The Tigers had four arbitration-eligible players coming into the week. The first shoe to fall came on Monday when Detroit designated RHP Zach Miner for assignment, assuring that he would not receive a contract offer for 2011 by tonight’s deadline.
Outfielder Ryan Raburn is expected to earn a shot as the everyday left fielder in Detroit this year and that plan remains intact as Raburn joined RHPs Joel Zumaya and Armando Galarraga is receiving contract offers for next year.
Zumaya, in my mind anyway, was a no-brainer. Despite his injury history, Zumaya has been very good when healthy. The Tigers will have to commit something in the $1-1.5 million range for his services next year, but when he’s right, he’s easily worth that much. Zumaya is said to be on-track to begin Spring Training healthy and plans to be in Lakeland well ahead of the mandatory February reporting date.
The case for Galarraga was a bit more involved. Despite his near perfect game last year, Galarraga struggled for much of the season. Still, while the Tigers have not openly stated that he’ll be in the rotation in 2011, it has been thought that would be at least in the mix of possibilities there. The departure of Eddie Bonine, along with Miner’s non-tender, does leave a hole at the front of the Tigers bullpen, and Galarraga, who is out of minor league options, could slide in as a long reliever should the Tigers acquire another starter.
As I said in the title, there were no surprises in this group. Which is good, because even if you think you know what the club is going to do, you always have the kernel of fear that they might go another direction.
As far as Miner is concerned, the Tigers could still bring him back on a minor league contract should they decide to. He missed all of 2010 with injury, but Jason Beck tweeted today that Miner has been throwing for six weeks already and his arm is fine so far. If they were to re-sign him, Miner would be expected to compete for a bullpen job.