Tigers lock up Bonderman

The Tigers agreed to a 4 year contract with Jeremy Bonderman keeping him a Tiger through the 2010 season. I don’t have terms yet, but I’ll update when I learn more.

Signing Bonderman to a long term deal had to be one of the Tigers’ top priorities this offseason (at least it was mine). His peripherals have improved every year and he was 2nd to Johan Santana in K/9. I’m pretty excited and I don’t even know the terms yet.

UPDATE: According to the Cut Off Man, who is citing WDFN, the deal is for $38 million. This appears to be a great deal for the Tigers, and a nice big payday for Bonderman.

As a point of comparison, Johan Santana signed a 4 year $39.75 million deal last year which also bought out his last 2 years of aribtration. Bondo is no Santana, but given the inflation in the market this year this seems reasonable. Bonderman would be likely to make $10-12 million over his last 2 years of arbitration. So the Tigers essentially got his first 2 years of free agency for about $14 million per year. Bonderman will still get to be a free agent at the age of 28 so everyone wins.

UPDATE 2: The contract breaks down like so:
2007 -$4.5 million
2008 -$8.5 million
2009 -$12.5 million
2010 -$12.5 million

Lee has summarized I’ll the statisical goodness that is Bonderman into a succinct paragraph:

This is a very important signing for the Tigers. Bonderman gets a lot of criticism from fans but people forget that he was just 23 years old last year and has been improving each year. Bonderman was 14th in the league with a 4.08 ERA and had an excellent K/BB ratio of 202/64 in 214 innings in 2006. He was 4th in the league with a FIP ERA of 3.37, 2nd in strikeouts per 9 IP (8.6), 6th in fewest homeruns per 9 IP pitched (0.77) and 7th in ground ball percentage. So, he’s already good and could become dominant as he matures.

One could even argue that Bonderman is already pretty close to dominant. What’s holding him back is some inconsistency, such as the 2 times he gave up 6 run leads at home late in the season.

As I said in the initial reaction, I didn’t even know what the terms were and I thought it was a good deal. Unlike the Tigers other acquisitions this season, a pitcher of Bonderman’s caliber is hard to come by. You don’t want to see any crippling contracts, but securing him long term was vital. While I expect Bonderman to continue improving, given the terms of the deal he doesn’t even have to to make it worthwhile. If he can replicate 2006 4 more times he will have earned his money.

The only real concern is that Bonderman has 749 major league innings at the tender age of 23. Those concerns are somewhat alleviated by his gradual innings build-up (162, 184, 189, 214). And while this probably has little bearing given the uniqueness of pitchers, his mechanics are quite similar to workhorse Roger Clemens.

The rest of the Tiger blog-o-sphere is pretty excited also.


  1. Kyle M

    December 18, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    This is a smart move by both sides. The Tigers lock up one of the best SP’s under the age of 25 at a time when #3 starters are getting huge deals. Without even knowing the specifics it is a great move by DD and Mr. I.

    For Jeremy it is a smart move to cash in now. He’s a young guy with I think a wife and a kid and he just secured his family’s financial security which is something that you can’t ignore. Also he is so young that he will still be a free agent at around 28 so he can cash in again.

  2. Don

    December 18, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    Very nice. Rotoworld thinks terms will be about 40 mil, which would be a great deal for us if he stays healthy. Tigers bought his first two years of FA eligibility for about $15/year look what other guys are making this year:
    gil meche 55 for 5
    jason schmidt (33) signed 47 for 3
    pettitte (34) 32 for 2
    mussina (how old?) 23 for 2
    The way money’s flying around, I’d not be surprised if a 26 year old bonderman would have made over 20 as an FA after 2008. But really, when you have 40 mil in the bank, what’s another few mil between friends.

  3. Joey C.

    December 18, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    I love these terms. 38 million for a 4-year contract, in an off-season when Ted Lilly got a 4-year 40 million deal. Lord knows how much Zito is going to command. It’s great we got this locked up before some moron hands Zito so much cash that the market is skewed even further.

  4. Jake

    December 18, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    espn also reporting $38 million:


  5. Eric Jackson

    December 18, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    Outstanding deal for the Tigers, for this one I wouldn’t say Bondo is cashing in. When Gil Meche gets $11 million a year, this is a great deal on the Tigers part.

    Very Happy to have have Bondo for 4 more.

  6. TC Chris

    December 18, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    Yes! Outstanding deal.

  7. Greg

    December 18, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    I almost feel bad for Bondo; Tigers got a steal here. Part of me wishes it was longer term, but a lot can happen in 4 years that could make a long-term deal bad. See Dreifort, Darren.

  8. Dave

    December 18, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    We begin to see the value of being a championship team. Detroit is a great baseball town and Leyland is a manager players love to play for. Deal for Bonderman is reasonable from the perspective of each party. KC had to grossly overpay for Meche just like the Tigers did for Mags a few years ago as it was the only way they could compete in the free agent market.

  9. Nate A

    December 18, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    I too am a huge fan of this deal. The price should be a great bargain if he continues to progress as he has, and I think the length of the contract is just about right.

    And as much as I like Bondo, I don’t think he’s untouchable either. So if in the future a potential deal comes along, his price wont make such a thing impossible.

    I’m still a bit shocked he didnt opt for the arbitration route, but good for him and good for the Tigs!

  10. Mark P.

    December 18, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Oh, Happy Days!

  11. Chris Y.

    December 18, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Well-deserved 38mil. I love having Bondo in the fold for the next four…this is good news!!!

  12. Kyle J

    December 18, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    Great deal. How long do the Tigers control Verlander and Zumaya? Must be at least four years, right? If you were going to pick three players as a foundation for a team, Bonderman, Verlander, and Zumaya would be a pretty good trio to pick.

  13. Sam

    December 19, 2006 at 12:53 am

    Verlander and Zoom-Zoom are not eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season. So these 3 are together until then (barring injury and/or trade).

    I did a dance when I saw the deal. I figured about 10m/year. Great deal for both sides. He has got scary stuff. I actually liek his stuff better than Verlander’s.


  14. Brian Dukeman

    December 19, 2006 at 8:28 am

    Yeah. We get to keep Bondo!!!

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  17. ron

    December 19, 2007 at 1:42 am

    I think Bonderman could have secured his family’s future for a lot less. This does insure a rise in ticket prices, though. As far as I know, we are not a championship team; haven’t been for 23 years. Bonderman’s stuff is scary, especially in the first inning.

  18. ron

    December 19, 2007 at 11:04 am

    For a guy who works one day a week for about three hours and will average about three quarters of a million dollars a week for four years (that’s about 80 to a 100 thousand dollars an hour) and only has to be at work for 6 months and gets a 15 minute break for every 15 minutes of work excluding the first inning in which Jeremy tends to sleep through, I think Mr. Bonderman is doing okay for himself. Why wouldn’t he want to be a Tiger for life? Why would he ever consider leaving Tigertown in 4 years unless greed rears it’s ugly head and forces Jeremy to pressure Mr. Illitch to fork over more money so Mr. Bonderman can keep up with the guys in the other ballparks across this great nation of ours. And in four years, Jeremy’s son will be ready for an expensive private elementary school in the northern suburbs of Detroit. That can be quite expensive too. I’m so glad to see fans so giddy about this signing that they can hardly contain themselves. Go Tigers.