Leyland: Bonderman "highly unlikely" for start of season

Add Jeremy Bonderman to the list of Tigers pitchers who likely won’t be available at the start of the season. Given where his arm strength is and where it needs to be, manager Jim Leyland said, the Tigers aren’t expecting him to be ready when the season begins in nine days.

“I would tell you today that, in my own personal opinion, it’s highly unlikely that he will be ready for the season to start,” manager Jim Leyland said.

He did not, however, assess the chances of Bonderman opening the season on the disabled list, and he said he still had no decision on when Armando Galarraga would start.

25 Comments

What is the lineup, the boxscore is not working.

Curtis
Polanco
Ordonez
Cab
Guillen
Sheffield
Laird
Inge
Worth

Looks like Porcello is a major leaguer after all eh? I guess we can’t forget the job Eddie Bonine has done this spring though I would not be overly excited about him myself. If Nate’s thumb is OK he is almost a cinch to get a spot and Miner can fill in admirably if need be, but I think Bondo being out gives management the excuse they need to gamble with the phenom.
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Hope Inge can keep up the hitting he has shown so far. We know he can go into brutal slumps but he is attacking the ball thus far this spring.

The loss of Bonderman for any length of time would be devastating. If it’s only a start or two, not so much. I agree with you, Dan, that it seems a perfect time to give Porcello a start. He’d be on a strict pitch count, of course, but it can be done. Of course, there’s also the triumvirate of Robertson, Willis, and Miner.
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I’ve said this so many times over the past few years that I’m sick of saying it, but this club needs to quit depending on the Dynamic Duo, Rodney and Zumaya. They pay lip service to it, but in the end, they still pin their hopes on these two. I suspect they were close with their offer to Kerry Wood, but they didn’t drop the hammer on it. Seattle wanted too much for Putz. Anyway, Rincon will help. I’m going to withhold judgment on Lyon till the season begins. It’s difficult to assess closers in spring training.
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Interesting that the Rays sent David Price to AAA. They’re playing it safe.
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–Rich

Edwin Jackson has been flying under the radar ever since he was acquired, but he has the potential to be a very serviceable starter, and maybe a good one. I’ll never forget how he shut the Tigers down after taking that throw in the face.
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–Rich

We finished 2008 without a closer with Rodney’s 68.4% (career 56.9%) save success rate obvious to all and sundry that he is only good for early relief roles, preferably no later than the 7th, unless it is a non save situation. The rest of the continuing players made just 3 saves from 22 so I wont go any further with the alternatives except to say waiting for Zoom to possibly close is ridiculous when he has made only one save a year from 16 attempts over the past three years.
The stats clearly show (the whites of their eyes also a tad disconcerting!!) we have gone into 2009 without sound setup men with Lyons as closer supposedly fixing all ills. Lyons has a career success rate of 71.8% but achieved 83.9% (26 of 31) in 2008. For comparison, Todd Jones achieved 85.7% (18 of 21) in 2008 and 86.1% (93 of 108) over his 3 years as a Tiger. Other closers figures are Rivera – 2008 97.5% Career 90.5%; Fuentes 08 88%, C 83%; Rodriguez 08 89.9% C 86.3%; Jenks 08 88.2% C 88% and Papelbon 08 89.1% C 88.3%.
Lyons clearly offers us less than what Todd Jones was able to consistently deliver and still well down on the elite team closers, vital if we a serious in trying to be pennant winners.
Within the organisation, Fien has made only 13 minor league saves (12 at AA Erie) and Perry 4 saves at Lakeland. Blaine Neal at 31yo made 26 saves in 2008 at Toledo with a 1.21ERA (not a mistake!!) and for whatever reason was never given a chance and is now a free agent. For the additions, Rincon has made just 3 from 18 career saves and Williamson 55 of 77 (71%). Again, possible set up candidates but not up to the closer role.
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If I was management, I would be grooming Perry now for for the 8th inning role, tell Toledo I want Fien closing at every opportunity and if he continues his success, look to bring him back asap to provide a setup or closer support role.
I can’t believe we missed taking a nil cost chance on Chad Cordero, signed earlier this month by the Mariners on a minor league contract. Just 27 yrs old coming back from surgery last year, he has a career saves of 128/152 for 84.2% and being able to return to pitching in May would have been cheap insurance to Lyons.

