Jeremy Bonderman Rumors

New York Notes: Andruw Jones, Buchholz, Pettitte

The MLBTR team sends its condolences to the friends and family of Ryne Duren, the hard-throwing right-hander who passed away today at age 81.  Duren pitched for seven teams over his 10 seasons in the majors, but is best remembered as a Yankee for his role in helping the Bronx Bombers win the 1958 World Series.  Duren posted a 2.02 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 rate that season, also leading the league with 20 saves.

Some Yankee and Met-related items…


Tigers Consider Adding Rotation Depth

Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski told Tom Gage of the Detroit News that the Tigers have “talked to some people” and remain open minded about adding a starter to compete for a job at the back of the team’s rotation. Dombrowski told reporters last month that he was “comfortable” with his pitching staff, but open to potential changes or additions.

The Yankees have interest in Jeremy Bonderman, and the Tigers haven’t ruled out a reunion with the 28-year-old. The team is “keeping an open mind about Jeremy," Dombrowski told Gage. The team would not sign Bonderman and another starter, though.

FOX Sports reported in December that the Tigers had considered veteran starters, including Brad Penny. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke are pencilled in to the team’s rotation and Armando Galarraga will likely compete with any new additions for the final rotation spot.

 


Yankees Interested In Jeremy Bonderman

The Yankees have been on the lookout for pitching since losing out on Cliff Lee, and that search has led them to Jeremy Bonderman. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that they have interest in the right-hander according to a Major League source.

Bonderman, still just 28, posted a 5.53 ERA with a 5.9 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 171 innings for the Tigers last season. He's battled significant shoulder issues in recent years, derailing a once promising career. The Rockies, Cubs, and Pirates have shown varying levels of interest in Bonderman this offseason. 

MLBTR's Luke Adams identified Bonderman as a pitcher that could benefit from a move to the National League.  He appears in line for a one-year deal.



Renck On Rockies’ Pitching Targets

Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda and Jake Westbrook were three of the top names on Colorado's wish list of free agent starters, but all three signed elsewhere.  Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter links) chimes in about some other arms that have caught the Rockies' interest.


Cubs Looking At Several Veteran Starters

The Cubs have five starters tentatively pencilled into their 2011 rotation, but given the number of question marks on that staff, it's understandable that the team is looking to add a veteran innings-eater to the fold.  ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill reports that Chicago has "shown interest" in Jeremy Bonderman, Aaron Harang, Kevin Millwood and Javier Vazquez, and also cites a Chicago Sun-Times item connecting the team to Vicente Padilla.  Churchill says the Cubs "kicked the tires on" Jon Garland before the right-hander signed with the Dodgers.

All five starters would make sense as low-cost additions; Vazquez has reportedly turned down a two-year, $20MM offer but it seems like he's more likely to end up in Florida or Washington than in Chicago.  The Cubs are probably looking for a short-term deal, and Garland's $5MM pact with L.A. would likely be a good comparison point.  That $5M salary (plus incentives and a 2012 vesting option) would likely be enough to land Millwood or Harang, and Bonderman would leap at that offer given his injury-riddled recent history. 

Padilla is coming off the most solid season of the group and could command a bit more money or a second year, though he made only 16 starts in 2010 due to various nagging injuries.  Churchill cites the Mets, Padres and Pirates as other teams that could use a starter that fits Padilla's profile.

Bonderman, Millwood and Vazquez all landed on Luke Adams' list of free agent pitchers that could benefit from a move to the NL, though pitching in a hitter-friendly park like Wrigley Field might not be what they had in mind.  As we saw with the Garland signing, teams that play in pitcher's parks will have an advantage in finding extra arms for their rotation, especially when it comes to a pitchers like Bonderman or Harang who are trying to rebuild value.

Speaking of rebuilding value, there's also a chance that the Cubs could look at a higher-ceiling starter such as Brandon WebbFanhouse's Ed Price hears from a source that Chicago is "seriously considering" Webb.  The former Cy Young Award winner has also drawn interest from several other teams, but the Cubs could be helped by the fact that Chicago is relatively close to Webb's home in Kentucky.


Odds & Ends: Gordon, Anderson, Phillies, Park

Links for Wednesday, the second day of the GM Meetings, as Ron Gardenhire and Bud Black take home Manager of the Year honors…


Five FA Pitchers Who Could Benefit From The NL

While the relative strength of the National League compared to the American League is debatable, it's hard to deny that the Senior Circuit is more appealing to pitchers. Replacing the pitcher in the lineup with a designated hitter makes AL lineups more potent, as this year's offensive statistics showed – five of baseball's top six run-scoring teams in 2010 play in the Junior Circuit.

The difference may be negligible for certain players, but each year there are usually a few pitchers who switch leagues and immediately see their numbers rise or fall accordingly. After being dealt from the Indians to the Cardinals this season, for instance, Jake Westbrook posted a 3.48 ERA and 6.6 K/9, compared to his Cleveland marks of 4.65 and 5.1.

