Results tagged ‘ Jeremy Bonderman ’
If the Tigers have offered a formal contract to Jeremy Bonderman, it seems to be a new development to Bonderman. He told MLB.com in a phone conversation Friday that he has left contract matters to his agent.
“I’m just seeing what all is out there right now,” Bonderman said. “But I have talked to Detroit.”
FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi cited sources Friday saying the Tigers have offered Bonderman a contract. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if they did. When Bonderman became a free agent two offseasons ago, president/GM Dave Dombrowski had a standing offer on the table for a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invite. Bonderman was looking for a Major League contract at that time, and ended up simply staying home.
Bonderman admitted this past spring that he blew out his elbow while working out that offseason. He underwent Tommy John surgery this spring and has worked out ever since then in preparation for a comeback attempt. He said Friday he’s on schedule to be ready for full workouts for Spring Training.
He’s willing to accept a minor-league deal with a camp invite now, which could pave the way for a reunion with the Tigers. At this point however, it would make sense for him to watch the market and see what develops. If he can find a team with a rotation opening, it would give him a better shot at making the team than he might have in Detroit, where the Tigers already have enough established starters to fill out a rotation regardless whether they re-sign Anibal Sanchez.
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in an email Friday that he can’t comment on specific free agents, citing current Major League rules.
Dombrowski said last week that the Tigers could look for a starter to compete for the fifth spot if they don’t re-sign Sanchez. Most likely, though, that signing would be an insurance option in case Drew Smyly struggles or somebody gets hurt. The Tigers don’t have the same starter depth in the upper levels of their farm system that they had the past couple years, having traded Jacob Turner and watched Andy Oliver struggle mightily this past season. Duane Below and Adam Wilk are among the depth options they have right now.
The Tigers helped get Freddy Garcia back on the mound a few years ago after shoulder surgery, then watched him help thwart their division hopes with the White Sox the following season. Now that Garcia is a free agent again and the Tigers need some starting competition, would a reunion in Detroit be possible, or has he burned his bridges here?
It’s possible, though unlikely at this point. Tigers officials at least pondered the idea this offseason, and Garcia is believed to be open to it. But all indications point towards Brad Penny and Jeremy Bonderman getting more consideration from the Tigers right now as they look for a veteran starter to push Armando Galarraga for the fifth starter spot.
On the list of back-end starting options, the Tigers certainly could do worse.
Garcia went 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts down the stretch for Detroit in 2008 after missing more than a year rehabbing from labrum surgery. More shoulder trouble in winter ball helped keep the Tigers off him that offseason. He rejoined the White Sox, where he helped win a World Series in 2005, and went 15-10 in Chicago over the last two seasons, but with a 4.56 ERA and 27 home runs allowed over 213 combined innings.
Garcia throws with even less velocity now than he had a few years ago, but he gets more results out of less pure stuff than a lot of pitchers in his situation. As one scout put it, he pitches like he can throw 95 mph. He also has as much experience with AL Central hitters as anyone on the market — 36 plate appearances against Justin Morneau (6-for-29), 35 PAs versus Joe Mauer (13-for-31), 36 with Travis Hafner (15-for-33) and 34 against Jim Thome (5-for-23).
There’s also the 18-7 record he sports against the Tigers, including 2-1 with a 4.39 ERA in five meetings with Detroit last year. His seven innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts at Detroit on the final Saturday of the 2009 season was a major blow in the Tigers’ division collapse, dropping them into a tie with the Twins.
For those of you who figured something was up when Phil Coke was named to start today’s season finale, you were right. After Jim Leyland said earlier this month that he was still unsure whether Coke was better suited as a starter or a reliever, Leyland said Sunday morning, “My intention is to have Phil Coke in the rotation.”
The original plan for the Tigers’ September callups was that nobody was probably coming up until Triple-A Toledo’s season ended on Labor Day. There just isn’t much depth left in the farm system. However, Jeremy Bonderman’s rib cage muscle issues might have put a little more urgency in the works. The team announced Tuesday that right-handed reliever Robbie Weinhardt will be recalled Wednesday, the first day rosters can be expanded.
