The Detroit Tigers will soon sign starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey to a free agent contract, according to a report by CBS Sports.
Pelfrey, who will turn 32 in January, spent the last three seasons pitching for the Minnesota Twins and previously pitched for the New York Mets.
Terms of the allegedly impending contract are not known, but the Tigers would be looking to slot Pelfrey in as their fifth starter, so the deal would be relatively light in terms of both years and dollars. James Schmehl of MLive reports that the terms being discussed are in the neighborhood of one year and $8 million.
Pelfrey is a below average starting pitcher, especially at this point of his career, but he’s a perfectly reasonable fifth starter and will contribute positive value to the Tigers. He is not a high strikeout pitcher, but he has been able to limit walks and home runs in recent years to limit the damage he has allowed on balls in play.
Pelfrey’s career ERA (now across 10 seasons of MLB experience) stands at 4.52 with a career FIP of 4.21. His Steamer Projection pegs his 2016 ERA to be right between those two marks at 4.38.
Some Tigers fans were hoping the club could swing a big trade for someone like James Shields or still find a way to sign someone like Mike Leake to fill out the rotation with another above-average arm, but this signing would be an indication that there simply isn’t room in the budget for another splashy move.
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The Detroit Tigers likely still have a few million to spend, but they’re going to have to be discerning with how they distribute it to plug the remaining holes on the roster (bullpen is still a big one).
Joel Sherman reports the deal is for two years and a total of $16M.
This is still not an outrageous overpay, but the Tigers are probably committing themselves to more than was necessary to obtain a player of Pelfrey’s caliber.