January 14, 2008

HOW SOON CAN RICK PORCELLO BE READY?:

Tigers' deep rotation has questions: With the addition of Willis, Tigers feel good about starters but know there are no guarantees. (Lynn Henning, 1/14/08, The Detroit News)

Kenny Rogers. Justin Verlander. Jeremy Bonderman. Nate Robertson. Dontrelle Willis.

Five names represent five stepping stones to any playoff or world championship ideas the Tigers might hold in 2008, at least in the empirical view of baseball's analysts and historians. [...]

The Tigers' questions are somewhat concise:

• Can the 43-year-old Rogers, who had surgery in 2007 and saw his starts dwindle from 33 in 2006 to 11 last season, pitch regularly and productively?

• Will there be any lingering arm problems for Bonderman, who was neither healthy nor effective during the second half of last season?

• Will another of the team's three left-handed starters, Robertson, pitch with his old endurance (he was on the disabled list for part of last season with a tired arm) and with the power that at age 30 could, and perhaps should, present him with his best chance to become a significant winner?

• Will the new man in the rotation, Willis, shake off a mushy 2007 season that saw his ERA inflate to 5.17 (from 3.87 in 2006)?


Given the number of top minor league arms they've dealt this off-season, they really need a couple youngsters to get major league-ready fast just to plug the pending injury holes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 14, 2008 8:04 AM
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