A couple years back, the Detroit Tigers employed a pair of frustrating right handers. Both Armando Galarraga and Zach Miner seemed to have enough stuff to get hitters out consistently, but both pitchers lacked confidence in said stuff.
Of course, neither pitcher would say as much, but the evidence was in their pitching. Despite a mid-90s fastball with natural sinking action, Miner seemed to almost refuse to attack the strike zone, preferring instead to nibble at the corners and hope the batters would chase. Obviously, it didn’t take long for word to spread and soon Miner found himself falling behind frequently, being forced to come in with a hitter-friendly pitch in a hitter-friendly count. The results were predictably poor.
Miner left the Tigers after missing the entire 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery. He signed a minor league deal with the Royals that offseason, but didn’t make an appearance in the majors in 2011. This spring, on a second minor league deal, Miner again failed to make the Royals during camp.
Today, the Tigers swooped in and brought Miner back to Motown, acquiring the veteran swingman for cash considerations.
Miner’s last season in the big leagues was 2009, when he posted a 4.29 ERA over 92.1 innings, mostly as a reliever. His role (Miner viewed himself as a starter) was a source of contention between he and manager Jim Leyland throughout Miner’s time in Detroit.
In 2011, Miner struggled mightily in 44 innings at Double-A, posting a 7.16 ERA. He was outstanding in 22 innings of Triple-A work, however, pitching to a 1.59 ERA in that time. He has yet to make an appearance in 2012.
The bottom line here is that I probably shouldn’t be as upset as I was when reading of this trade this morning. It’s hard to imagine Miner even sniffing Detroit, let alone making an impact. The Tigers have a host of arms ready to contribute to both the rotation and the bullpen and Miner won’t be on the 40-man roster.
That said, Adam Wilk was hit hard last night, Doug Fister will be out for at least a few weeks yet, and guys like Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver and Casey Crosby haven’t been impressive at Toledo. I can’t imagine they’d use him as a starter, but Miner knows the long relief role well and could be used there to create an opening for Duane Below to slide into the rotation.
Whatever the plan is, and I have to assume there is one or why would the Tigers bother with this move, it won’t happen right away. Miner will report to Double-A Erie this weekend.
And hey, if all else fails, I hear Galarraga is looking for work. Maybe the Tigers could give him another shot.
John Parent is the NL Editorial Director for FanSided MLB and a lifelong Tigers fan. He can be reached at [email protected] or via twitter @JohnJParent.