Exactly a week ago the Tigers and Brad Penny reportedly agreed on a one-year, $3 million deal with incentives that will allow Penny to earn another $3 million. Today, Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski officially announced the transaction to the media:
"We are pleased to announce the signing of Brad Penny," Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said.
"He’s a proven major league starter that we feel strengthens our rotation."
The wait for an official announcement was on Penny's pending physical.
But perhaps it was also to figure out Armando Galarraga's contract situation, who, if signed, would likely compete with the newly-acquired Penny for the fifth and final rotation spot. (Galarraga was guaranteed a 2011 contract of some type because Detroit tendered him a deal last month). As Ian mentioned last night, Galarraga was eligible for arbitration, something the Tigers haven't had to experience since Dombrowski took over in 2002. By agreeing to a contract with Galarraga now, they would avoid it once again.
A mere six hours after coming to an agreement with Galarraga (one-year, $2.3 million), as Jason Beck pointed out, the Tigers supplemented the official announcement of Penny's arrival by designating Galarraga's very fresh contract for assignment. The move makes room for Penny on the 40-man roster and gives the Tigers 10 days to either trade, release, or assign Galarraga to the minors.
So why did the Tigers sign Galarraga in the first place if they were just going to designate him for assignment hours later?
According to Jason Beck, it's a formality. The Tigers could've wasted time and money by waiting on an arbitration date in February or they could've simply agreed to terms with Galarraga now, as they did. By designating him for assignment, Galarraga still has a chance to pitch somewhere or at the very least receive a decent severance payment of around $380,000. The move also benefits the Tigers in that it gives them a little time to either work out a trade -- which Tom Gage thinks will happen -- or convince Galarraga to stick it out in the minors with a chance to return to the bigs if a rotation spot opens up along the way, as it tends to happen.