Sunday, September 26, 2010

Galarraga's "strange" season, pending arbitration, could convince the Tigers to let him go

    For Armando Galarraga, this has been the strangest season by any Tigers' pitcher since1952 when Virgil Trucks tossed not one, but two no-hitters -- but won just three other games the rest of the year.
    I asked Jim Leyland if he has an explanation as to why Galarraga has won only two of the 19 games he has started since he pitched what all agree was a perfect game on June 2?
    "I do not," the Tigers' manager replied tersely.
    The Tigers maintain there is nothing wrong physically with the 28-year-old right hander.
    So what's the problem?
    Galarraga is eligible for binding arbitration this winter and, personally, I would not be at all surprised if the Tigers simply let him go.
    Going to arbitration can be a costly proposition. With they win or lose, teams often end up paying a player more than they want to pay him. In Galarraga's case, it could be a lot more.
    Galarraga and his agent are going to try to cash in on his famous "imperfect game."
    You can't blame them. This is Armando's first and maybe his best shot at a big contract.
    But, Galarraga's grace after he was robbed by umpire Jim Joyce aside, his 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA doesn't leave the Tigers inclined to offer him a huge raise.
    In fairness to Galarraga, he has pitched better at times than his record indicates. In 11 of those starts he allowed three earned runs or fewer. 
    But this is a results-based business. And the Tigers have a number of promising young pitchers in the minors waiting to take Galarraga's place as the No. 5 starter.
    Again this season, Galarraga has frustrated Jim Leyland by pitching to avoid contact instead of attacking the hitters. Too often it appears he doesn't trust his stuff which, as he demonstrated against the Indians on the memorable June night, can be outstanding.
    He has been, in a word, inconsistent.
    Keeping him could cost the Tigers more than they think he's worth.


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