Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BD Hot Stove: A Penny Signed Is A Penny Earned | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: A Penny Signed Is A Penny Earned | Baseball Digest

The Detroit Tigers have spent the last couple of seasons trying to re-work their starting rotation. Outside of Justin Verlander, the Motown crew hasn’t had gotten much consistency from their starting staff.

Hopes are still high very high for Rick Porcello, who had an oustanding rookie campaign in 2009, but floundered in much of his sophomore season. Max Scherzer was brought in from Arizona prior to the 2010 season. He’s a hard thrower who strikes out nearly a batter per inning, but struggles with his command. Then there’s Armando Galaragga, who can look perfect one day and quite ordinary the next.

In attempt to steady the rotation and add some experience GM Dave Dombrowski has signed veteran right-hander Brad Penny to a one year, three-million dollar contract. It’s a good low risk gamble for Dombrowski and the Tigers. Penny made just nine appearances last April and May, as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, due to back trouble.

Penny struggled his only other time in the American League back in 2009 with Boston. Shoulder issues made him ineffective in 24 starts and the Red Sox released him in late August. Whether it was a switch to the National League or better health, Penny went 4-1, 2.59 in six starts after the San Francisco Giants picked him up four days later.

That’s the Penny the Tigers are hoping for; one that can shine in Detroit, and give the sagging rotation a boost. Over the span of 11 seasons, Penny has made 284 starts, won 108 games and posted a 4.11 ERA.

Rumors, News, and Transactions

The Yankees may be taking a low risk gamble as well. Several sources have them in serious discussions with free agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer. The 33-yr old missed 2009 after undering going elbow surgery and was also treated for clinical depression. Last year he underwent hip surgery and made just five major league appearances. When not injured, Duchscherer is extremely effective. In 2008, he went 10-8, 2.54 in his first season as a full-time starter. His strikeouts per nine innings (6.0) were lower than in his time as a reliever, but he posted a WHIP under 1.0. He made his second All-Star appearance as well. With just five appearances in the last two seasons, the Yankees could likely sign him to a deal worth less guaranteed money than Penny.

Across town the Mets are reportedly taking a look at free agent right-hander David Bush (per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick).

The Reds officially signed off on their deal with Edgar Renteria and also added outfielder Fred Lewis.

The Angels and infielder Alberto Callaspo avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing on a one year contract.

The Rockies signed veteran right-hander Claudio Vargas to a minor league deal.

Another veteran righty, Kris Benson, has decided to call it quits.

Left-handers are in the news too. KC GM Bob Dutton told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel that the team is considering re-signing Bruce Chen. And the White Sox signed lefty reliever Will Ohman to a two year, $4M deal.

The Mariners signed veteran infielder Adam Kennedy to a minor league deal that will included an invitation to spring training.

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