2010 Offseason: The 2011 Rotation

Here’s what I see as set in stone, and what’s on the books for 2011:

1) JV – $12.75M

2) Scherzer – $~1.5M, arb eligible

3) Porcello – $1.536M, club option

4/5) Galarraga – under club control, but note that he’s Super-2 eligible thanks to a rather generously low hurdle this year (2 yrs, 122 days).

Down on the farm the future looks bright, but it might be a few years.  Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, and Casey Crosby are all expected to be solid rotation guys, but Turner and Crosby are likely two years away.  Remember that Crosby was shut down last July with recurring elbow problems after a few bad starts on a rehab stint in the GCL (he started the year on the DL as well coming off of Tommy John).  2011 will be an important year for Crosby.

Turner split the year between Western Michigan and Lakeland last year, and was dominant in both.  Overall he posted a 3.28 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and struck out 102 in 115 IPs.  The kid is only 19, and his age is probably the only reason why we wouldn’t see him in 2011.

Oliver had 5 not so flattering starts last year for the big league club, though he did pitch two quality starts before being sent back down, posting a 3.00 ERA.  Oliver spent the rest of the year in Toledo, where he struck out 49 in 53 IPs, and posted a 3.23 ERA.  Oliver turns 23 next month and I see no reason why he wouldn’t have a legitimate shot at the rotation in spring training.

This year’s free agent class includes Bonderman, Carl Pavano, Chris Young, Aaron Harang, Hiroki Kuroda, Javier Vazquez, and Justin Duchscherer.  I really like Kuroda, but I feel that the Tigers’ free agent dollars would be better spent elsewhere.  Anyone think they’ll make Bonderman an offer?

James Shields and Zach Grienke are also rumored to be available.  I don’t think we have the chips for Grienke, and I’m not sure that I’d want James Shields.