Taking a Stab at the Detroit Tiger's Opening Day Roster: Pitchers Edition

Matt SCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2010

VIERA, FL - MARCH 09:  Relief pitcher Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium on March 9, 2010 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Yesterday I made my guess at which hitters will be named to the Tiger's opening day roster -- I'll finish up with the pitchers today.

The locks:
Justin Verlander (R)
Rick Porcello (R)
Ryan Perry (R)
Jose Valverde (L)

Not too much needs to be said about these guys. We know what Verlander brings to the table, Porcello, looking to build on his rookie success, has had a freakishly good spring, Perry was untouchable until his most recent spring appearance, and Valverde was brought in to nail down the closer spot.

Nearly locks:
Max Scherzer (R)
Jeremy Bonderman (R)
Nate Robertson (L)
Dontrelle Willis (L)
Bobby Seay (L)
Joel Zumaya (R)

Max Scherzer was acquired from Arizona in the trade involving Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson. Jim Leyland named him to the starting rotation at the beginning of spring training, and I think he'll stick to his word despite a rough first half in Lakeland.

Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and Dontrelle Willis are all in the same boat in trying to bounce back from a season of injury and ineffectiveness. Two of these three players will probably be named to the starting rotation (Armando Galarraga has an outside chance, but he's had a fairly rough spring). My gut tells me that Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson would be Leyland's choices, but Dontrelle has been impressive this spring and may earn himself a starting spot. The guy that doesn't get named to the rotation will be relegated to the bullpen.

Bobby Seay has been battling some shoulder soreness. If he's not on the active roster to start the season it'll be because of a trip to the disabled list.

Joel Zumaya will make the roster, but serious questions are popping up about his ability to master the art of pitching. We all know his ability to throw serious gas, but his lack of a reliable second and third pitch has cost him in crucial situations.

Probably in:
Fu-Te Ni(L)
Phil Coke (L)

I like Fu-Te Ni a lot. He was more than reliable out of the bullpen last year (2.61 ERA), and he was just as tough, if not tougher, against right handed hitters as left handed hitters.

Phil Coke will also likely make the club. He appeared in 72 games for the Yankees last season (11th most appearances in the American League), and was good, but not great. It's always nice to have extra lefties in the pen, especially for those 14 inning affairs with Minnesota.

It looks like I've already reached my 12 pitcher limit, but should Jim Leyland decide that four lefties is too many for the bullpen or if someone lands on the disabled list, you may see one of "the rest" get added.

The rest:
Armando Galarraga (R)
Zach Miner (R)
Eddie Bonine (R)
Daniel Schlereth (L)

Armando Galarraga was the Tiger's pitching MVP in 2008, but he struggled mightily for most of last season. Armando may find himself without a chair when the music stops.

Zach Miner has been the Tiger's "backup quarterback" for several years now. It seems like everyone wants him to pitch when others are struggling, but once he gets some playing time, his luster wears off.

Eddie Bonine has a similar ability to come out of the pen, or spot start, but there seems to be an abundance of these guys around camp this year. I don't see Eddie making the club.

Daniel Schlereth is a young lefty described as having an electric arm, but he's not quite ready for the big leagues yet. He'll likely spend some time in AAA this year, but he'll be a nice late inning guy in the future. Plus he has the bonus of being from Alaska, and that's just a cool state.

I'm really interested to see what the Tigers brass will do with all of the left handed pitchers. Four left handed relievers would leave only three righties, and all three would be late-inning guys (Perry, Zumaya, and Valverde).

I like all of those lefties more than Galarraga, Miner, and Bonine (unless one of those three turns it around and proves me wrong the rest of spring training) but I think the Tigers will want at least one middle inning righty in the bullpen.