Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Coming into the season I was confident Kenny Rogers could still be effective, in large part because he had proven capable of defying age thus far in his lengthy and impressive career. He can certainly still be an effective pitcher at times, however, he is likely no longer able to be the same pitcher that the Tigers relied on just a couple seasons ago. From his comments this spring, it's clear that physically he can't do what he used to be able to, even though to many observers there would appear to be little difference between 41 and 43 years of age. His numbers thus far in '08 bear that out - his 6.75 ERA is nearly double his ERA from 2006. He's turned in just two quality starts in six tries, and has struck out more than he's walked just once. Kenny has had a long and storied career, and might still have a few outstanding outings left in him, but he's reaching his last legs.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Based solely on his performance so far this season, it is difficult to conclude anything else in regards to Rogers. However, it is also difficult to find any significant number of players who just completely collapsed in the blink of an eye. It's not unheard of, but it's also not common; particularly for those players who continue to play once they've gone 'over the hill.' Rogers' injury last year may have hastened what was destined to be a slower decline, and we could be seeing additional ramifications from the damage last season. I am reluctant to stick a fork in him quite yet, but my hand may be forced if current trends continue. I think he still has the 'stuff' to be a contributing pitcher in 2008, but the end is much nearer than it appeared at the start of spring training.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
It's very possible that Kenny Rogers has reached the end of his career. After winning 17 games two years ago, he had a blood clot removed from his pitching shoulder and went 3-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 11 starts after his return last summer. He didn't pitch poorly this spring (3.14 ERA), but after his first start against Kansas City, he's really struggled. I hope that it's just a slump, but when you have been getting hit (32 hits in 24 2/3 innings) and issue a fair amount of walks (15), it makes life very tough for someone that doesn't have the overpowering stuff to get strikeouts in key situations. Speaking of which, Rogers is striking out just 3.28 batters per nine innings, which is a huge drop from his career numbers. Rogers was a big reason the Tigers had their magical run two years ago, but if things don't change, the Tigers are going to have to find a better alternative.
Chris Fisher, Toledo Correspondent
I would simply point to his steady decline in production, after ending the 2006 season in Detroit his numbers have shown a steady decline while be battled injuries. Having posted a 4.43 ERA last year in 63 IP last year he seems to be flaming out with a 1-3 record while posting a 7.66 ERA in 5 games. He has never been a strikeout pitcher (posting less then 150 K's even in his prime) and his command/range is slipping thus the ERA jumps.
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