For the first time since 2007 someone other than Justin Verlander will make the Opening Day start for the Tigers, as manager Brad Ausmus announced that David Price will get the Game 1 assignment.
Verlander struggled last season, allowing the most earned runs in the league, and there’s little doubt that Price–who made three Opening Day starts for the Rays–projects to be the better pitcher this year. Or as Ausmus put it: “I have to make a decision based on baseball and what’s best for the 2015 Tigers.”
Of course, the Tigers previously stuck with Verlander as the Opening Day starter even when they had the reigning Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, in the rotation alongside him. Who’s the last non-Verlander pitcher to start for the Tigers on Opening Day? Jeremy Bonderman in 2007.
As first reported by beat writer Tom Gage of the Detroit News, the Tigers have reached agreement on a minor league contract with right-handed pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. The 30-year-old former first-round pick has been assigned to Triple-A Toledo, where he will function as organizational depth.
Bonderman joined the Mariners’ starting rotation on June 2 and pitched pretty well early on, but he was ultimately designated for assignment on July 8 after posting a rough 4.93 ERA (77 ERA+) and 1.49 WHIP across 38 1/3 total innings. Erasmo Ramirez is currently serving as Seattle’s fifth starter.
Bonderman owns a 4.89 career ERA (89 ERA+) and 1.41 career WHIP in 214 major league appearances. He was drafted by the A’s but made his MLB debut with the Tigers in 2003 and spent eight years with them.
When the Mariners designated Jeremy Bonderman for assignment earlier this week the assumption was they’d add Erasmo Ramirez to the rotation as his replacement and sure enough they made the move official today.
Ramirez is coming up from Triple-A to start this afternoon against the Red Sox, returning to the majors for the first time this season after pitching very well in a 59-inning debut last year.
Ramirez had a 3.09 ERA and 42/14 K/BB ratio in 44 innings at Triple-A as a 23-year-old. He made eight starts and eight relief appearances for the Mariners last season, throwing 59 innings with a 3.36 ERA and 48/12 K/BB ratio.
Jeremy Bonderman returning to the majors for the first time since 2010 certainly went much better than I expected in that he wasn’t a complete disaster and actually strung together a few good starts, but after back-to-back poor outings the Mariners designated him for assignment.
Bonderman finishes with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts overall, but that included more walks (17) than strikeouts (16) in 38 innings and there isn’t much in his pre-call-up performance at Triple-A that suggests he’s capable of better.
Seattle will need to add another starter to the rotation for Thursday’s game and 23-year-old top prospect Erasmo Ramirez–who thrived in his first taste of the majors last year–has a 3.09 ERA and 42/14 K/BB ratio in 44 innings at Triple-A.