Robertson traded

Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis have secured the final two spots in the Tigers rotation, and Nate Robertson secured a spot with the Marlins. The Tigers today traded Robertson and $9.6 million of his $10 million contract for Marlins left handed prospect Jay Voss. For my thoughts on the trade, well, just look back a couple days.

Robertson outpitched his two competitors not only this spring, but last year as well. The stats say that Robertson should be in the rotation. It has to be a tough pill for Robertson to swallow.*

Continue reading Robertson traded

Putting eggs in the Willis basket

The battle for the back end of the Tigers starting rotation has been the story of the spring for Detroit fans. The Tigers are counting on two of the Jeremy Bonderman – Nate Robertson – Dontrelle Willis trio to bill out the last 40% of the starters innings. Bonderman has pretty much had the 4th spot assured leaving Robertson and Willis battling for the 5th spot. But with Robertson outpitching Willis by most measures, it appears that Robertson is on the block and Willis has that  last spot. A dangerous proposition to say the least.

Continue reading Putting eggs in the Willis basket

Eddie Bonine is your 5th starter

Flashback a week. The Tigers had a big lead in the division and they were surging. Nate Robertson had turned in two solid performances. Jarrod Washburn’s troubles were optimistically assigned to a sore knee that would hopefully be better with a little rest. Armando Galarraga’s struggles were tied to elbow inflammation and with a little rest there was reason to think he wouldn’t be awful. This would be great news to have potentially 6 starters down the stretch with a big lead and 3 key cogs to the rotation having worked more than they ever had and looking for rest. Oh well. It was a good thought at the time.

Robertson has since gone down with pelvic inflammation. Washburn’s knee isn’t better. Galarraga’s elbow isn’t better. And so what may have been 6 is now 3. Washburn will search for effectiveness in the rotation and Eddie Bonine has been promoted to 5th starter for the remainder of the season.

Now remainder of the season could be 1 start, the actual remainder of the season, or something in between. Jim Leyland has been known to make decrees before only to change his mind a week later – at least he isn’t stubborn in that regard. The duration of Bonine’s spot is probably equally contingent on Bonine’s effectiveness and the health of Robertson and Galarraga. Though I suspect that Galarraga returning to the rotation would be a stretch at this point.

Robertson’s problem flared up after his start against Cleveland and he had hoped to make it through 5 innings against the Blue Jays, but it didn’t work so well. Still, if he can get back quickly he could find a spot as a starter.

The bigger downside of all the shuffling has to do with not just the potential effectiveness or ineffectiveness of injured and replacement players, but the increased importance that Verlander/Jackson/Porcello starts take on down the stretch. Extra rest or skipped spots don’t look to be an option for any of the 3 over the last 3 weeks of the season. And with a potential playoff spot and additional innings coming for all 3 pitchers that has to be a concern. Then again, just add it to the list.

Tigers Minor League Wrap & More 8/25/09

Louisville 3 Toledo 2
Wilkin Ramirez and Wil Rhymes each had 2 hits. Nate Robertson started and went 6.2 innings, he allowed 3 hits, no runs, 2 walks, and he fanned 9 – and it only took him 68 pitches to do it. Jeremy Bonderman didn’t fare as well allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk in 1 inning.

Erie 5 Reading 8
Michael Bertram was a single short of the cycle. Casper Wells had 3 hits including 2 doubles. Jared Gayhart got another start and lasted 4 innings with 5 K’s, 2 walks, 4 hits, and 1 run.

Lakeland 4 Daytona 6
Devin Thomas and Jeramy Laster each had 2 doubles. Lauren Gagnier allowed 2 homers and 4 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 5 K’s in 5 innings. Austin Wood pitched a scoreless inning with a strike out.

West Michigan 3 Lansing 4
Billy Nowlin homered for 1 of his 3 hits. Ben Guez and Luis Salas each had 2 hits, and Salas added 2 walks. Luke Putkonen fanned 8 in 6 shutout innings allowing 2 walks and 4 hits. Jade Todd was lit up for 4 runs in 2.1 innings.

Oneonta 1 Staten Island 4
Jamie Johnson doubled and walked. Alexis Espinoza doubled an singled. Mark Newman pitched 4 shutout innings with 4 hits, no walks and 2 K’s.

GCL Tigers 1 GCL Blue Jays 4
Brett Anderson went 2 for 4. Rayni Guichardo pitched 6 shutout innings and fanned 5 against 3 walks and 3 hits. Melvin Mercedes picked up his 15th save with a scoreless inning.

