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Reports: Tigers still interested in Brad Penny

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Now that we've got that Hall of Fame stuff out of the way, how's about getting back to some real baseball news again?

To wit: The Brad Penny to Detroit Meme seems to be picking up steam. Not only has the Detroit News' Tom Gage mentioned it multiple times recently, both on his blog and in the paper, but it's shown up in Jason Beck's reporting and now Jon Paul Morosi is getting in on it.

A survey --

Gage:

1. If the Tigers end up signing Brad Penny, it's going to make sense (sorry for that). But I can't imagine he'll come cheaply despite last year's injury - and if he doesn't come cheaply, the Tigers will be obligated to give him a good shot in spring training to win a job.

Beck:

Would a free-agent signing like, say, Brad Penny, be defined as a surprise? Good question. For what it's worth, Dombrowski said any move the Tigers make in any area at this stage of the offseason would most likely be a short-term fix, rather than any big commitment.

Morosi:

Tigers are still pursuing Brad Penny, source tells me.

Penny, obviously, isn't exactly the most elegant answer to the question of what the Tigers should do about their rotation. He's not the worst answer either.

What he is, is a soon-to-be 33-year-old pitcher coming off an injury-hindered season. When healthy, he's struck out about 12-15% of batters faced during the past few seasons, while waling 4 to 10 percent of them. He gets ground balls about 40-50% of the time. His FIP has been around 4.00-5.00. Basically, he's back-of-the-rotation material.

If he came to Detroit, he'd be asked to compete mainly with Armando Galarraga. He strikes out about the same, walks more, and has a higher FIP to show for it, namely 4.92 or higher. That's probably not going to get much better.

So from my point of view, if the Tigers are paying a trickle of million to Penny to give him a try, it's probably a fairly decent move.

Carl Pavano has better numbers across the board, but with Pavano it's a case of finding a contract that works for the team and the player. I suspect he'll go for 3 years and $30 million or so. So I guess it depends how big of an issue the Tigers feel like the rotation is.

If no one is brought in, expect Andrew Oliver to compete with Galarraga, but Mr Perfect almost certainly begins the year in the rotation, as he probably should in that case.