illustration by Samara Pearlstein
It’s not his ability to wear the heck out of a striped polo, although you may be forgiven for thinking that’s it. No, Dave Dombrowski’s superpower is his ability to
Dave Dombrowski has been in charge of the Tigers since 2002, and in that time he has not ONCE gone to arbitration with a player. Guys, it’s 2011. Think about that. It’s obviously a superpower. What else could it possibly be, at this point?
The arb-eligible Tigers this time around were Ryan Raburn, Joel Zumaya, and Armando Galarraga. Obviously they signed the Rhino. They also signed Zoom to a one-year, $1.4 million contract, hoping that he will actually be able to stay healthy for the bulk of the 2011 season (I won’t say the whole season… can’t get crazy, now).
Then there was Armando.
The Tigers signed him to a one-year, $2.3 million contract, avoiding arbitration. The rotation at this point consisted of (in no particular order) Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Brad Penny, Phil Coke, and Armando. Obviously that’s too many cats, but that was a good thing. FredFred had some roughness last year that may or may not be firmly and finally resolved, Brad Penny could oh-so-easily get sore again, I’m still waiting for Justin’s arm to fall off, and Phil Coke might end up pitching like a reliever. Having Armando around meant that if any of those scenarios came to pass, the Tigers wouldn’t have to immediately dip into the Toledo kittens (the Andy Olivers and Jacob Turners of the world) to stabilize the rotation. All seemed well.
BUT NO IT’S A LIE ALL IS LIES. Almost immediately after they had signed him, the Tigers turned right back around and designated Armando for assignment. That was… odd. What say you, Mr. Dombrowski?
In this situation, we thought long and hard. It was one that after Penny went through his physical and passed his physical, we were in a spot where for Armando, right now, we thought he goes in as a sixth starter. We don’t really look at him as a reliever. This is probably a better time to try to move his contract somewhere he can find a spot in a rotation, rather than come into Spring Training.
Okaaaaaaay. Like nobody was aware that they were going to suddenly need a roster spot when Penny’s deal was finalized? Or… what. It’s just weird timing all ’round and no matter how much they try to make it seem premeditated, it is hard to imagine this playing out like it did without some sort of last-minute ‘ruh roh we missed that one, quick, this is the only way we can fix it’ stuff happening. They DFA’d him six hours after they agreed to a deal with him. RUDE.
Now the Tigers have 10 days to try to trade Armando to someone who will use him as a starter. If there are no takers, they’ll probably try to outright him to the minors (they could also straight-up release him, but that seems unlikely) (then again, I would have thought this sort of rudeness was also unlikely) (so who knows) (aside from Paws, who knows all). But he would have to get through waivers first and with a one-year, sub-ridiculous contract, I find it kind of difficult to believe that he would make it through waivers unclaimed.
So it seems like this is goodbye.