The largest debate amongst Tiger fans this offseason was what the rotation would look like at the begging of the season. One week before opening day it is obvious who will be in the lineup after Robertson was traded. I will talk about the rotation but first I will talk about the specific trade.
First off I really don’t get this trade unlike Rob Otto. When I first heard this trade I figured it was a dump of salary because Robertson was making a hefty (and undeserved) $10 million. This isn’t the case however; Detroit will be paying $9.6 of the $10 million. Jay Voss is still a young player but he is not a top of the league type of prospect. He may be eventually be a major league player but he will never be a closer or setup guy.
Although there was a debate at who was going to get the 5th spot in the rotation this was not due to the fact that there was big pool of talent, but instead a lack of talent. Robertson didn’t do anything special during spring training; Dontrelle’s statistics were actually more impressive.
Ok; here we go. Obviously we will have the staff ace Justin Verlander. Verlander was in the running for the Cy Young last leading the AL in strikeouts. We have very little to worry about him, he may not pitch as well as last year but he is still an elite pitcher.
Rick Porcello will be an interesting player to watch next year. Porcello looked great as a rookie especially for only being 20. Rick’s innings were limited for the most part last year but he looked great at the end of the season when they allowed him to pitch 7 instead of 5 innings. I don’t anticipate a sophomore slump but it is always possible.
Max Scherzer is a great addition to the young pitching staff of the Detroit Tigers; the only negative is that he doesn’t pitch left handed. Scherzer is still young at 25 and hopefully will have his most productive year with the tigers.
Bonderman has never quite recovered from his shoulder injury that stunted his once promising career. The good news is that his velocity has risen this year from the last couple into the low 90’s, but still significantly lower than when he looked close to an all-star pitcher. This is a make or break year for Bonderman who is entering his last year of his multimillion dollar contract.
Dontrelle has had similar issues a Bonderman but with his mind not his body. After winning the rookie of the year and coming in second for the Cy Young Willis has fought anxiety disorders inhibiting his production on the field. The great news is that he is throwing strikes and his velocity is topping out around 90. I wouldn’t get my hopes up though because we have heard this all before. The true test for Willis is when the bright lights are on him during the regular season.
Eddie Bonine could possibly replace Willis as the fifth starter. Bonine had limited work during the season last year but was fairly impressive.