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Detroit Tigers: Eyebrow-Raising Player Transactions #30-21

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Aug 9, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Mickey Mouse performs during the seventh inning stretch of the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

25. Jeremy Bonderman. Injuries and Big Money Don’t Mix.

Jeremy Bonderman was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics, but in August 2002, he was sent to the Tigers to complete a complex deal made in July of the same year. When he began with the Tigers, he was a healthy player who worked hard to become a better pitcher. His rookie year was 2003, where no Tiger performed well. He continued with the team and for the first four years, he actually lowered his ERA each year. His best season was 2006 where he threw a 4.08 ERA with a WHIP of 1.299. Honestly, these numbers are nothing to be proud of, especially when some starting pitchers finish with ERAs under 1.00.

In 2006, the Tigers gave him a four-year contract worth $38 million. He was arbitration-eligible and at the back-end of the rotation. In 2007 and 2008, his ERA increased. Once he signed the contract, his elbow began to trouble him. Instead of informing Jim Leyland, Bonderman continued to pitch. This led to his elbow getting worse. He never recovered and by 2009 (when his annual contract was for $12.5 million) he pitched in 10.1 innings with a 8.71 ERA. In 2010, he pitched in the rotation again, but that was his last season in the big leagues with the Tigers when they released him into free agency. He eventually resigned to the Tigers in their minor leagues in 2013 after a short stint with the Seattle Mariners.

Of course, the Detroit Tigers management could not have predicted the injury, but a contract like that for a pitcher with those numbers is rarely a good idea.

Next: #24 Great Guy, but the Contract Stinks

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