Tuesday, BYB was overrun with knowledgeable Tigers fans, all with an opinion on the trade of Nate Robertson, the elevation of Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman to the starting rotation and Dave Dombrowski's handling of the entire messy situation.
Fun stuff to debate, right?
Well...fun is relative.
If your idea of fun was arguing about millionaire 5th starters and decisions made by the Tigers front office, you were in your element Tuesday. Otherwise, you're thrilled the Tigers are back to playing baseball today and opening day is one day closer.
If you've read the numerous posts from yesterday, you all know how the editorial team at BYB feels about the deal. Thumbs down, but it's more on the institutional level.
To gauge the feelings of Tigers Nation, I've added a poll to the bottom of this post. It's simple. Yea or nay, was the trade of Nate Robertson and the elevation of Dontrelle Willis to the starting rotation the correct decision by the Tigers?
But before the voting commences, it's time for the BYB morning prowl.
Jason Beck tells us the recipient of Robertson's roster spot wasn't Willis or Bonderman. It was actually Eddie Bonine, as Beck has a quote from the oft criticized Dombrowski.
"We had three guys battling for two [rotation] spots," Dombrowski said, "and even though we were prepared to put one of them into the bullpen if we needed to, we just felt it was better for them to be in a spot where they could go out and pitch. So for us, that then means that Bonderman and Willis are our two additional starters in the rotation, and it puts Bonine on the team in the bullpen."
Bonine thus becomes the long man in the pen, and the likely first man into the rotation when..uh...rather, if, that's right, if...Willis fails.
At the News, Lynn Henning says the Tigers are "playing with fire" in putting their faith in a Willis comeback, a huge gamble on their part.
The Willis rooters begin with the Tigers. They want to believe so deeply Willis is back that they made a gutsy move Tuesday that anybody with a love for Las Vegas would have cheered.
The Tigers have been good gamblers of late. They need to be very good for the Willis-Robertson decision to pay off.
Good gamblers? Really? Most of the Tigers recent gambles have ended up blowing up in their face. Gary Sheffield, the past 2 years of Willis, Jarrod Washburn, Aubrey Huff. Talk about rolling snake eyes.
After the jump, the latest opinions from the Tigers blogosphere.
At Detroit4Lyfe, prolific BYB commenter Packey posted a 1400 word manifesto about the trade. You want the Cliff Notes version? He likes it! Here's a small taste...
Now, I'm not saying Willis is going to return to his 2003 (Rookie of the Year) or 2005 (Cy Young votes) form, but like I said, after battling through some issues and having a respectable spring, it won't cripple the Tigers to give him another shot, especially when it was a choice between him and Robertson. It wasn't like they were picking Willis over Porcello or Scherzer here. It was like going to Blockbuster and deciding between Titanic and The Notebook. Unfortunately, Rocky was never even a choice.
As a red-blooded American male who's also a movie buff. I cannot come up with a better chick flick comparison. But which pitcher is Titanic and and which is The Notebook?
Bilfer is coming out of his winter slumber at The Detroit Tigers Weblog. This past weekend, when rumors of Robertson was being shopped hit the tubes of the internets, he urged the Tigers should proceed cautiously in putting all their eggs in the D-Train basket.
A trade of Robertson would be hasty at this point. While he probably has the most trade value of the 3, the Tigers likely can’t afford to lose his arm. He has outpitched his main competitors both this spring and in recent history and is in a similar salary situation. The Tigers are carrying the payroll of a competitor and have enough talent given their division to have a shot at the playoffs. Experimenting with a questionable 5th starter for too long could prove too costly. Kind of like in 2009.
Unfortunately, the Tigers ignored Billfer's warnings. Dombrowski thew caution to the wind...and $9.6M to the Marlins.
At Motor City Bengals, John asks Tigers fans to not lose their ever loving minds the first time Willis has a bad outing...or inning.
But here’s where I’ll caution Tigers fans. Don’t start screaming the first time Willis walks a couple of guys in one inning. Don’t freak out when he has a start like the one he had today. Dontrelle Willis didn’t make this team because he’s going to win a Cy Young award, he doesn’t need to do that. Willis is a number five starter, just the same as any other number five around baseball.
What can teams expect from their number five? A guy that will throw 175 or so innings and keep him team in the game more times than not. A .500 pitcher, nothing more, nothing less.
The question is, can Willis be good enough to do that? I think he can, and more importantly, the Tigers think he can as well.
But...but...we fans do righteous indignation and 20/20 hindsight better than anybody! Just check any BYB game thread...
Here's my final thoughts on the whole Willis - Robertson "situation."
As for Dontrelle Willis, I hope I'm wrong. I desperately want him to succeed. Not as much as the Tigers, obviously. But from all accounts, the D-Train is a great guy, and will be a fan favorite if he has any success at all. If Willis is good, or even remotely close to average, it bodes well for a competitive Tigers season.
Was Nate Robertson a great pitcher? No, he was far from it. Was he a fun player to have around, one who was thrilled to wear the Olde English D? Without a doubt, yes!
No matter what you say about Robertson's talent as a pitcher, he was one of the few players to make Detroit his full-time home. That says volumes.
I wish him nothing but the best in the National League.