Monday, February 11, 2008

Tiger Hotseat Belongs To Bondo

Seems to me the Tiger player most on the hot seat for this coming season is Jeremy Bonderman.
All the tools are there for Bonderman to be a dominant top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. The mid-90s fastball. The big breaking slider in the mid-to-high 80s. A solid work ethic.
This is not one of those players who doesn’t care. Bonderman does hold himself accountable for his performance and, clearly, the trust of his teammates and manager means a lot to him.
But it is puzzling why that doesn’t transform onto the mound. His long-standing - and getting worse - problems in the first inning are becoming the stuff of legend. So is the way he kind of folds during the second half of seasons.
Bonderman did earn back much good will with Tiger fans based on the way he pitched during the postseason in 2006. Yet, he lost it with the way he just faded during the second half of last season when the Tigers needed him most.
The slack is gone. Patience is running out on all levels. It’s time for Jeremy Bonderman to perform. If he doesn’t, he will become one of the more unpopular athletes in this town.

Random Thoughts

- I didn’t watch a second of the Pro Bowl. Nor a second of the NHL All Star Game. Think I will make it the trifecta this weekend by not watching the NBA All Star Game. We have to give up several days of real basketball for that?

- Being real honest here, I do wonder if I will have to eat my words about Kobe Bryant now that the Lakers have Pau Gasol.

- The most underrated aspect of Nick Saban is his ability to recruit. It is no surprise Alabama had the best recruiting class in the nation. Love him or hate, Saban does get the most from his players. They develop under his coaching. It’s why kids want to play for him.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, I am hoping Bonderman will benefit from all the new additions to the Tigers, specially Willis, and will feel less pressure. Maybe he can relax (if there is no pain) and just pitch his turn.

Cheers,
Danny

12:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
Adding Willis should help him. I don't think Bonderman is the Tigers' No. 2 starter as much as No.3 now.
Caputo

12:52 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: Looking at his stuff he could be an Ace (especially after 1st innings, with only 248 batting avg against him) but his stats shows he #4 or 5 guy in the rotation. I think he could be 2 or 3 guy once he put it altogether. Lots of 4 or 5 guys are making $9 million a year now. I think he will transform himself in a 2 or 3 guy because of his age and great durability. With all the additions coming to Detroit and the offense he could win 15 games plus. Bondo could make any starting rotation in the MLB. I like Bondo because he is built like a pitcher or made to pitch and those guys rack up a lot of innings. With Bondo' great stuff and durability he could pitch until 2020. Like to see him keep the ball down more, just notice he gets hit more often when he is around the belt area. He could also make better adjustments to the Umpire behind the plate when he getting squeeze. Remember Bondo was rushed to MLB. When his development is done he will be a very good pitcher.

1:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
I agree except it is time for Bonderman to step forward. He is beyond any inexperience or "rushed to the majors" issue. He is already being paid a ton. His time has come to put up.
Caputo

5:10 PM 
Blogger John said...

Book,

Continuing on the recruiting front, its really upsetting as a Michigan native, Notre Dame alum, and USC hater when USC can walk into the backyard of Michigan/Michigan State back to back years and pick up (arguably) the top prospect in the state in Ronald Johnson in 2007 and Nick Perry in 2008. Michigan will continue to have it handed to them in the Rose Bowl when they match up against SC if they can't land those kids living in the shadow of the Big House. Likewise, if Michigan State wants to become a big time program and enter the top tier of the Big 10, it has to every so often land one of those difference makers.

-John

5:29 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, I agree this is going to be a blast concerning the last relievers spot as you spoke in your Three Point Stance. Last year Durbin had beat out pitchers with AAA options and he did pitch well last spring. If the season started today I think it would be Bazardo, Cruceta and Miner. Miner has one problem, he stills has options left. Tigers might use that option to prevent one hard throwing pitcher going through the waiver draft. Unless Bautista can find the strike zone continually or if Mantei cannot come back or Miner does not pitches really well, it looks like Grilli gets a free pass. McBride also has an option left. I would be little afraid to put Bazardo through the waiver draft. Look forward to watching Cruceta and Bautista pitch. Cruceta should have the edge because of his fastball/slider combination instead of the fastball/change-up ( Tigers have Rodney, Bazardo, and Miner that pitches with fastball/change-up). I wonder why the Marlins did not go after Miner instead of opting towards the other minor leaguers?

