Monday, June 15, 2009

Fourth and Fifth Starter Spots A Concern, Not A Crisis

The Dontrelle Willis-Jeremy Bonderman situation is less than ideal, but not necessarily fatal for the Tigers’ chances of reaching the postseason.
The key remains the health and prosperity of The Big Three in the starting rotation - Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello. Mixing and matching the fourth and fifth spots often works.
Like in 2006 when the Tigers had Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Bonderman at the top of the rotation. Nate Robertson was a .500 pitcher, and they just kind filled out the fifth spot, often with Zach Miner.
In 1984, the Tigers had Jack Morris, Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox leading the rotation. The fourth starter was the inconsistent Juan Berenguer. The fifth starter was a weekly quiz. Dave Rozema, Randy O’Neal, Roger Mason, Carl Willis, Glenn Abbott and Doug Bair all started games for the ‘84 Tigers.
The ‘68 Tigers, it was Denny McLain and Mickey Lolich leading the way. Earl Wilson and Joe Sparma, the other starters in the four-man rotation of the era, didn’t have stellar seasons. They combined to go 23-22.
The Tigers like Brooks Brown, who is at Triple-A. My best guess he would take the fifth spot if they go to the minor leagues for it. I just wonder why the Tigers don’t give Nate Robertson a shot at it. He would be motivated. Miner is still there.
But to me, filling the fifth spot in the rotation isn’t as big a deal as getting stronger offensively - as long as the Tigers’ bullpen remains solid. It would be nice, too, from the Tigers’ standpoint if Armando Galarraga figures it out in the fourth spot
The disappointing part: The Tigers are paying Bonderman, Willis and Robertson more than $28 million combined this season. You’d figure they could at least get a fifth starter for that kind of money.

Random Thoughts

- Granted, there are a some things not to like about Sidney Crosby, but he is getting an unfair rap when it comes to the post-Stanley Cup handshake. With all due respect to Kris Draper, his comments about Crosby came off sounding like sour grapes.

- Simple math: The Red Wings pulled in more than $25 million in gate revenue alone from home games in the Stanley Cup Final - and enough overall in the playoffs to more than pay their entire player payroll for the 2008-09 season



Blogger Barry said...

I agree Pat, that #5 starter should always go to a rookie or a hot AAAA pitcher. Never understood Nate’s contract. I can somewhat justify Bonderman and Willis contract because they were throwing well in years prior to their contract. Isn’t wiser to put your money toward a 1,2 and 3 rotation guys and a set-up guy and closer. Having three good starters going into the playoffs is the best plan.

11:53 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I am interested in what the Tigers might do. I think they do need to make a move. 1 I think Miner should get a second shot in the rotation. Robertson maybe, but to me he has been awful in the bullpen. Maybe a start will motivate him.. I still think a bigger concern to me is the Hitting. We are making a lot of bad pitchers look like aces right now..

You said it the other day Leyland really don't have a whole lot to work with. I do think 1 he is platooning way to much. I'd like to see Thames in there more regularly. If it is in the national league then let him play left. Or Let Josh Anderson get more regular at bats or Rayburn. The lineups he put out there the last two games in Pittsburgh to me were pretty sad.

I know Crabera is a star player, but I think he needs to step it up more.. IF he is going to reach that Pujols status he needs to win a couple games himelf.

So are there any rent a starting pitchers out there that might be able to help down the stretc? Maybe get a Houston Street and Brad Hawpe from Pittsburgh. Maybe try your luck and if Houston is a seller try and steal a Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Lee?

The other problem people don't get is what are you going to trade to upgrade? Who in the hell wants Willis, Bonderman, or Robertson? We would have to dip into our minor leagues. I say do it and worry about it later cause I feel we have a great window cause I don't see 1 dominant team this year. Maybe the ANgels when healthy.

12:38 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

There haven't been many teams, regardless of how successful, with five great starters. If you have three well above .500 and the other two at .500 - you'll get where you want. Good plan spending as you explained.

12:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I'd go with Miner right now. Brooks Brown has lost his five starts at Toledo, but hasn't really had a bad start all season. Throws a sinker. Would fit Comerica Park.

12:22 AM 

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