With the baseball winter meetings completed, the Tigers contingent returned to Detroit with two key components added to a still relatively young pitching staff. The additions of Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones was not met with overwhelming fanfare, yet the two veterans immediately added tremendous value to the club. For as talented as Jeremy Bonderman is, he is still only 23 years old. The veteran Rogers will provide a presence at the top of the rotation, allowing Bonderman some room to grow. Bonderman will also no longer have to face the opponent’s ace as much as he has done in his young career.
Jones meanwhile gives the Tigers an option at the back end of the bullpen which was missing following the trades of Kyle Farnsworth and Ugueth Urbina and the injury to Troy Percival. The thing that impresses me about Jones is that he has always loved pitching in Detroit. As an announcer for the Angels, I recall interviewing Todd several times when he was a Tiger. He is well versed in Tigers history and loves the city. I remember thinking that he struck me as someone that was born and raised in the Motor City, not his native Alabama. He is a quality guy who has the guts to pitch the ninth inning and has plenty left in the tank. Just check out his ’05 stats. I first met Todd in the early 90’s when he was an Astros prospect and I was announcing for Houston’s AAA team in Tucson. I was immediately impressed with his willingness to talk to anyone and take responsibility for his performance, good or bad. Welcome home Jonesie.
As for Rogers, his lifetime numbers at Comerica Park are very good. He has compiled a 4-1 mark with a 3.46 ERA in eight appearances (six starts). Since Comerica Park opened, Barry Zito, Mark Buehrle and C.C. Sabathia are the only lefties with a better ERA in Detroit.
Rogers has posted 115 wins in the last 10 seasons, third most for left handers behind Jamie Moyer (146), Andy Pettitte (137) and David Wells (136).