Monday, February 15, 2016

Meet a Prospect: Armando Galarraga

The New York Yankees are gearing up for the 2016 MLB season just days before pitchers and catchers report to spring training and just a little over a week before the first full squad workout of the year. The team is all but set in stone this season which should spark up some spring competitions to keep us tuned into Grapefruit League games but that doesn’t mean the preparations for the season are done as far as the front office is concerned. The team is still adding minor league depth every day, both in terms of players and in terms of minor league pitching instructors. The latest player to enter the fray is Lane Adams after clearing waivers and the latest former player and coach to join the team is Armando Galarraga. This is Meet a Prospect: The Almost Mr. Perfect Edition.

Armando Antonio Galarraga Barreto was born on January 15, 1982 in Venezuela and has pitched for four MLB teams before his retirement during the 2015 season. Galarraga has pitched for the Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros but made his name, for better or worse, while pitching as a member of the Detroit Tigers. It was June 2nd of 2010 that Galarraga had a perfect game going in the 9th inning with two outs when first base umpire Jim Joyce robbed the right-hander of immortality. Galarraga induced a ground ball for the final out and clearly stepped on the bag before the runner but Joyce called the runner safe ending his bid for perfection.

Galarraga was originally signed as a free agent by the Montreal Expos is 1998 and was acquired by the Texas Rangers in the deal that sent Alfonso Soriano, a member of the Washington Nationals, to Washington in 2005. It was in Texas that Galarraga made his MLB debut two years later against the Oakland Athletics. Galarraga was traded to the Detroit Tigers before the 2008 season for Michael Hernandez and after an injury to Dontrelle Willis he was right back in the Major Leagues. Galarraga finished his first MLB season with a 13-7 record and a 3.73 ERS with 126 strikeouts in 178.2 innings. That rookie campaign earned him a fourth place finish in the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year Award vote and put him on the map.

During 2009 and 2010 Galarraga failed to live up to the hype that he created as a rookie in 2008 causing him to fall back to Triple-A. Many questioned his attitude and drive to win during the 2010 season specifically after a slow start to spring training and Galarraga spent much of the season in and out of the Tigers starting rotation. Galarraga did throw his perfect game that was not a perfect game during 2010 but it was not enough to stick in Detroit as the Tigers designated him for assignment after the season.

Galarraga was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks after being DFA’d for pitchers Kevin Eichhorn and Ryan Robowski but his tenure with Arizona did not last long. Galarraga was designated for assignment once again on May 17, 2011 and sent the rest of the season in Triple-A with the Reno Aces before hitting free agency. Galarraga signed a minor league deal with the Orioles for the 2012 season but lasted four months before hitting free agency again and landing with the Houston Astros. Galarraga made it back to the show with the Astros for five games between July 28 and August 19 but he lost four of them leading to another designation for assignment on August 22. Galarraga continued his MLB dream signing contracts with the Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies (via trade) and Texas Rangers before settling on a deal with the Chinatrust Brother Elephants of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League for the 2014 season. Galarraga signed with Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League in 2015 before officially retiring from the game last year.

Galarraga’s dreams of pitching in the major leagues may be over but his dreams of working for a MLB team is just beginning. Galarraga has signed on to be a minor league pitching instructor with the New York Yankees beginning this season. Welcome Mr. 28-out Perfect Game to the organization and welcome to the family. Enjoy your stay. 

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