Monday, December 18, 2006
Tigers, Bonderman agree to $38M extension
DETROIT -- Sticking with the Detroit Tigers was an easy
decision for Jeremy Bonderman.
One of baseball's most promising young pitchers, Bonderman
agreed to a $38 million, four-year contract on Monday -- passing up
a chance to become a free agent after the 2008 season.
"They gave me a good offer that will make my family
comfortable," Bonderman told The Associated Press. "We had a lot
of success this year and I get along with all the players and the
coaching staff, so this wasn't that hard of a call for me."
Bonderman won 14 games this year and helped the Tigers reach the
World Series. He took a physical in Detroit on Monday and expects
to sign the contract within the next week.
"I think it takes some pressure off me because I don't have to
worry about money and I'm looking forward to using that to my
advantage," he said. "I'm glad we got this done."
Bonderman gets $4.5 million next year, $8.5 million in 2008 and
$12.5 million in each of the following two seasons.
The 24-year-old right-hander was 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA last
season, when the Tigers finished with their first winning record
since 1993 and won their first AL pennant since 1984. He tied for
the league lead with 34 starts and was second in strikeouts with
Bonderman was the winning pitcher in Game 4 of the AL Division
Series as Detroit eliminated the New York Yankees from the
playoffs. He had a 3.10 ERA in three postseason starts for the
Tigers, who lost the World Series to St. Louis in five games.
Bonderman is a holdover from the 2003 Tigers team that set an AL
record with 119 losses. He went 6-19 that year, his rookie season.
Since then, he is 39-34 with a 4.49 ERA. He ranks third among AL
pitchers with 515 strikeouts during that stretch.
The Oakland Athletics selected Bonderman in the June 2001 draft,
making him the first U.S. resident to be drafted after his junior
year in high school. He skipped his senior year after earning a
general equivalency diploma at Pasco (Wash.) High School.
The Tigers obtained Bonderman in August 2002 as part of a
three-way deal that sent pitcher Jeff Weaver to the Yankees.
"We are thrilled Jeremy Bonderman will remain part of the
Tigers organization," team president Dave Dombrowski said in a
statement. "He is developing into one of the top young pitchers in
baseball and we expect him to be a big part of our rotation for
years to come."