Friday, January 18, 2008

$21 Million For Not-So-Great-Nate?

I have to admit I was a bit surprised the Tigers invested a $21 million contract in Nate Robertson.
Don’t get me wrong. I like what Robertson brings to the table in his role. When he is healthy and right, he has a pretty good fastball for a lefty, and he does have a bulldog quality about him.
But the bottom line is that he has a career record far below .500, and an ERA a lot closer to 5.00 than 4.00. Even in 2006, he was a .500 pitcher on a club that won 95 games. He’s been above .500 just one time.
Yes, you would like to have Nate Robertson on your staff. He is a good fourth or fifth starter. But for $21 million? What was the urgency to get him signed long-term like that?
Thing is, these type of deals haven’t necessarily worked out for the Tigers in recent years. Think Brandon Inge. Think Jeremy Bonderman. They didn’t exactly respond well to the excess security
The good part is that I like the idea of some of the 2003 Tigers being there for the good times, too. But still, $21 million? For Nate Robertson?

Random Thoughts

- Oh great, Bud Selig forever. Baseball thrives despite itself, I tell you.

- It will be interesting to see if Mike Babcock keeps rotating his goalies on the Red Wings difficult West Coast trip. Dominik Hasek is clearly playing better than Chris Osgood right now.

- You know who has much egg on his face as far as I’m concerned - Tiki Barber. All he did was rip his coach, and then Eli Manning after he retired. Look where the Giants are without him?


Anonymous Marty said...

I was at the Joe yesterday, and I have to say Hasek definitely is better in Shoutout situations than Luongo. He just has much better technique. But one thing I noticed was the after dominating the first period, the Wings were on their heels for the majority of the rest of the game. The aggressiveness seemed to be sucked out of them.

12:29 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Wow these guys make a lot of money for being a great 5th starter. To me, his stuff is above just above average but hittable. He is a great 5th starter than can chew up innings and be competitive. With additional players this year, it make Nate's job a lot easier pitching from the 5 hole and having a great offense behind him. If he can keep his ERA around 4.35, that would be great.

12:52 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


The statement I read from Bombrowski was Nate's best years are ahead of him (paraphrased of course). I guess that is the expectation.

I will say that in 2006 he didn't get run support. He would picth a great game and lose by a run.

But the dollar value sure is high.

I'm more hopeful that Rogers will be able to inspire that rotation like he did in 2006. In my opinion Rogers WAS the 2006 season for us.

Is it spring yet?

1:26 PM 
Blogger Bill said...

We're not really using won-loss record as a measure of a pitcher's ability are we? I don't disagree with your overall assessment of his talent, but use strike out rates, and home run rates, and things he actually has control over.

As for the deal itself, I think it's OK. The Tigers were of course going to commit to Nate for 2008, and the chances of them finding Robertson's level of production in '09 at a cheaper cost were slim. The cheap options in the minors aren't nearly as appealing as they were before the trade, and the open market would cost more. As for the third year at 10 mil, as long as Robertson is still throwing 180 innings a year it shouldn't be a problem - either for the Tigers or a trading partner.

And I think the Bonderman comparison is a little premature. You may end up being right, but he's one year into the deal and was outstanding before the forearm tightness sapped his control of the fastball and flattened his slider.

3:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Hasek was brilliant for the Czech Republic in the shootout at the '98 Olympics, but has, for some reason, struggled with it since the NHL moved to it - at least until lately. He was very good the other night.

12:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think you said it perfectly. That's exactly what Nate Robertson provides. And a 4.35 ERA is pretty reasonable given his talent.

12:06 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
He has lost some tough games in the past, but he has blown a few, too, when he was given run support. He is an ideal fourth or fifth starter. There is little doubt about it, but it just amazes me the type of money that commands these days.

12:08 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I have never thought Robertson was outstanding. I think he is fine in the role the Tigers have him in, but he isn't good enough to put at the top of the rotation. That seems to be clear.

12:10 PM 

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