The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to make minor adjustments to their roster leading up to pitchers and catchers reporting three weeks from today. As rumored, the Diamondbacks completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers that brought starting pitcher Armando Galarraga to the desert in exchange for two minor leaguers.
The deal, which was completed just before 2 PM local time, added another right-hander to the Diamondbacks pitching staff that will compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Before the deal the rotation looked to be LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Zach Duke, and RHP Barry Enright. RHP Aaron Heilman was signed last week and promised an opportunity to compete for a rotation spot.
With Galarraga the Diamondbacks received a pitcher, which they hope will bounce back from a sub-par year last season. Despite nearly throwing a perfect game on June 2, 2010, Galarraga struggled with his command especially in the second half of the year. He would finish with a 4-9 record with a 4.49 ERA.
Just two years ago Galarraga led the Tigers in wins going 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA throwing 178.2 innings. The Diamondbacks believe that new pitching coach Charles Nagy can help Galarraga work on some of his mechanics to return to form.
In exchange for Galarraga, Arizona sent two low-level minor league pitchers to Detroit. Kevin Eichhorn was the Diamondbacks third round draft pick in the 2008 amateur draft and made 15 starts last season going 5-6 with an ERA of 5.00. Left-hander Ryan Robowski appeared in 35 games for the Visalia Rawhide going 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Raphael Rodriguez was designated for assignment. Rodriguez was part of the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim just before the trade deadline last season.
As if adding Galarraga wasn’t enough, General Manager Kevin Towers announced the signing of former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Owings was part of the 2007 Diamondbacks that went to the National League Championship Series. After the season he earned a Silver Slugger award for the best hitting pitcher in the National League.
Owings struggled with his command in 2008 and was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds as part of the Adam Dunn trade. He struggled with the Reds in 2009-2010 and was given his release after the season.
When asked about getting Owings bat in the line-up Towers said, “I would imagine he will see a little bit of time at first base — how much time I couldn’t tell you,” Towers said. “We definitely want to get him some at-bats. He is kind of a dual-weapon guy and it would be nice to have a guy on the days he may not be pitching, you still have a very good right-handed bat that could win a game for you.”
Who would have guessed that the Diamondbacks dilemma at first base may be solved by a pitcher? After the moves Arizona made today, there are still questions to be answered but at least one thing is for certain. On February 14th mound space may be at a premium at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and that’s a good thing.