Minors Notes

The Tigers preliminary Arizona Fall League roster was announced. Robbie Weinhardt, Cody Satterwhite, Thad Weber, Ryan Strieby, Cale Iorg, and Scott Sizemore will represent the Tigers. Take 75 North breaks down the selections.

Also of note, Jeff Larish is done for the year as his wrist required surgery. Larish did pretty much nothing at the plate the latter part of the year and at least with an injury there is some explanation.

Tigers Minor League and Rehab Wrap 8/20/09

Toledo 10 Columbus 1
Nate Robertson went 5 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits with no walks and 4 K’s. Jeremy Bonderman didn’t allow a hit in 2 innings and he fanned 2 and walked none. Dusty Ryan went 3 for 5 with a homer. Don Kelly also had 3 hits and a homer. Wil Rhymes went 3 for 6.

Erie 2 Trenton 0
Brennan Boesch went 1 for 2 with 2 walks. Jared Gayhart fanned 6 and walked 1 in 5 innings of 1 hit ball. Cody Satterwhite fanned 3 and allowed 1 hit in his 3 innings.

Lakeland 3 Tampa 4
Max Leon went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles. Charlie Furbush allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks with 5 K’s in 3 innings.

West Michigan 4 Dayton 5
Ben Guez went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles. Billy Nowlin had 3 hits including a homer. Luke Putkonen fanned 5 and walked none in 7.2 inning and all he surrendered was 1 unearned run on 2 hits. Tyler Stohr has been good this year, but didn’t have it last night as he allowed 4 runs in the 9th inning.

Williamsport 5 Oneonta 8
Camelo Jaime homered as part of a 3 for 4 day. Jaime Johnson singled twice and tripled. John Murian went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Nate Newman allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk in 2 innings.

GCL Braves 7 GCL Tigers 8
Alexander Nunez went 4 for 6 with a triple. James Robbins went 3 for 6 with a homer. Nolan Moody went the last 4 innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits, 1 walk and 5 K’s.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 8/15/09

Toledo 1 Louisville 4
Brent Dlugach doubled and singled. Nate Robertson allowed 3 hits and a walk in 3 scoreless innings with 3 strikeouts. Jeremy Bonderman allowed a solo homer with 1 K in his 9 pitch inning.

Erie 2 Connecticut 3
Brennan Boesch, Cale Iorg, and Deik Scram each had 2 hits. Jonah NIckerson allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks and a strike out in 6.2 innings. Jared Gayhart finished the game and didn’t allow any baserunners.

Lakeland – DH was suspended

South Bend 12 West Michigan 3
Gustavo Nunez and Billy Nowlin each had 2 hits. Victor Larez was touched for 6 runs in 4 innings. Brandon Hamilton allowed 2 runs in 2 innings. Eric Crichton surrendered 4 unearned runs in his inning.

Oneonta 2 Brooklyn 1
Keith Hernandez doubled and homered. Alexis Espinoza doubled. Jose Siso pitched 5 shut out innings allowing 2 hits and 3 walks while fanning 3.

GCL Pirates 7 GCL Tigers 2
Chao Ting Tang went 2 for 3. Jacob Cruz and Francisco Martinez each doubled. Zach Samuels fanned 3 in 4.2 innings of no run ball. Gary Perinar was torched for 7 runs in 4.1 innings despite striking out 7.

Infirmary report and other thoughts

Aside from Joel Zumaya’s season ending surgery, the news is actually pretty good on the injury front. So much so that the only wound licking to take place should be residual pain of a 2-4 road trip.

  • Carlos Guillen, already swinging a productive stick from the left side, could be playing in left field by the end of the week. Now Guillen in left isn’t necessarily good news from a defensive perspective but it also means he isn’t locked into the DH role. Beck’s Blog: Guillen close to playing in field
  • Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson had good reports the day following their simulated game and head out on rehab assignment. Both will be in Toledo starting Tuesday (so the Mud Hens should eat well) with the goal to stretch Robertson out as a starter while Bonderman will be pitching out of the pen. I wouldn’t expect Robertson back before September 1st when the rosters expand. Tigers Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson to pitch in Toledo on Tuesday | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press
  • After Saturday’s effort I’m in no hurry to bump Porcello from the rotation, but the addition of either pitcher, or someone else after September 1st could help to curtail Porcello’s workload down the stretch. With a bigger roster to work with Leyland could do some split starts with Porcello if need be.
  • Brandon Inge’s balky knees have bothered him less of late due to a change in his treatment regimen, and the fact he’s been working with a specialist on a way to put the pain out of his mind.
  • Gerald Laird has been the Tigers best baserunner. Who knew? Tiger Tales: A Detroit Tigers Blog: Gerald Laird Leads Tigers in Base Running
  • Speaking of Gerald Laird, i was wondering if he might have any soft of advantage working with Jarrod Washburn since they spent several years in the AL West together. Turns out Laird only has 16 plate appearances against him. And in case you were wondering, Luke Scott is only 1 for 3 off of Washburn lifetime. 
  • Finally, a look at Rick Porcello’s awesome outing through the lens of pitch f/x. Fire Jim Leyland: Rick Porcello’s Start Through PITCHf/x

Oh them injured arms

Two injured Tigers pitchers are on the way back, and one is on the way back to Alabama.

