The Detroit Tigers have filled out their starting rotation with the signing of veteran right-hander Mike Pelfrey to a two-year deal, as first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed that Pelfrey’s new contract is a two-year deal, adding that he will make $16 million over the life of the contract. There were some conflicting reports stating that Pelfrey would be getting just a one-year deal.
Hear Pelfrey is 2 yrs at $16M with #Tigers pending physical
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 4, 2015
Anthony French of Detroit Free Press added that Pelfrey’s physical is scheduled for today. If he passes, the deal should be finalized soon.
But, Pelfrey told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he expected to be ready for the beginning of the season.
“I’m going to be ready. I guess it’s hard for some people to believe maybe. But I feel great.”
In his first season after the surgery in 2013, Pelfrey suffered through the worst full season of his career. In 29 starts, Pelfrey went just 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA. In a controversial decision, the Twins elected to re-sign Pelfrey to a two-year, $11 million deal after the 2013 season, which was also reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports at the time.
Mike Pelfrey agrees to 2-year deal, $11M, $3.5M performance bonuses. #twins
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 15, 2013
Once again, the Twins’ decision looked questionable as a Pelfrey made only five starts for the Twins in 2014. He pitched to a 0-3 record with a 7.99 ERA before he was shut down for the season with a mixture of elbow, groin, and, shoulder ailments, per NBC Sports.
In the final year of the original two-year deal Pelfrey signed, he enjoyed his best full season of work in four years. In 30 starts for the 2015 Minnesota Twins, Pelfrey went 6-11 with a 4.26 ERA in 164-and-two-thirds innings. Pelfrey’s ERA, wins, innings, HR/9, and BB/9 were his best marks since 2011.
A reason for Pelfrey’s success in 2015 was largely thanks to his ability to keep the ball on the ground. Pelfrey ranked 21st in all of MLB with a 52.24 percent groundball rate, per Sporting Charts. That groundball rate also enabled Pelfrey to lead the league in HR/9 with a 0.6 mark. If Pelfrey can replicate those numbers in Detroit next season, he should experience similar success in 2016.
Over his decade-long career, Pelfrey has accumulated a 61-81 record with a 4.52 ERA in 1,237-and-one-third innings for the Mets and Twins.
Pelfrey is expected to slot as the Tigers’ No.5 starter behind the newly signed Jordan Zimmerman, veterans Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, and youngster Daniel Norris.
In addition to those two acquisitions, the Tigers also re-acquired outfielder Cameron Maybin, via MLB Trade Rumors. Maybin was originally drafted and developed by the Tigers as a top prospect. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade and has since bounced around the league.
New Tigers’ GM Al Avila has been busy as retools his team for next season.
[Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]