The Tigers have agreed to a deal with right-hander Mike Pelfrey, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that Pelfrey has signed a two-year, $18 million deal.
Pelfrey, who will turn 32 in January, is coming off of a 3-year period that saw him struggle in Minnesota, as he was returning from Tommy John surgery. He battled more arm injuries in over the last two years, but was still a solid rotation option for the Twins. In 164.2 innings, he pitched to a 4.26 ERA, a 4.7 K/9, a 2.5 BB/9 and a 51 percent ground-ball rate. His velocity also got back to form, climbing to an average of 93.3 mph last season which is the highest it has been since 2012.
After signing Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers general manager Al Avila indicated that Detroit would like to add another start on top of Zimmermann, mainly to be an innings eater and a back-of-the-rotation fill. Pelfrey will now join Zimmermann, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris to round out the Tigers rotation.
The Tigers had $152 million committed to 11 players before signing Pelfrey and now are fast approaching last year's record $172 million payroll on Opening Day. The Tigers are still looking to upgrade their bullpen, but already having this much money committed to so few players may make it a challenge to make more substantial upgrades through free agency.