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Nate Robertson Wants More Gum Time

In today's Freep, Nate Robertson's agent says his client would like to sign a long-term contract with the Detroit Tigers during the off-season.

This past year, Robertson finished with a 9-13 record and 4.76 ERA in 177 2/3 innings. When he really began to struggle toward the middle of the season, the Tigers put him on the disabled list for a tired arm (which Robertson insisted he didn't have), and he ended up out for most of June. From then on, Robertson seemed to become a good start/bad start pitcher. He'd throw a game that would make you think it was all finally clicking, only to follow that up with six runs in four innings sort of performance.

Me, I'm kind of down on Robertson. His inconsistency (or should that be "consistent inconsistency"?) drove me nuts last season, and he seems like a fifth starter at best. But I think I'm in the minority among fellow Tigers fans and bloggers with that opinion.

In some games - especially against the Twins - Robertson looked fantastic. He also suffered from what's become some signature tough luck, as happened during his late-August start against Cleveland. So maybe I'm too harsh on the guy. And I shouldn't forget he pitched well in 2006. But I also think we've pretty much gotten the best of Nate Robertson. If I was Dennis Green standing at a podium, I'd say Nate is who we thought he was.

The Tigers certainly need Robertson in their starting rotation. They might need him even more next season, after Kenny Rogers retires. The man can eat up a lot of innings, as we know. And there just aren't that many minor league understudies ready to take over for him. But if he's looking for a significant raise over the $3.26 million he made last year, the Tigers could probably spend that kind of money elsewhere - especially with Dontrelle Willis now joining the team.