few weeks before the start of Spring Training," GM Kevin Towers said. "Armando is a quality pitcher as well as individual that will compete for a spot in our rotation with all of the other starting pitchers this spring."
Details on the players involved and some thoughts after the jump.
Over parts four Major League seasons with Texas (2007) and Detroit (2008-10), Galarrage has a 23-26 record and 4.58 ERAl, with 186 walks and 301 K's in 475.1 IP. His best season came in 2008, when he had a 13-7 record and 3.73 ERA, walking 61 walks and fanning 126 in 30 games and 178.2 IP, winning the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' Association Tigers' Rookie of the Year. He led AL rookies with 13 wins and 126 strikeouts and ranked third with a 3.73 ERA. Among all AL pitchers, he ranked second with a .226 opponents' BA and 7.66 hits allowed per 9 IP. His 126 K's established a team record for rookie right-handed pitchers and were the second-most by a rookie all-time.
He pitched for his native Venezuela in the 2009 WBC, but is probably best known for his phantom perfect game last season, where Galarraga was robbed of the feat by a blown call from first-base umpire Jim Joyce on the 27th out. The reaction of both men did them a lot of credit, and there's little doubt, at least in terms of character, Galarraga is a solid acquisition. However, he was deemed surplus to requirements by the Tigers after the acquisition of Brad Penny, and was designated for assignment hours after avoiding arbitration with Detroit, by agreeing to a $2.3 million contract for this year. The trade comes in the 10-day window which follows a DFA.
With that being his first year of eligibility, Galarraga is under Arizona control through 2013, having . However, Steve Gilbert reports, "Should the D-backs not be impressed with Galarraga during the spring, they could release him without having to pay his full salary since he was an arbitration-eligible player the Tigers signed. A team could release him by March 15 and owe him 30 days' termination pay, or just under $380,000. If he's released by March 30, he'd be owed 45 days' pay, or just under $569,000." I'd imagine that scenario is probably unlikely.
Eichhorn, 20, had a combined 5-6 record and 5.00 ERA (48 ER in 86.1) with 18 walks and 81 strikeouts in 15 starts for Single-A Advanced Visalia, Rookie-Advanced Missoula and Short-Season A Yakima in 2010. He was named the organization's pitcher of the month for July after going 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA (10 ER in 36.1 IP) and 4 quality starts in 6 outings for Missoula. Over parts of 3 seasons in the D-backs' farm system, he has posted a 5-8 record and 4.80 ERA (56 ER in 105.0 IP) with 28 walks and 108 strikeouts in 27 career games (15 starts). Eichhorn was selected in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Aptos (Calif.) High School.
Robowski, 22, posted a 2-4 record and 5.17 ERA (31 ER in 54.0 IP) with 16 walks and 51 strikeouts in 35 relief appearances for Single-A Advanced Visalia in 2010. In 2 seasons in the D-backs' farm system, he has a 5-7 record and 4.82 ERA (45 ER in 84.0 IP) with 22 walks and 74 strikeouts over 56 career relief outings. He was the D-backs' 16th-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Ohio Dominican University. Ir's also worth noting that to make room for Galarraga on the 40-man roster, the D-backs designated right-handed pitcher Rafael Rodriguez for assignment. He was part of the return from the Angels in the Haren trade.
By my reckoning, the news, along with the return of Micah Owings, means we have four pitchers competing for one spot. As well as Owings and Galarraga, Aaron Heilman and Barry Enright also figure to be in the mix. That's something which will likely be decided in spring training; I suspect I'll probably write something up, chewing over the four candidates, later in the week. But for now, here's a quick poll on the topic.
Who do you want to see as our #5 starter in 2011?
Barry Enright (101 votes)
Armando Galarraga (215 votes)
Aaron Heilman (11 votes)
Micah Owings (39 votes)
366 total votes