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Farewell Bondo

The Tigers said they weren’t going to re-sign Jeremy Bonderman and it looks like he’s going to sign a minor league deal with the Indians.  Bonderman made his major league debut on April 2, 2003 and while he got shelled (his first of 19 losses that year), it was the beginning of a roller coaster career.  Just two days after Bonderman’s debut, I started Tigerblog and in those nearly eight years since there have been two constants on the field, Jeremy Bonderman and Brandon Inge.  With this news about Bonderman, the phrase “and then there was one” is rather fitting.

My birthday is July 5th and on that date in 2002, my fiance (at the time) surprised me with a weekend trip to Boston that included Tigers versus Red Sox tickets at Fenway Park.  It was supposed to be a national television battle of the aces with Pedro Martinez going up against Jeff Weaver (who was having a nice season for the Tigers at that point) but that fell apart when Weaver was traded to the Yankees in a three team deal that very night.  Ted Williams also passed away that day so it was an interesting weekend.  Anyway, the Tigers got Carlos Pena, Franklin German and a player to be named later in the deal.  On August 22, 2002, that player to be named later turned out to be Jeremy Bonderman.

In 2003, Bonderman was shut down late in the season so he wouldn’t suffer a 20th loss but September shutdowns wouldn’t be unusual for Bonderman.  He was a perennial pitcher to watch for several years and then in 2006, he finally got it done and had a break out year.   While Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander picked up Cy Young votes that year, if you really look at the numbers and not the win total, Bonderman was the best pitcher in the rotation that year.  He pitched in over 200 innings for the first (and only) time to date and he struck out 202 batters.

2007 looked just as promising but after a 10-1 start he went 1-8 the rest of the way and he was shut down in September.  He then got off to a decent enough start in 2008 but then the blood clot was found and he missed the rest of that year and most of 2009.  In 2010, he pitched the entire season but not very well.  For a guy who was consistently in the mid-90s, he was having a hard time just touching that in a game and while he may eventually perfect his new style, it didn’t happen all at once in 2010.

Bonderman is still young.  He doesn’t 29 until late October so maybe there’s a come back in him.  It just doesn’t look like it’ll be with the Tigers.  Farewell Bondo, we wish you the best.

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