Non-Tender Deadline Looming
By Chris Hannum
Not a lot going on in Hot Stove Land today, but in 24 hours…? Big stuff, big stuff indeed. There are a lot of guys on teams all over the league that stand to make more money in arbitration than they are actually worth, though most will wind up making less. Don’t ask me why the salary arbitration system is set up this way, but know that it is. For the Detroit Tigers, there is really only one decision to make: “Tender Delmon Young a Contract?” From all we’ve heard all off-season, the decision (yes) was made long ago and isn’t likely to change, whether the Tigers see Young in their future or not.
To us roster-watchers, whether or not Delmon stays a Tiger might be a little less interesting than the possible new free agent options that might conceivably be non-tendered – and therefore available – by this time tomorrow. The Tigers bullpen should be basically set right now, but we’re still looking for a veteran 5th starter (preferably left-handed), a third baseman, a second baseman and some speed and on-base-percentage at the top of the order. Pickings were a little thin in these areas at the start of the free agent season and have only gotten more so. There are a lot of possible non-tenders out there, but for most of them we’ll wait another day to see who is actually on the market. Until then, just one possibility to get the gears turning:
Tom Gorzelanny. 29-year-old left-handed pitcher for the Washington Nationals – career 4.57 ERA, decent stuff but has struggled at times with walks and the long ball. This is a guy that many of us here at MCB had pegged as a Tigers’ target last offseason, but Dombrowski ultimately went with Brad Penny instead. Gorzellany didn’t pitch especially well as a starter before the break and got booted to the Nationals ‘pen in late July. As a reliever, he excelled with a 1.76 ERA over the season’s last two months and 19 strikeouts to 6 walks. He earned $2.1 million last year and a raise on that sum to pitch in middle relief will probably seem a little rich to the Nationals, hence the probability that he will wind up on the market. Though his results haven’t been perfect, the Gorzelanny we’ve seen over the past 3 years – 4.31 with a 2.21 K/BB would be a solid option as a 5th starter. He’s be likely to be willing to accept a one-year make-good deal after losing his rotation spot last year. He’s hard on lefties. And what’s more, IF the Tigers were to decide that Turner or Smyly deserved that 5th spot – Gorzellany would almost certainly be a better bullpen option than Dan Schlereth. If he’d take a 1-year $2 million deal with incentives, I’d certainly be glad to have him on the roster.