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.