Dave, you have hat all the nails squarely on their respective heads.
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I’m not sure where management’s collective heads were on Blaine Neal and they should be spanked for not giving him a shot last year. It seems they let him go as to avoid further embarassment. How would it have looked if he pitched well in Spring for them? Like they missed the boat?
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Fien is another story that makes me wonder. He is everything the Tigers have been preaching they need in a reliever, pitched excellent in Winter ball (did not walk a batter), walked only one in Spring training with a superb ERA, WHIP and K ratio. Seems to fit the Knapp philosophy and is in his mid 20s—not a kid out of college. Go figure.
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If Bondo goes on the DL and they send Porcello down and use Miner, he would seem a pretty logical choice for call-up.
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You can bet they will go to the bitter end with Lyon. Here’s hoping he can come in and do the job but from what I have seen, that is very unlikely.
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I said it before, they really missed the mark with fixing this bullpen. We might luck out but if we do it won’t be because of astute management of this problem. The only non-question mark out there really is Bobby Seay. And I don’t suspect he can handle the situational lefty role as well as set up and closing!
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We can HOPE Perry baffles big league hitters. We can HOPE Rincon can return to former self. We can HOPE that Rodney becomes consistent and aggressive pitcher. We can HOPE that Zumaya is not physically finished and we can HOPE that Lyon can get hitters to pound the ball in the dirt. If most of these things happen THEN we can DREAM.
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Dan, your first post today got me going!
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The pen is shaping up as Miner, Rapada, Rodney, Seay, Perry, Rincon and Lyon. Seay and Rodney can handle the 7th innings, Rincon and hopefully Perry the 8th with Lyons the 9th. Perry would have to have a rapid development to hopefully also so some 9th inning work regardless of how Lyon goes, a big call on the 22 yo.
It made more sense trying the 4 years older Fien in the 8th/9th inning role than Perry.

Well the bullpen situation is slowly defining itself. Bloom has been returned to the Pirates and presumably it will cost them 50% of the waiver “fee”. The Rule 5 picks sometimes work out very well. Johann Santana was one as was Chris Shelton.
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This would almost guarantee that Rapada is the “other” lefty in the pen now. That’s assuming they aren’t dense enough to think Willis can manage that role. Robertson has almost certainly made the rotation (some might think by default).
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Lyon; Rodney; Miner; Seay; Rincon; Rapada; Perry are my best guesses for the pen now.
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I have predicted that Ordonez will have difficulty hitting .300 this year. I still believe that and what may even be worse, is that I think his power numbers are going to tail off significantly as well. This will put added pressure on Cab and Sheffield to produce with the long ball as this club is certainly not going to be racing around the bases scoring runs. The time for trading Ordonez and getting more than equal value, has passed. He will be entering the New Economy’s” nobody-wants-me-zone pretty soon. I reall feel DD missed an opportunity to inject his club with some youth and payroll room by not getting something for him over the winter.
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Be interesting to see what Bonderman is dealing today–Willis too. And what they DO with Willis depending on his performance today.

Beck,

can you give us more details on this anxiety disorder with Willis? Seems odd. Anyone heard of other players being put on the DL for this?

I think we need to guard against jumping to conclusions with this Willis business. There have already been some rather vicious comments made on the story on the main site. I’ll admit the first thought that jumped into my mind was Nate Robertson’s “tired arm”, but let’s keep an open mind.
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The fact is, there is a blood test that can point to anxiety disorders of varying types, and it is fairly new technology. So let’s see how this plays out. Good luck to Dontrelle.
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–Rich

The staff is certainly starting to take shape. Too bad about Dontrelle but it was pretty apparent there was something wrong with more than mechanics. I hope he recovers and finds fullfillment.
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Bonderman looks good to me. A couple of long balls but he is getting his off-speed stuff over and has been hurt a bit by some non-calls by the home plate ump. They know he can’t blow the ball by them but he is still getting ahead in the count. That, to me, is a good sign.
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Polanco seems to put on his power during Spring. I seem to remember last spring was a good one too. Cold weather is a problem for him though. Hopefully he enjoys the dome in Toronto and gets off to a good start with no back problems.

Not jumping to conclusions Rich, just seeking more info. I am one of many who also wants to see Willis succeed in Detroit.

On the bullpen–at least DD is still trying to find something out there still. That is encouraging anyway.
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Miner getting the outs but lots of fly balls and well hit balls. Not sure why, as he is a guy who often gets hitters out in the infield. Nice to see him throwing strikes though.
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Shoddy base-running today (Ordonez & Treanor).
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Feels like we are likely to see a trade yet before the season starts.

Did Rapada hurt himself on that last pitch? Looked like he landed wrong or something.

No–not hurt. In fact he just made the team with that performance.
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Hey–any folks out there playing Senior age slo-pitch? We are putting on a tournament in British Columbia the first weekend in September. Let me know if that’s a trip worth taking. Divisions in 55; 60; 65; 70; and maybe a 75+

Sure would have liked to see what Lyon or Perry had to offer there in the 9th. Kind of wasting a managerial option by throwing Bonine in that situation.
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Rapada looked very good and Miner is showing himself as a capable starter (even though this was technically a relief appearance).
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Gettin down to the crunch now.

This hurts the Tigers, they need everything to go good so they can get off to a good start. Now Willis, Zumaya, and Bonderman are gone and it looks like the Tigers are going to get hit hard with injuries, again.

Dombrowski failed to address the bullpen situation before the 2008 season, getting only Bautista, Cruceta, and Mantei. So what’s the surprise when he gets Rincon, Williamson, and Bloom? No team in the AL has spent less on free agents, or signed fewer free agents in the past three years. All the money goes to lucrative contracts and long term extensions that aren’t deserved. Free agency is used for one year stop gap measures only for three years in a row. The pen looks fine once the 2008 draft crop is ready, but we have to get through this year first. Perry now MUST step in and be effective in a late inning role. Not one returning reliever had a good year in the majors last year. Lyon and his 1.48 WHIP in the NL West was the best of the bunch. On the sunny side, they could hardly be worse.

