Galarraga enters trading block

The Cubs are on the verge of sending Tom Gorzelanny to Washington for prospects. Joe Blanton no longer looks like a sure bet to be traded out of Philadelphia. The quality of the remaining free-agent market drops precipitously after Carl Pavano.

What’s a team looking for starting pitching left to do?

Could they go for Armando Galarraga?

That’s what Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is counting on. He’s strong enough about it that he thinks he stands a better chance of trading Galarraga now than Spring Training. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have designated him for assignment Tuesday to make room for Brad Penny.

Instead of waiting until March, the Tigers have 10 days to try to deal Galarraga.

“I’m confident,” Dombrowski said Tuesday when asked about his chances of finding a trade partner for his former fifth starter. “You never know until you get it done. We’ve had enough  clubs express some interest. It’s not like I have a for-sure deal, but I do have enough clubs that have asked me about him.”

By no means is Galarraga an answer for teams looking for a front-line starter. For teams needing a fifth starter who has been through a few seasons, though, Galarraga is an option. That list could be longer than expected, now that waiting for the Tigers to release Galarraga in Spring Training is no longer an option.

The Tigers’ return for Galarraga might be only marginally better than what they received last spring for Nate Robertson. Galarraga doesn’t have an untradeable contract, or a significant injury history, but he’s coming off an up-and-down season and a stretch.

Considering Galarraga’s issues with attacking the strike zone last summer, he’s the type of pitcher who might benefit from a pitching coach who views him as a bit of a project to restore his confidence.

The Tigers could still end up bringing Galarraga to camp if no team claims him on waiver. He could then be outrighted to Triple-A Toledo and brought to Spring Training as a non-roster invite. But with the Tigers rotation clearly set, and prospects Andy Oliver, Charlie Furbush and Jacob Turner also likely to get stretched out in terms of innings, the Tigers could have a problem finding the innings to showcase Galarraga for anybody.

– Jason Beck

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