We saw a couple of familiar sights last night: Roy Halladay dominating and the Yankees beating the Twins in the playoffs. Unfortunately for Rangers fans, Game 2 is once again on during the day, but with a 1-0 lead they're leaning on C.J. Wilson to push them a game closer to the ALCS. The other match-ups today should be splendid if you're into alliteration, as Pavano faces Pettitte in the Yankees-Twins game and Lincecum faces Lowe in Game 1 of the Giants-Braves series. Either way, it's been an enjoyable postseason one day in.
But even so, that doesn't mean that we can't continue to keep an eye on the offseason, which has in fact started for 22 teams. One of those teams, the Detroit Tigers, is the focus of today's Bring Him Back. The Tigers are coming off a uneventful season, one that saw them drop out of contention pretty early in the year. But I will offer this positive anecdote to Tigers fans: since his short exile to Triple-A in May, Max Scherzer has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. In his past 23 starts, he's put up a 2.46 ERA in 153 innings with 158 strikeouts and 54 walks. Yeah, the Tigers went 11-12 in those games because the offense fell flat on its face. But between Scherzer and Justin Verlander, Detroit could have one of the most intimidating, fire-throwing one-two punches in all of baseball.
For those of you who missed earlier installments or simply need a refresher, here are some quick explanations of the arbitration system, non-tenders, service time, and "Super Twos" for those who aren't totally familiar, courtesy of MLBTR.
And as always, we're doing these in order of each player's respective 2010 salary like I did in the previous posts, and any references to a raise are based on those salaries as well. Let's go!
OF Ryan Raburn - 1st season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $0.438M
An easy tender given that Raburn appears to be in line for what amounts to an everyday job next season. He's put up strong numbers as a part-timer in three of the past four seasons, though, including an impressive .285/.348/.498 line in 701 PA over the past two seasons. He'll never be a star given that, while he's a versatile defender, his glove doesn't play particularly well at any position, he has a tendency to strikeout a lot, and he tends to hit southpaws better than right-handers. But his performance in the past two seasons makes him worthy of an opportunity to show that he can play regularly, and he's likely to get it next season.
RHP Armando Galarraga - 1st season of arbitration - Non-tender
According to this MLBTR piece, Galarraga has Super Two status, but my math says that Galarraga should qualify with arbitration without Super Two status. That's not particularly important for this exercise though, because in my opinion the Tigers should non-tender the right-handed pitcher either way. He shouldn't be too expensive in 2011, but the Tigers simply shouldn't be committing money to a 29-year-old starter with minimal upside and FIP/xFIP marks around or above 5. They've given him hundreds of innings to show that he can be more than a slightly above replacement-level starter, and all he's done is flashed decreasing whiff, strikeout and groundball rates. Yeah, it was cool when he put up that unsustainable 3.73 ERA in 2008, and yeah, it was cool when he almost got that perfect game. But Armando Galarraga just isn't that good.
RHP Joel Zumaya - 3rd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $0.915M
He keeps getting hurt, but he keeps coming back with a 99 MPH fastball. And while it was brutal to watch Zumaya blow out his elbow on the mound in June, ESPN's Buster Olney reported last month that his rehab was going well and he could be fully healthy by the time that Spring Training comes around. Given how good Zumaya's been before, and how nasty his raw stuff can be when he's healthy, it's worth taking a reasonably priced one-year flier on the 26-year-old in the hopes that he'll keep himself in tact for a year.
RHP Zach Miner - 2nd season of arbitration - Non-tender
Like Zumaya, Miner is coming off major elbow surgery. But Miner's rehab from Tommy John surgery isn't expected to be completed until the beginning of the season or shortly after, and even when healthy he can't match Zumaya's raw stuff or upside. He was a decent option as a spot starter and seventh bullpen guy in 2008 and 2009, but he just doesn't miss that many bats and end ups putting a lot of guys on base. He might have gotten tendered again if he was healthy, but the combination of mediocrity and health questions is enough to slide him into the "non-tender" category.