Miner looked very sharp against the Braves on Sunday. Rapada came in and mowed the lefties down. Bonderman is a few weeks away, and should go on the DL today. Better do this right than do it fast. Whether Porcello or Miner gets the last spot until Bondo is ready is the question. Looks like they’ll get Nate ready for game four and Galarraga for the home opener.

It looks like Verlander, Jackson, Galarraga, Robertson, and Miner or Porcello. If Miner goes to the rotation, then Bonine gets the long relief job until Bonderman returns. If Porcello is in the rotation, Miner should see a lot of work in long relief, and still probably finagle 15 starts or so this year.

I hope Santiago is okay after beating out the infield single when the Tigs managed a rare “manufactured run” today. Turned out to be the winning run as Marcus sped home from third.

Jums, I wasn’t aiming my post at you. I was reacting to the mean-spirited comments on the main site. Your question is a good one, if any other players have landed on the DL with anxiety. I can think of Steve Blass back in the early 70s. Blass was the hero of the 1971 WS for the Pirates, then suddenly was unable to throw strikes ever again. They didn’t have as many diagnostic terms for conditions as they do now, but Blass eventually was out of baseball entirely. Jason has covered more recent cases in his article on the main site, which I guess you’ve seen by now. As the Royals did with Greinke, a club should try to work through it with their player, as I’m sure the Tigers will do. I agree with you that the timing seemed odd.
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Dan, I saw that with Rapada too, but he seemed okay the next inning, didn’t he? I wonder how Santiago is doing. That was quite a tumble. Flew through the air, actually.
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I think the only person in the world who doesn’t think Miner is better as a starter is Jim Leyland. I think I’d rather have Zach in the rotation and look to some of the youngsters for bullpen help. It’s definitely an evolving situation, but it’s better than not having enough pitchers to choose from.
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–Rich

Hey all,
I just read an article on YAHOO! sports about Zumaya and Willis. I obviously am caught up on their situations, but it also mentioned that the Tigers have returned the contract of Kyle bloom to the Pirates. I dont really pay attention to contracts unless I think they are too much or too little. My question is what does that mean? I guess I didnt know that you could return a contract!? Any answers would be helpful. Thanks guys. -Stacy GO TIGERS!!!!!

Rich answered most of the details earlier. If a player is not on the major team list after playing 4 years in the minors after college or 5 years after high school, another team can pick up the player under Draft Rule 5 for $50,000. The catch is the player then has to be on your team for at least the next season, otherwise the original team can take the player back for $25,000. We acquired Bloom from the Pirates on this basis and has now returned with the two spots currently available on the team likely being made available for Perry and Rincon.

I can’t take credit, Dave, for providing any Rule 5 information because I didn’t. I think Dan discussed it briefly.
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For the Tigers, Chris Shelton was a Rule 5 pickup in 2004 (I believe also from Pittsburgh) and did indeed spend the entire season with the big club, playing very little. He then became the regular firstbaseman early in the 2005 season and appeared to be set there for years to come. Didn’t work out, of course. At any rate, a loss of $25,000 is a relatively inexpensive gamble to take. Jason’s story says the Tigers tried to work a trade with the Pirates for Bloom so they could keep him in their minor league system, but nothing could be agreed upon.
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The study of contracts and transactions is truly a strange and wondrous thing. :-)
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–Rich

Let’s Go Armando!! Accidentally drafted him in a league today… seriously it was an accident, I didn’t really want him. Maybe it’ll be a good accident though.

http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

Spring Impressions:
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Inge-pleasant surprise and will help his pitchers to build confidence with their stuff
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Polanco-steady as she goes
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Sheffield-Time to come back from holidays and contribute
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Ordonez-Lost another step
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Guillen-Gentleman who deserves and will get a good season
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MCab-Will hit .300 this year and lead the league in RBIs
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Curtis-Has to learn to bunt, especially drag bunts against LHP. Has to learn to keep the 1st basemen honest as they lay back and wait for him to hit it to them. Oh yeah, and steal some bases too.
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Everett-hope he is as good as Eddie Brinkman was. Kinda reminds me of him.
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Laird-Has already made me forget about Pudge. Solid.
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Larish-His value will increase as the year progresses.
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Rodney-Needs something to ignite his limbic system
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Lyon-A critical key to Tigers’ success. Fingers crossed and jury out.
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Perry-A surprise cake with dramatic potential
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Rincon-Believe it or not, a good influence in the bullpen.
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Verlander- 20 Wins needed
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G-man- 14 needed
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Nate- 10 would be helpful but not probable
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Jackson-15 or 16 is do-able
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Bondo-A change-pice and a half a season will be more than we can expect. 10 wins?
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Miner/Porcello- I think these guys could combine for 15 wins
(at the expense of Nate)
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Knapp-Will be a significant improvement over CH
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JL-Hopes everyone forgets his “phenomenal, terrific” assessment of Willis early in the spring. Has the guts to sit Sheffield if he starts to impede the offense.
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DD-Is not afraid to bolster the bullpen through the trade market.

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