So although there's no guarantee that starting pitchers will enjoy more success playing in the National League, here are five potential free agents who may benefit from signing with an NL club:

  • Javier Vazquez: Of all the pitchers who switched to the American League last offseason, Vazquez suffered perhaps the most drastic setback. After finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting in 2009, the 34-year-old pitched so poorly this season that he lost his spot in the Yankees' starting rotation. Even taking into account his first two up-and-down years with the Expos, Vazquez's career NL numbers (4.02 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.3 BB/9) are better across the board than his AL totals (4.65, 7.9, 2.7). Vazquez won't be back in the Bronx, and his best shot at decreasing his 2010 longball rate (1.8 HR/9) and returning to form might come in the NL.
  • Kevin Millwood: We heard earlier this year that Millwood could seek a pitcher-friendly environment for 2011, after years of pitching in Baltimore and Texas. The move makes sense for the right-hander; he still has some value as a veteran innings eater, but could potentially be much more than that in a park like Petco in San Diego. We don't know what kind of contract the 35-year-old will be seeking, so it's possible he could be too expensive for a team like the Padres. For what it's worth though, San Diego was thought to have interest in Milwood in August.
  • Jeremy Bonderman: One of the youngest arms on the open market, Bonderman could be an interesting fourth or fifth starter for a team willing to take a flier on him. Though his 4.89 career ERA is uninspiring, he's a former first-round pick and will turn 28 next week. His career peripherals suggest that he still has potential, and he strikes me as the type of pitcher who would benefit from the tutelage of a pitching coach like the Cardinals' Dave Duncan. The Cards may re-sign Jake Westbrook or look elsewhere for starting pitching, but St. Louis isn't the only possible landing spot for the long-time Tiger, who could benefit from a change of scenery.
  • Bruce Chen: The 33-year-old journeyman has experienced an unusual major league career, playing for six National League teams before arriving in Boston in 2003. Since then, he has played for four different American League clubs. Chen's career numbers are relatively similar in both leagues, but coming off a successful season in Kansas City, perhaps a return to the NL could be in the cards. While the left-hander has lost some velocity on his fastball since he last played in the Senior Circuit, he's gotten by relying more on flyball outs and less on strikeouts. For a team in a pitcher's park, Chen could be a worthwhile back-of-the-rotation addition.
  • Rich Harden: Although a healthy season would help Harden's stock more than changing leagues would, moving to the National League certainly wouldn't hurt. While the right-hander excelled in Oakland when he was healthy, his second stint in the AL wasn't as impressive; his 5.58 ERA for the Rangers this year was by far a career-worst. Still, like Bonderman, Harden is relatively young, turning just 29 next month. He also had stretches of dominance in his time with the Cubs in 2008 and 2009, striking out 11 batters per nine innings and posting a 3.31 ERA in 212 innings over the two years. Again, health is the big concern with Harden, but an NL team may feel more comfortable taking the risk than an AL one would.

Tigers Will Not Pick Up Magglio Ordonez’s Option, Have Talked With Inge About Multi-Year Deal

GM Dave Dombrowski announced that the Tigers will not pick up Magglio Ordonez's $15MM club option for 2011, reports Tom Gage of The Detroit News. Dombrowski did say that the team remains open-minded about bringing Ordonez back, however.

Meanwhile, Dombrowski also said the team wants to bring third baseman Brandon Inge back, and confirmed that the two sides have discussed a multi-year deal. Jhonny Peralta is another player they'd like to bring back according to Gage. The Tigers did however inform Johnny Damon and Gerald Laird that they will not be re-signed, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter). Dombrowski added that they "most likely" will choose not to pursue Jeremy Bonderman either.

Ordonez's option was likely to vest if not for a season ending-ankle injury in late-July. He hit .303/.378/.474 with more walks (40) than strikeouts (38) in 365 plate appearances before the injury, a nice rebound from a down 2009 campaign. Inge is in the final season of a four-year, $24MM deal, though his .247/.321/.392 batting line is the worst of any full season of his career. Thankfully his defense at the hot corner is strong, with a +10.3 UZR since 2008. A multi-year offer might be too good for Inge to pass up.

Peralta was acquired from the Indians at the trade deadline, and hit .254/.315/.399 in 238 plate appearances for Detroit. He played mostly shortstop after the trade, the most action he's gotten at the position since 2008. The Tigers hold a $7MM club option for his services next season, but they'll likely buy that out for $250K and attempt to negotiate a lower salary.

Damon hit .271/.355/.401 after signing a one-year, $8MM deal last offseason, while Laird mustered just a .218/.289/.313 batting line in his two seasons with Detroit. He's fantastic defensively though, having thrown out 72 of 189 potential base stealers (38.1%) during that time. The 27-year-old Bonderman stayed healthy for the first time since 2007 this year, though he posted a 5.53 ERA in 171 innings. He's just wrapping up a four-year, $38MM deal and will hit free agency for the first time.


Bonderman Not Expecting Return To Detroit

When free-agent-to-be Jeremy Bonderman was asked whether he believes he'll be a Detroit Tiger next season, his response was candid. "In all honesty, probably not," the right-hander told Tom Gage of The Detroit News (Twitter link).

Although Bonderman was drafted by the Athletics, he was soon traded to Detroit and has spent his last eight years with the Tigers. The 27-year-old told Gage earlier in the month that he'd like to stay with the club if they want to bring him back: "I love the team, love the guys, love the organization from the owner down. It's been a great place for me." His latest comments, however, indicate that either he doesn't feel the interest is mutual or he's still considering retirement, as he suggested in July.

Bonderman has made 28 starts for the Tigers in 2010, recording a 5.18 ERA to go along with 6.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.


Odds & Ends: Webb, Pirates, Ozzie, Pena, Mets, Lopez

Some links to check out after the Rangers clinched their first AL West title since 1999…