The Tigers sent down Weinhardt a couple weeks ago to work on his slider to go with his sinker. In general, manager Jim Leyland said at the time, his stuff was “up, up, up, up, up.” He has six innings with the Mud Hens since then, allowing an unearned runs on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Detroit had to go short in the bullpen when Alfredo Figaro made a spot start for Bonderman over the weekend. The Tigers haven’t announced their rotation for next weekend at Kansas City, so we don’t know yet whether Figaro will have to start for Bonderman again on Friday.
Had a question pop up yesterday asking whether the Tigers would start Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander this weekend in Boston. Turns out, the answer is both.
The Tigers have released their rotation for this weekend’s series against the Red Sox, and Jeremy Bonderman will have his spot skipped. The rotation order would’ve brought up his spot Friday or Saturday, depending on whether Jim Leyland wanted to start him or Armando Galarraga first.
Instead, Galarraga will pitch Friday night at Fenway, then Scherzer, then Verlander. It also means Verlander will not pitch next week against the White Sox.
Bonderman’s road numbers have been bad for most of the year, but all four of his July starts came at home, and he went 1-1 with a 7.77 ERA in those.
It isn’t an easy decision either way. One philosophy would suggest saving one of your front-line starters for the White Sox, especially in a series that starts with a day-night doubleheader. A Verlander start Tuesday sets you up to conserve your bullpen for the nightcap. On the other hand, the way the Tigers have struggled lately and struggled on the road all year, there’s a case to be made to give the team any chance it can to win this weekend.
By this time Wednesday, the Tigers’ 25-man roster should be known. Manager Jim Leyland said Monday afternoon that roster moves Tuesday to whittle the roster down to about 26, including a decision on the final position player and the backup catcher.
“By this time tomorrow, we’ll be down to probably one guy [over the limit],” Leyland said. “I think the picture will be almost totally clear for everybody by tomorrow.”
The one decision that will be left will be in the rotation. That, Leyland said, should be decided Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest. Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman both start Tuesday — Willis against the Orioles in Sarasota, Bonderman in a minor league game. Nate Robertson is scheduled to start Thursday against the Braves. You can read into that, I suppose, what that means for Robertson’s chances.
Leyland said Sunday he has in his mind what his roster would be, but that it wouldn’t necessarily be the final roster. Dave Dombrowski has the final say on that. So what follows now is a discussion with Dombrowski, Leyland, the coaching staff and other members of the front office on the baseball side.
The final roster spot is essentially down to Don Kelly or Clete Thomas. The backup catching decision essentially comes down to whether the Tigers want Alex Avila catching a couple times a week in Detroit or every day in Toledo for development’s sake, which would most likely put Robinzon Diaz on the team. The fact that roster decisions are coming Tuesday seemingly indicates the Tigers don’t expect to grab another backup catcher on the waiver wire or in a trade.
Yes, you’ve probably heard this before, but this time Jim Leyland has basically told Jeremy Bonderman that he needs the splitter as a third pitch if he’s going to be an effective pitcher.
“I talked to Bondo last night,” Leyland said Saturday morning. “With the equipment he has right now. I think he needs to become a three-pitch pitcher. He can’t pitch like he did before, throwing 95, 94 [mph]. He needs to use the three pitches to be effective. I think he can do that.”
That makes a difference how? Consider Bonderman’s comments after his first outing of the spring against the Blue Jays:
“I’ve got to throw it,” Bonderman said on March 3. “If I want to be any good,
I’ve got to take risks. I’m not going to go out there and just use what
I know works all the time. To be successful and have a full year, I
want that other pitch. If someone beats me out for the fifth spot,
fourth spot, whatever it is, then good for them.”
Now here are his comments four days later, after he was knocked out in the second inning:
“I don’t have a job,” Bonderman said. “Shoot, there’s five guys fighting for two jobs, maybe six guys. I don’t know exactly, but there’s enough guys fighting for them. [There's] nothing in stone that it’s my spot. Until [Leyland] comes up to me and says, ‘It’s your job,’ I don’t think I have a job. Just because you’re under contract doesn’t mean anything. I haven’t played in two years. I just need to get more consistent and get ahead in the count.”