Joel Zumaya

Zumaya started to feel pain again in his shoulder and with that comes a “diagnostic” trip to see Dr. James Andrews. There is a possibility that Zumaya will need surgery to clean up bone shards that is a part of last year’s stress fracture.

While I hope for the best for Zumaya, this story is probably a non-factor for the Tigers and their chances this year. If Zumaya can come back that’s great, but it shouldn’t even factor into the Tigers plans one way or the other.

Jeremy Bonderman

Rod and Mario mentioned during the telecast that Bonderman was set to pitch a simulated game prior to the Indians game on Friday. Bonderman is supposedly feeling great and Dave Dombrowski has said that a bullpen role could be in Bonderman’s future. With Porcello’s recent struggles and the uncertainty around what Luke French can contribute down the stretch, I have to think the Tigers need to at least explore Bondo starting down the stretch.

Nate Robertson

Robertson, like Bonderman will throw a simulated game before the weekend. Robertson is recovering from a procedure to clean out his elbow. I have no idea if it would be a successful endeavor, but the Tigers should look at an extended rehab session for Robertson to stretch him out as well.

Fu-Te Ni and Bobby Seay have made a nice left-handed tandem out of the pen and I can’t see Robertson dislodging either one of them at the moment. The mission to make him a starter does a)buys the team more time with him in the minors and b) if he pitches well it’s another potential starting option.

Nate Robertson to DL, Ni called up

Nate Robertson was placed on the DL today (retroactive to the 27th) with a mass in his elbow. Fu Te Ni had his contract purchased. A hearty DTW shout out to East Windup Chronicle which had the Ni call up story before everyone else.

Tigers to Call Up Ni Fu-te |

UPDATE: The mass appears to be a cyst that is causing numbness. He’ll be examined this week in Detroit.

Clearing up some roster confusion

The Tigers have some roster decisions looming with the imminent return of Jeremy Bonderman and Marcus Thames. In both cases there aren’t clear cut performance based decisions on who gets sent down so things like options come into play. There has been some confusion about the option status and service time of various players so let’s clear that up.

MLB roster rules are never simple and chuck full of exceptions. While salary data and service time data is generally findable, options are harder to find and often requires combing through transaction lists. Fortunately for Tigers fans Eddie Bajek compiled this information during the offseason.

Continue reading Clearing up some roster confusion

Let’s talk rehab

There was quite a bit of Tigers injury related news today with fresh info from Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and Marcus Thames. And on a related roster note, Magglio Ordonez will be back for Friday’s game (the surgery went well) and Wilkin Ramirez can tell his Mud Hens teammates what it was like to drive one deep into big league bushes.

Jeremy Bonderman

Bonderman made his second rehab start, this time for Toledo. Things were going swimingly for Bonderman through 5 innings as he was pitching a 2 hit shut out. Things kind of fell apart though in the 6th inning as it went: Walk – Sac Bunt – Double – Ground Out – Homer – Error – Stolen Base – Double – Double – Strike Out. The error certainly didn’t help and 2 of the 5 runs were unearned, but there were still 4 extra base hits that inning.

His final line was 6 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 4 K’s 1 homer, 98 pitches, 62 strikes.

Marcus Thames

Thames will begin a rehab assignment for the Mud Hens next week. Jim Leyland would like to get him 30 or so at-bats.

Nate Robertson

So this isn’t particularly fresh, but Robertson was activated from the DL after Wednesday night’s game. Luke French filled in nicely for Robertson, but he is back with the Mud Hens now.

Analysis: Breaking down today’s roster decisions

Today’s roster decisions pretty much wrapped up nearly 2 months (and in some cases even more) of speculation. There is one spot yet to be decided. That will go to either Jeff Larish or Brent Clevlen, though the Tigers are reportedly in trade talks with the Pirates regarding Clevlen. (ironically, or at least coincidentally, such a trade would displace former Tiger Craig Monroe) But with 96% of the roster decided we shift our guessing from personnel to performance.
Continue reading Analysis: Breaking down today’s roster decisions