Considering the contracts that had been handed out over the past few weeks to free agent hurlers, concern had built that the Tigers would struggle to be able to come to terms with Jeremy Bonderman, who at just 24 years of age, was only two years away from free agency.
After all, Bonderman was just one of two pitchers in the American League to post 200 strikeouts while going 200-plus innings – and the other has a pair of Cy Young's to his name. So when a pitcher like Gil Meche (career 4.65 ERA) receives $11 million per season, dollar signs were like flooding Bonderman's head, being that he would have been just two yearsa way from free agency, easily being one of the youngest pitchers on the market.
But Bonderman has found a comfort zone in Detroit, and the Tigers made it clear to Bonderman that they felt he was a key to the future, an ace in the making in a rotation filled with impressive young arms.
As stated by general manager Dave Dombrowski, "He's one of the best young pitchers in baseball. People tend to forget he's only 24 years of age. He's got an outstanding slider, good fastball, his changeup's coming. We just think he's the type of guy you want to build your foundation around."
With that in mind, the Tigers handed Bonderman a 4-year, $38 million extension that will keep Jeremy a Tiger through 2010, at which point he'll still just be 28. Bonderman will make $4.5 million next year, with big raises each of the next two years; making $8.5 million 2008, and then all the way up to $12.5 million in 2009 and 2010.
With the extension, the Tigers are likely done with their big money purchases for this season, having already acquired Gary Sheffield, re-signed Sean Casey and extended Inge and Bonderman. A possible trade could occur, and the team will still have to sign players like Craig Monroe and Fernando Rodney, but for the most part, the Tigers '07 shopping appears to be done before the New Year is even upon us.