Friday, August 04, 2006

Weaver For Bonderman? But Never Vice-Versa

Jeremy Bonderman pitches tonight for the Tigers, as they open a weekend series with the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Chances are the Tigers will win, or at least be in a position to win, with Bonderman on the mound. He is, along with rookie Justin Verlander, an almost-sure bet for a team win when he starts.

Jeff Weaver will pitch early next week for the St. Louis Cardinals. Chances are his team will lose, or at least be put into a hole.

Such is the way for Weaver now.

The Tigers acquired Carlos Pena and Bonderman in a trade in 2002 with the Oakland A's. The pitcher they gave up -- the supposed centerpiece of the three-team deal with the Yankees -- was Jeff Weaver.

That trade, four years later, has flipped 180 degrees. Would YOU trade Bonderman for Weaver? I mean, without asking for Albert Pujols as a throw-in?

Bonderman was an unknown in 2002; not so anymore

Weaver's career post-Tigers has veered into an abyss. He didn't do much with the Yankees, fizzled with the Dodgers, tanked with the Angels, and is now getting torched in St. Louis. In his first four Cardinals starts, he has an 8.68 ERA. Wednesday night, Weaver lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs. His combined record in 2006 is 4-12, with a 6.71 ERA.

Cue the dry heaves.

Weaver: his stuff is nasty -- literally

Bonderman, however, has blossomed -- hardened by the 43-119 2003 season. He seemed to flatten a bit in 2004-05, but in '06, he's taken that next step. He is simply one of the best righthanded starters in the game -- certainly in the American League. Teammate Verlander is among the top five, as well -- two huge reasons why the Tigers carry a 72-36 record into the weekend.

Trades are funny. They're evaluated in about 30 minutes -- before any players have played one inning with their new teams. Yet the true verdicts can't be reached until several years later. For example, nobody knew who the heck Jeremy Bonderman was in 2002. He was considered a toss-in. In fact, Bonderman wasn't included in the trade until six weeks later -- mainly because the Tigers were still owed a player.

Well, look at Jeremy Bonderman now.

The other supposed crown jewel was Pena. He was the hotshot first base prospect the Tigers were pleased as punch to get for Weaver, who by 2002 had turned into a sullen, volatile, yet talented player.

Pena didn't pan out either. But Weaver, at age 29 and not lefthanded, might soon find himself out of the big leagues at a time when Bonderman's MLB career is about to shift into overdrive.

Trades ARE funny things.

1 comment:

Ozz said...

About a week or so ago, I heard an interview with Jeff Weaver's younger brother Jared on ESPN Radio. He mentioned something about getting some advice from his big brother.

I said out loud, "Dude, the last thing you need to do is take advice from your bro!"

I remember hearing stories about how Jeff was kind of a problem child when he was here. Wasn't he one of the guys who was causing problems on some infamous team flight?