The Tigers top three pitchers have been terrific season. Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson are two of the top pitchers in the American League. Each would get plenty of votes if the Cy Young vote were to be held this afternoon. Rick Porcello has offered much more at the age of 20 than most thought possible. He would most likely win the Rookie of the Year vote. So that’s all fine and good. What about the next two spots?
The Tigers have three candidates currently in the running for those final two spots. Each guy offers some good and some bad. Here’s the rub:
- Armando Galarraga
- Bad: He hasn’t won a start since April.
- Good: He’s pitched better recently.
- Bad: Since the calendar turned to May the Tigers are 2-5 when Galarraga starts.
- Good: He’s gone at least 6.2 innings in each of his last three starts and has given up 3 ER in each one. All quality starts.
- Bad: Has had only one good season in his career and that was his rookie season in 2008. He’s a bit unproven.
- Good: He’s dirt cheap.
- Dontrelle Wills
- Bad: In the 54 innings he’s pitched as a Tiger he has 55 walks
- Good: He’s left-handed.
- Bad: Tigers are 2-3 when he starts.
- Good: Has had great years in the past. He’s a former 22 game winner.
- Bad: He’s owed $22M for this year and next.
- Good: Did I mention he’s left-handed?
- Jeremy Bonderman:
- Bad: Got absolutely rocked in his first start.
- Good: Of all of these guys, he’s the most likely to be dominant. Yeah, that’s just an opinion.
- Bad: Has pitched exactly one big league game in the last calendar year.
- Good: Has been with the Tigers since 2003.
- Bad: Owed $25M for this year and next.
- Good: Younger than Willis and Galarraga.
Rob Neyer, one of my favorites, tackled the subject a bit in his blog:
This is sort of a reverse Sophie’s Choice. Meryl Streep loved both her children, and was forced to send one to a terrible fate. Jim Leyland probably can’t stand Bonderman or Willis, but he’s being forced to employ one in a key role. Let us review …
since the first day of the 2008 season, Willis is 1-5 with a 7.83 ERA in 54 innings.
Same span, Bonderman is 3-5 with a 4.78 ERA in 75 innings.
Leyland’s Choice doesn’t seem that difficult, does it? If Bonderman’s at all healthy, he has to start Sunday against the Pirates, if only so the Tigers can see what they’ve got. If he’s even halfway-effective, it’s easy. If he’s not, we start this sad movie over again.
I tend to agree. Galarraga has pitched well enough over his last three starts that it feels like he should be safe. I feel like Bonderman is the obvious choice over Willis if he can get it figured out in the next two starts or so.
Either Bonderman or Willis needs to starts on Sunday in Pittsburgh and I hope that Leyland opts for Bonderman. I will actually be in Pittsburgh on Sunday with loyal reader Kenny, to watch this one. I would much rather watch Bonderman pitch than see Willis run his crap out there again.
Either way, the Tigers are going to face a tough decision with Willis here pretty soon. Do they keep him on board and try to fix him or do they just cut their losses?
What do you think? Who should continue to start?