Bonine agrees to minor league deal with Phillies

Three years after Chad Durbin went from Tigers swingman to finding a home in the Phillies bullpen, Eddie Bonine will try to do the same. The long reliever and occasional starter has agreed to a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invite, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told MLB.com.

Bonine became a free agent when the Tigers outrighted him last week, and interest built quickly, notably among National League teams. Detroit made a push within the last day or so to try to keep him, but they couldn’t match the Phillies offer in terms of money.

He’s the second reliever in as many days to leave the Tigers organization. The Astros signed Casey Fien to a minor-league deal yesterday.

Bonine went 4-1 with a 4.63 ERA in 47 appearances with the Tigers this year, his first full season in the big leagues. One of those appearances was a spot start; the rest were relief appearances. He struggled mightily down the stretch with a .395 opposing batting average and a 7.52 ERA, but there’s reason to believe in a rebound if he can improve his knuckleball and stay out of counts where he has to challenge hitters with his fastball. He’ll turn 30 next June.

As of now, Max St. Pierre is the lone Tiger among their minor-league free agents that Detroit has re-signed.

What this means for the long end of the Tigers bullpen isn’t yet clear, and probably won’t be until they get their rotation figured out. Brad Thomas is expected back, and there’s hope Zach Miner will be ready for the start of Spring Training after undergoing Tommy John surgery last May.

8 Comments

Eddie Bonine, Zach Miner, Brad Thomas, this is not a bullpen. Bonine and Miner are starters and Thomas was emergency help last year. Throw in Zumaya’s injuries and Coke into the rotation and we had and have no bullpen to speak of. This is not to say that we won’t acquire some arms, I think we will, but let’s take this seriously. For one thing, we need a reliever as good or better than Coke, or else Phil needs to be in the pen again. You either get that reliever or you get a starter. And then I keep reading that the Tigers could use a Brandon Lyon type reliever. Yikes.
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I don’t do this offseason stuff too well. :-) I’ve heard some say that this is their favorite time of the baseball year, but give me the crack of the bat and the ball smacking into a mitt anytime. Obviously, I’m not a fantasy player. In case you couldn’t tell…….. :-)
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–Rich

Losing Bonine and Fien improves the bullpen.
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I agree about Coke–his value is in the pen, especially when your pen is indistinct.
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There are some nice arms out there and don’t be surprised if they pick up someone with a past but poor numbers last year. We have all seen how bullpen pitchers can have outstanding years after relatively poor ones.
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The talk of Putz coming here is encouraging. That might work out quite well.
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No point on counting on Seay or Miner. Better to right them off and start building a pen with strong, healthy arms.
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I like VMart but the truth is he does not hit RHP all that well. If you pay the kind of money he will fetch you want someone who hits RHP ( since mot pitchers are RH!!)
He is very ordinary as a LHB and we all know that is what is really needed behind Cab.
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I’d be more inclined to get a seasoned RHB catcher who is willing to back Avila up and take over efficently if neccessary.
Miguel Olivo comes to mind.
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I’d be somewhat thrilled if they were to get Dunn (provided he is on board to DH), but my greedy preference would be for Crawford and Thome.
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I am crossing my fingers we don’t start to get the company talk about already having a good DH (Guillen).
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Still think Luke Scott might be a decent DH.
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Not sure what happens with Wells and Boesch next year. I really don’t see room on the roster for both of them at this point. Boesch was fun to watch and then downright painful. Jekyll and Hyde performance is a bit troubling. JL’s brilliant assessment of him being somewhere in between doesn’t say much for where that might be.
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The complexion of the team should change rather dramatically and I full expect we will be subjected (or treated) to a trade that really alters the composition on the team. Last year the Grandy trade really shook things up–and let’s not forget the EJ component too.
DD has shown he can accept criticism and take on risk. Though there have been mistakes he has done pretty well all things considered. Except for his perpetual endorsement of the minor league manager in Olde English D.

Since the team” has enough pitching”. Seay?
If Vmart signned tomorrow, what happens with the draft pick. That is, they can sign FA but teams have two weeks more to offer arbitration.

Dan, that’s about as concise and accurate an assessment of DD that I ever hope to see. Excellent.
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Looking at DH numbers alone, two guys that jump off the page in that department are Luke Scott and Jim Thome. They both appear to have this DH thing down. Victor, on the other hand, not so much.
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V-Mart’s value is in providing a DH/1stbaseman/catcher. His offensive numbers as a LH hitter were down in 2010 (the Fenway Factor?) but overall, he seems to do fine on either side of the plate. I don’t think he’s nearly as bad a catcher as many make him out to be, other than an erratic throwing arm, and he takes pride in his leadership role at that position. He’s not great back there, but he’s not bad either.
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Scott, Thome, Martinez, I’d be glad to have any of them.
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–Rich

Guillen has 17 HR and 75 rbi over his past 530 ABs. Not terrible for a 2B/DH. Unfortunately that is over 2 seasons. I still think he can be a solid 2 game a week starter at 2B or DH and pinch hitter, being a switch-hitter and all.
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Luke Scott is a great suggestion. He hits for power, can DH without it affecting his hitting and would not cost nearly as much as some of the other guys out there trade-wise. Trade for him and play him in OF and DH part-time. Sign V-Mart and have him catch part time and DH the rest. Either could take over at 1B on a day off for Miggy. There are your #s 3 and 5 hitters, your backup catcher, starting outfielder and starting DH. Rotating Raburn and Guillen in there as needed as well.
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Signing guys like JC Romero or JJ Putz or Jesse Crain would be an upgrade for sure over Bonine. Coke needs to stay in the pen…I can’t see him being any better as a starter. I wonder if they aren;t just saying that as insurance against an Oliver trade, so that Phil is ready to go come spring training if Oliver is gone. Because I do not like him being handed a rotation spot one bit.

That was from the latest edition of Hot Stove on MLB Network, Pup, yes. That show also featured Dan Uggla, a high K homer hitting secondbaseman. The rumor is the Marlins would want relief pitchers so I’m not sure where that would go. And Uggla would be pricey. The fact that the Tigers have so many holes is causing them to appear in trade rumors, as many predicted it would.
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Scott and Martinez would be good, Clearwater. Nice summation. On Coke, I’m not so much against him starting as I am removing him from the bullpen. He may be able to fit into the rotation but it would still depend on who one of the other starters is.
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Meanwhile everyone is waiting for that first big transaction to get the ball rolling.
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–Rich

Can’t remember where I heard it or read it, but the Rangers have VMart on their radar supposedly to entice Cliff Lee to stay in Texas. His personal catcher, so to speak. OK, MLB Network was discussing this, now I remember. One of the commentators believed this package could make Lee stay a Ranger instead of gong to NY with aging Posada and a bunch of young backup catchers.

On Oliver: The opinion of many in the organization at season’s end is that he isn’t ready yet to stick in the big leagues, that he needs more polish on his secondary pitches and simply needs a little more time to learn how to pitch. Another organization might see things differently, if he ends up being traded. But as we all know, the Tigers aren’t afraid to push their pitchers along the fast track, so I don’t think you can accuse Detroit of being too cautious.

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