Right-handed starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey will be joining the Tigers soon, as a pair of reports Friday morning say the 31-year-old has an agreement in place with Detroit. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes that this is a two-year deal, while James Schehl writes at MLive that it's a one-year contract worth about $8 million. (Update: Joel Sherman saystwo ears and $16 million.)
Pelfrey has spent the past three seasons in Minnesota, where he had a 4.94 ERA and 4.24 FIP. However, he missed most of the middle year of that deal, shut down with groin, elbow and shoulder injuries for most of 2014. He underwent elbow surgery in June of that year. He returned in 2015 to throw 165 innings across 30 starts, compiling a 4.26 ERA and 4.00 FIP.
For his 10-year career he has a 4.52 ERA and 4.21 FIP. He spent the first seven seasons of his MLB career with the Mets. Pelfrey had Tommy John surgery performed in 2012.
The 6'7 Pelfrey throws a sinker in the low-90s and also has a splitter and slider he likes to work with, mixing in the occasional curve. He had an incredibly low strikeout rate of 4.7 per nine innings in 2015 and about 5.0 per nine for his career -- or about 12-13 percent of plate appearances end in a strikeout. However he walks batters at half that rate, so he avoids getting himself in much trouble. Pelfrey thrives on getting batters to put the ball on the ground and had a 51 percent GB rate last year to show for it and just under 50 percent for his career.
Should he continue to pitch as he did in 2013 and 2015 -- where Fangraphs has him worth 2.0 WAR in each year -- this is a sensible, though unexciting, deal for the Tigers. Or, exactly what GM Al Avila told us to expect. Fangraphs estimates the value of each 1 WAR to be worth $8 million, making Pefrey a bargain from that perspective.
The Tigers will still have their eyes on adding relief help when the winter meetings open Sunday in Nashville, but have checked another item off their shopping list before the annual swap meet even begins.
This story will be updated.