Tim Byrdak has spent a great deal of the last 13 years bouncing around various organizations and navigating his way between the Majors and the Minors. But a 2007 season in which he provided some relief to the Tigers bullpen has led to a nice reward for the left-hander. The Tigers have avoided arbitration with Byrdak and signed him to a one-year deal for 2008, according to a source. Byrdak will reportedly make $712,500 next season, with $12,500 in incentives.
The 34-year-old Byrdak was a fifth-round pick in the 1994 First-Year Player Draft by the Royals, and he pitched in the Cleveland, Baltimore and San Diego systems, as well as the independent Northern League in the years that followed, enduring two elbow surgeries along the way. In '07, though, his emergence from a Minor League contract was important for a Tigers team that had suffered the loss of Jamie Walker to free agency last winter and was in need of some left-handed relief help. Byrdak made 39 appearances out of the Tigers bullpen, going 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA. He struck out 49 batters in 45 innings of work. The Tigers still have six other players -- left-handers Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson and Bobby Seay, right-hander Chad Durbin, third baseman Miguel Cabrera and outfielder Marcus Thames -- eligible for salary arbitration. Wednesday is the deadline for the club to tender a contract to those players.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.