9:27 AM 
Anonymous maddog52 said...

Book good show last night. You know I think you and D.F. would make a good broadcast if you were to be paired. Maybe I am partial to the SI Swimsuite talk haha. Good subject. Dude if I can let me give you a solid top 5. First names came to my mind was Yamila Diaz-Rahi, Cindy Crawford, Daniela Pestova, and Petra Nemcova from years past. How can you denie those babes. Marisa Miller and Kylie Bax I'd say were to eye grabbers now, but those others are still good to browse if you know what I mean lol.

I tell you what Bonderman has to be a question mark. I mean there should be no more excuses. The he's only 23/24 or what not talk is old. He's been around long enough time to produce. The bigger concern for me is Kenny Rogers. Yeah he had a good post season, but lets not forget he was looking pretty rough for most the back half of that season leading up to the post season. What would be the teams plans if he fiddles out? I am not worried about Willis like most. To me he is a pumped up pitcher and will feed off the crowd and in my mind dominate like he did when he won 20 games for the marlins. Verlander is obviously the number 1. Lets be honest we got ourselves a gem with Robertson as a 5th starter. there are probably 30 other teams taht would take him as their numbr 5. I think slotting him 4th would be a good spot for bondo. What oyu have to like is we got some inning eaters. If Bonderman keeps getting knocked out in the 1st innings we will then again put pressure on the pen. Which I think can be affective and solid.

As far as the Wings are concerned. My opinion if you could get Sergei or a Rob Blake cheap and not have to give up a ton I'd do it, but I do't think there is a move out there that would upgrade you more then what you already are. Same goes with the Pistons in my mind. Yeah you could trade T.P. but for what? Cracks me up People think you could just drop a guy like T.P. and pick up a Carmello Anthony type player with no problem. Unfortunately it don't work that way. Then again look what the suns gave up just to get a sinking ship shaq.

As for our good oh lions. Who gives a crap. I'd take the odds of the Tigers, Pistons, Wings, Demolition, Shock, Spartans BB, and Michigan FB to all win championships in the same year before picking the lions to win 8 games.

1:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

John,
I couldn't agree with you more. Losing kids to out of state schools is a killer. Michigan doesn't have that many truly blue chip prospects in-state. Losing the top end really hurts.
Caputo

7:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
Dennis a good guy. Enjoy working with him. I went with my top swim suit models today...Had Kathy Ireland No. 1. The Wings will get at least one player. Both Blake and Seregi would really help them.
Caputo

7:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
I was surprised they didn't keep Durbin. I thought he pitched pretty well, but obviously 40-man roster space was limited.
Caputo

7:52 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Bonerman is a real puzzle, I agree. Let's hope that coin toss lands on heads.

Will Inge be reporting Thursday with the pitchers and catchers?

I saw the Cleary injury - against the Leafs. That was scary - although the recent skate-to-neck slash injury was horrifying! But as far as he Wings go, will they pick up a replacement?

Sorry - typing this into a TV - web thing in a hotel in Toronto, so if you have answered this a million times - I missed it.

Thanks

9:51 PM 
Anonymous Joey said...

Pat, In my opinion Lakers picking up Gasol was a great move. It seems kind of funny since Gasol definitely would've been a better fit for the Suns offense than Shaq. I think the Lakers have a very good chance of going deep in the West now and it looks like Kobe might finally get that ring without Shaq. A Suns-Lakers playoff matchup would be interesting.
Kobe's playmaking abilities are very underrated and it should be interesting to see how well Kobe can integrate Gasol into the triangle. On the otherhand we all know Kobe has a big ego and if Gasol ends up getting all the attention that could be a problem.

4:21 PM 

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