Source: Tigers, Brad Penny agree to deal

The Detroit Tigers and Brad Penny are close to agreeing on a one-year free-agent deal.

The Detroit Tigers and free-agent starter Brad Penny have agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract, according to a source.

Penny, 32, will have the chance to earn $3 million more through incentives. He should arrive at spring training next month with a strong chance to be Detroit’s fifth starter. Armando Galarraga, coming off a poor September performance, is the other main competitor for the job.

The other four spots in the Tigers’ rotation appear set: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and converted reliever Phil Coke, the only left-hander.

With Penny, the question is less about ability and more about health. He went 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010 before being placed on the disabled list with a season-ending upper-back strain in May.

Penny had a 5.61 ERA in 24 starts with the Boston Red Sox in 2009, his only prior stint with an American League club. But the AL East is more rugged for pitchers than the AL Central.

Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers’ club president/general manager, is very familiar with Penny: Dombrowski acquired him in 1999 while GM of the Florida Marlins.

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