Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some Ships Should Remain Sailed

I’d like to start off by making the announcement that despite the last two weeks feeling like a Linkin Park song and having David Tennant’s regeneration scene from Doctor Who playing over and over in my head since Monday, I am still going to be in Lakeland March 5-10 to give you a Tigers Amateur Analysis report from on the scene. I had seriously considered cancelling the trip, given that a primary reason for going this year (as opposed to two years from now, which is the next opportunity I might have to go; I can’t go next year because I’ll be on clinical rotations) is now gone, but I’d already bought tickets to the games for that week, and even though the only pitcher remaining that I get excited about is Justin Verlander (and I do get really, really excited about him), there’s still plenty of position players for me to cheer on. I’m still hoping to broaden my “six degrees of separation” potential and actually meet some of these guys (which I’m not good at), and it seems like it’s easier to do that in spring training than during the regular season. And hey, if I run into Dave Dombrowski, I can at least try real hard to make him feel very, very guilty.

Speaking of Dave Dombrowksi, he told Tom Gage that the Tigers were “open” to bringing back Jeremy Bonderman on a minor league deal. I’m not sure that really indicates anything about their level of interest (since we’ve already seen this month that honesty isn’t necessarily a strong point of the front office), but nevertheless, this little tidbit has taken root and spread like crazy all over the internet. It’s almost to the point where they might sign him purely out of a sense of obligation from fan pressure (which I think was at least part of the reason they went after Brad Penny). However, I am not as enthused by this idea as the rest of the blogging community seems to be. First, I find it extremely irritating that the Tigers are all of a sudden worried about depth/insurance when a few days ago, it didn’t seem to be that much of a concern to them. Second, while one of my mantras is “success is repeatable,” I fear that Bonderman’s injury may have taken too much out of him and he might not get used to the reduced velocity. Third, he’s a poor excuse for a consolation prize. Seeing him again would just rub salt into the wounds. There’s this certain level of sentimentality that several Tigers fans attach to Bonderman that I just don’t understand. Maybe it was respect for having endured the 2003 season, or maybe it was his shutdown performance against the Yankees in the 2006 postseason, but I didn’t become cognizant of him until after both those occurred. Mostly what I got from him was the 2007 season, which started off good for him and then went downhill after the All-Star Break. And though I would certainly appreciate it any time he got the Tigers a win, I never really enjoyed watching him pitch. I just don’t know how much he has left to give, and he would probably be better served with a team like Baltimore or New York that still has rotation questions.

And speaking of people who endured 2003, I would like to give best wishes to Mike Maroth, who announced his retirement this week. My experience with Mike Maroth is pretty much limited to the first two and half months of the 2007 season, but of course he’s remembered for losing 21 games in 2003. I never understood that. He was never a superstar, but he seemed like a decent enough pitcher. Then again, I suppose you had to have lived through the 2003 season to know precisely what it was that made that team so bad, because the two remaining survivors of that team (Inge and Santiago) certainly aren’t 119-loss material. Anyways, I wasn’t really that familiar with Maroth, but he wasn’t a bad pitcher and he seemed like a nice guy. Then he got traded to the Cardinals and fell apart, and I don’t know why. It’s a shame that he could never bounce back from that. Still, I wish him all the best and I hope his retirement goes well.

1 comment:

  1. If you didn't become aware of Bonderman until 2007 that pretty much is the reason you can't understand the sentimentality.

    Bonderman was the key piece in a highly unpopular trade in 2002, wherein the Tigers traded Jeff Weaver (who at the time, was by far the Tigers best pitcher --- He had the best years of his career with Detroit)for three players. If you think the Granderson trade was unpopular, well this one was just as reviled at the time.

    Bonderman was the player hailed as the "key piece", and almost as if to justify the move the team brought him up as a 20 year old rookie in 2003 with very little minor league experience. So basically the reason there is sentimentality attached to him is because he came to the team hailed as "The Chosen One", basically.

    For people like me, there's even more sentimentality because it looked for a time that he would be every bit as good as they said. He was their best pitcher in 2006 and most of 2007. It wasn't until 2009 that I was even convinced that Verlander would EVER be as good as Bonderman was at his best (oh how 2 years can change perceptions). So that's basically an explanation of where it came from.

    Also, w/regard to Inge: You may be thinking of the Brandon Inge of today, but Inge was an awful player for the first three years he was in Detroit. He was a catcher with a strong arm and an invisible bat. It wasn't until 2004 that he began to hit. So the '03 version of Inge was definitely 119 loss material. Had the 2006/07/08 Inge played on the '03 team, they'd have probably only lost ~115 games instead of 119.