Chad Durbin, 30, was used as a middle reliever and spot starter last season for the Tigers. Caught in a numbers game, he was non-tendered by Detroit last week.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing an unnamed source, Durbin has agreed to a deal with Phillies; terms were not disclosed. Durbin went 8-7 in 36 games, including 19 starts, with a 4.72 ERA for the injury-depleted Tigers. According to the team Web site, he was due for a hefty raise over the $385,000 he made in ’07. With the arrival of Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera and pending arbitration for several players, he was cut loose.
In parts of eight seasons, peppered with minor league assignments, releases and this most recent non-tender, he is 25-37 with a 5.75 ERA, much of his time coming with Kansas City in the early part of the decade. He's been with KC, Cleveland, Arizona, Washington and Detroit. This was his best season.
Beerleaguer: Double the Durbin, double the fun. The Phillies reopen the gates of Value Village by offering food, clothes and shelter to a nomadic swing man who has a lot in common with another drifting swing man named Durbin. Will Durbin challenge Durbin? Will Durbin duel Eaton? Don’t bother answering because there's no way for the Phils to know this soon.
Durbin, the new one, is not overpowering and tries to outsmart aggressive hitters. He was a fifth starter candidate before the Tigers decided to get serious about winning a title and traded for Dontrelle Willis. They tried to trade him, but found no takers.
Durbin meets my criteria as a failed starter who's out of chances and should no longer be offered auditions for jobs in a rotation unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary. It could happen. Eaton underwent an off-season MRI and was a horror show on top of it.
Unless Eaton arrives injured, I'd sooner build Durbin into a bottom-rung reliever. After Hamels, Myers and Moyer pitch their three innings, ideally the middle frames of the Grapefruit League should belong to Durbin, Durbin and Condrey to find out who’s best at eating innings. All things considered, I'd give the early edge to Durbin. The new one. He's out of options and the Phils would have the toughest time keeping him of the three. Plus, he's more versatile than the others. But it's too soon to say. For what it's worth, Detroit fans on other blogs admired his guts and were sad to see him go after a workman-like season.
Swing men are a necessary evil, but are they worthy of this level of commitment, assuming this is a Major League deal? The Tigers didn’t think so. Then again, Detroit is miles ahead.