Now, if Bonderman is feeling like he has to get ahead in counts and fight for a job, how much is he going to focus on working on a third pitch?
That’s where Leyland’s remarks make a difference. Ideally, they’re reassurance.
“I think guys are trying what they think is their best shot to make the team,” Leyland said Saturday morning.
Other items of interest from Saturday:
- If Ramon Santiago looked a little faster running out his triple on Saturday, there’s a reason. He spent a good amount of time in the offseason doing workouts designed to help his quickness, including instruction from a former Cuban track and field coach now living in the Dominican. He also has worked with new coach Tom Brookens on how to hit the bases on the inside and get around quicker. He thinks he can steal some bases if the team asks him, but more important, he feels he can go from first to third on more hits to set up easy RBI chances.
- Leyland reiterated what he has said about young lefty Daniel Schlereth so far: Good stuff, but a little inconsistent. Then he added this: A person he respects from another organization said he felt Schlereth had the best left-hander he saw all year in 2009. Wouldn’t say who it was.
- Robbie Weinhardt is still in camp, albeit a long shot by Leyland’s admission to make the roster. Still, Leyland believes he isn’t far off. “He’s a good breaking ball from being a Major League pitcher right now,” Leyland said. “He has a true big-time sinker, but he needs to do more with his breaking ball.”
- Today was a quick day back at work after being off Thursday and Friday. I’ll be off again Sunday. Always fun to get a break hanging out and watching March Madness. It’s one of those few sporting events where you can talk about a banker, an IT guy and a garbageman walking into a sports bar and not have it be the start of a joke.
The pitching rotation still hasn’t been filled out, but at least we know when the guys who are set will start. Jim Leyland announced this morning that Rick Porcello will start the home opener when the Tigers host the Indians on Friday, April 9. Max Scherzer will start the second game of the season against the Royals on Wednesday, April 7, after Justin Verlander starts Opening Day on April 5.
That leaves two openings that will depend on who’s pitching.
One would figure that if Jeremy Bonderman gets a spot, he would appear to be more likely to start the series finale at Kansas City April 8. Bonderman would logically fit into the series finale at Kansas City April 8, but he still has a three-game suspension looming over him from his pitch that hit Minnesota’s Delmon Young in the final week of last season. Bonderman immediately appealed the suspension, and I haven’t heard anything yet about a hearing. Unless it’s reduced, he can’t pitch at all during the KC series, which would put someone else in line to pitch that game.
You could say it’s the first major assignment for the 21-year-old Porcello, but starting the tiebreaker game against Minnesota last October was pretty big. Leyland said he wanted Scherzer’s first start as a Tiger to be on the road rather than in the added energy of a home atmosphere.
Suspensions and fines just came down from Thursday’s hijinks between the Twins and Tigers, and the only suspensions are on the Tigers side. Jeremy Bonderman received three games, which he immediately decided to appeal. Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who was acting manager when Bonderman hit Delmon Young with a ninth-inning pitch, was suspended one game, even though he wasn’t thrown out of the game. He can’t appeal, so he’s out for tonight’s game. Bonderman was fined $1500, McClendon $1000, and manager Jim Leyland (ejected earlier in the game) and catcher Gerald Laird (ejected along with Bonderman) were fined $500 each.
Jose Mijares, whom the Twins and Tigers blamed for escalating matters when he threw behind Adam Everett in the eighth, was fined but not suspended.
Former Tiger Bobby Higginson was not at the park and was neither fined nor suspended.
Manager Jim Leyland sent Jeremy Bonderman out for the ninth inning with the idea of getting him some much-needed work to try to work on some things in a low-pressure setting. Three batters and a pair of one-out walks later, Bonderman was gone, replaced by lefty Fu-Te Ni to face left-handed hitter Travis Hafner.
Leyland said after the game that he wasn’t trying to send Bonderman a message about commanding the strike zone. Rather, he was trying to avoid a big hit from Hafner spurring a late rally.