By most accounts, the Tigers are still interested in adding a starting pitcher this offseason. As John has said multiple times on this blog, it’s nothing against Armando Galarraga, it’s just that we really don’t want to see him handed the job. We don’t dislike him, but we do dislike the way he usually pitches — poorly.
Zack Greinke remains the pipe dream of the fans. I’ve fantasized about it, but I think the cost will simply be too high for the Tigers. I think the more realistic names are Brad Penny (as John posted yesterday) and a name that was floated around a week or two ago: Tom Gorzelanny.
Penny may be the safe choice. He has had some injury issues, and he’s not the most consistent pitcher in the leagee, but he has had some nice years. We probably know what we’d be getting. He won’t win many games, but he’ll probably keep the team in the game more often than, say, Galarraga would. But Penny is going to turn 33 this spring, and he doesn’t have much of any long-term upside potential (if I may steal a phrase from the NFL draft). Gorzelanny, on the other hand may have some potential left in the tank.
Gorzelanny would have to be acquired from the Cubs via a trade, but it looks like they’ll be looking to move him before the season begins. He’s still only 28 years old, relatively cheap, and under team for two more years, so they won’t be looking to give him away, but I don’t think he’d be too difficult to obtain.
He has his issues (namely a 4.15 career BB/9 rate), but he is a good strikeout pitcher (7.86 K/9 last year), and he’s done fairly well in limiting home runs in his career (0.95 HR/9). Bill James projects Gorzelanny to finish 2011 with a 4.06 ERA, and while that’s considering NL opponents, it’s certainly better than the 4.45 ERA that he projects for Galarraga.
Maybe I would be hoping for too much from a player that has only eclipsed 150 innings pitched once in his career, but I still like some of his numbers. If he can cut into that walk rate a bit, he’d be a very effective pitcher. Especially since we’re talking about him as a potential number four or five type starting pitcher.
For some reason, I just haven’t been able to get his name out of my head. It wouldn’t be a blockbuster deal, but I do think it would improve the rotation.