The Tigers have made a decision, at least for the time being, to stick with Dontrelle Willis in the starting rotation. Jeremy Bonderman will head to the bullpen…for now. Keeping Willis in the rotation is probably the right decision if Bonderman is the other option. Of course I kind of agree with Lee that perhaps that pool should include Zach Miner. That doesn’t seem like an option the team is exploring at the moment though, so what can we take from this decision?
First of all, Bonderman isn’t ready. I don’t think there is a lot of questioning of this point. I don’t see him being able to rebuild his arm strength pitching in sporadic low leverage situations in the pen. My guess is he gets optioned to Toledo (assuming he clears waivers and agrees to it) to work in the rotation and hopefully get his velocity back. He’s in the pen now because they need another arm in the pen, and likely want to bring Ryan Perry back. But Perry has to stay on optional assignment for a minimum of 10 days.
As for Willis, it appears he is pitching just well enough (not necessarily good) to hang in the rotation. This will be another test. I guess the goodish news is that we get to see Dontrelle hit for the first time.