Our Nate will go on, and other news.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Nate Robertson, 3 years, $21.25 million. Those are the facts.

The news is so exciting that Nate can’t contain himself, or his words:

“There’s just a lot of great things happening right now,” said Robertson, whose wife Kristin is expecting their first child next month. “We’re driving here today to the ballpark, and it hasn’t really hit me. You talk about this Kansas boy from a small town. We went out and cut firewood for a living when I was a kid. Now I’m playing baseball and signing a contract. I always thought that things happen for a reason.”
MLB.com article

1. His wife is gonna have a baby.
2. He’s from Kansas.
3. He cut firewood for a living as a kid (?).
4. Now he plays baseball.
5. He signed a contract.
6. Things happen for reasons.

Are these things related, or is Nate so overcome by the generosity of this deal that he’s been reduced to communicating via unconnected sentences? I suspect the latter. Seriously, was the wood chopping of his tender years supposed to somehow be the reason why he’s signing a contract with the Detroit Tigers today? ‘Cause, I’ll be honest, that’s a line of reasoning that I completely missed out on.

I do always love it when these guys talk about this stuff happening for a Reason. Yeah, you’re gonna have a baby because you impregnated your wife. You’re signing a contract because you pitched well enough to make your team think it was worth their while. REASONS. THINGS HAVE THEM. I never knew until baseball players started telling me.

Anyways. I’m not exactly peeing my pants in sheer glee over this signing, but I’m also not peeing myself in despair. In fact, I’m not peeing myself at all, so on the whole I think this situation comes out on the positive side of things. Nate will be in his early 30s when this contract runs out, which isn’t bad at all, even if that does make him second in command only to Kenny Rogers when it comes to old folks on the starting pitching staff. He’s not made of rubber or anything, but he also isn’t Mark-Prior-brittle, so it’s not an unsafe contract bet.

Is he a spectacular pitcher? No, not really. He’s a real good, solid 5 starter, maybe 4 if he gets in a good streak and can bribe the batters to get himself some run support. But hey: everyone needs one of those. So the Tigers decided to lock him up for the time being. It’s not like pitching of any description is going cheap this winter.

Rotoworld complains about his increased tendency to be a flyball pitcher. Yeah, maybe. I don’t like the implications (that he’s leaving his ball up more, that his spin is decreased, whatever), but our home games are in Comerica Park; if you can’t be a flyball pitcher here, you can’t be any kind of pitcher anywhere.

Generally speaking, this just doesn’t seem like a bad move to me.

And heck, if he keeps the gum thing up, we may have got ourselves a real bargain here, kids and kittens.

The other news: The River Thames signed a one-year contract. There’s Jacque Jones’ platoon, and there go any hopes of Brandon Inge slotting in at that position. I’ve always been somewhat fond of The River and wished he would get more of a chance. Maybe this will be the year, and he’ll hit 500 homeruns and we can all nod knowingly to each other like we totally saw it coming.

In yet other news: oh holy cats. Thanks a LOT, Detroit News. Jim Leyland is “concerned” about the prospect of Vance Wilson being ready for Spring Training and beyond, i.e. ALL MY CATCHING FEARS COME TO LIFE. Now would be a GREAT time for Brandon Inge to swallow his pride and figure out why he can’t hold a bat right-side up when he’s catching instead of playing third. Ball’s in your court, Inge.

8 responses to “Our Nate will go on, and other news.

  1. Inge. Catch. Dude.

  2. Chris (Dallas, TX)

    Thames was given a contract to avoid arbitration. If the Tigs didn’t offer him a contract, they ran the risk of losing him altogether via waivers. This in no way guarantees that he’ll be with the team on opening day.

  3. Tiff, word.
    Chris, I would guess that if they had trouble moving him before, they’ll have trouble moving him now. And honestly, there are worse platoon partners out there.

  4. ivantopumpyouup

    Considering Inge has not caught longer than Vance has not caught, I’d still rather see a healthy Vance Wilson backing Pudge up than a healthy Brandon Inge. I’m crossing my fingers for a healthy Vance. And if not a healthy Vance, an Inge that slips into catching as easily as a hand into a glove.
    Also, I’m sure the reporter asked a leading question, like, “Are you concerned?” and Leyland answered accordingly. The media likes to whip up controversy just for the hell of it. Then again, I’m cynical.

  5. Chris (Dallas, TX)

    I’m not particularly a big fan of Thames’ .278 OBP last season. He’s a prototypical all-or-nothing guy. That being said I do think he’ll be on the Opening Day roster. The fact that he learned 1B adds to his value a bit.
    As for Wilson, you don’t see too many position players getting Tommy John surgery so I have no idea what to expect out of him. Considering Inge hasn’t worn the tools of ignorance for a few years, you wonder if he’d be effective back there even if he wanted to…

  6. ivan, obviously a healthy Vance is our best option right now, barring some unforseen trade brewing secretly in Dombrowski’s mind. I think I’ve made my stance on Inge catching pretty clear in the past… but given the way he’s been walled out of almost every other position on the field, it really is looking like his options are ‘grit teeth and backup catch’ or ‘go elsewhere’. I’d like to avoid ‘go elsewhere’ even more than I want to avoid him catching.
    And, yeah, I’m sure there was a leading question in there about Vance. I’d guess they asked something like “do you expect Vance to be ready at the start of spring training?”, because that’s what he answered first. The “I’m concerned” seems more like his own addition, though. Def. not something he had to say. :/
    Chris, .278 is not acceptable for an OBP… BUT you gotta remember that Thames didn’t even play in 100 games last season, and the only season he did play in 100+ games, his OBP was .333, which still isn’t, y’know, great, but is less completely awful.
    I’m less concerned with Vance’s position player status with regards to his surgery, and more concerned with his age. There’s a lot of wear and tear on that body– maybe less on the arm itself than some of the pitchers who have the surgery, but more on his body overall, and I’m not sure what that’ll do to his ability to recover.

  7. ivantopumpyouup

    I can see why Leyland would be concerned given Vance’s age, the rarity that is a position player needing Tommy John, the reported tendinitis, etc. I’m, uhh, not concerned about Leyland being concerned. I expect him to be. Ya know?
    I’m always surprised when I hear that Vance is younger than Pudge. I’d kind of expect it to be vice versa for some reason. :P

  8. Yeah, the reason that statement concerned ME was that not that long before it, Vance had been saying that he totally hoped he’d be ready for Spring Training, and all indications were that he WOULD be ready then, or at least before the season started. Now, not so sure.
    Same here, now that you mention it re: Pudge and Vance’s ages. I dunno why. I think Vance LOOKS older than Pudge does, but maybe there’s something else in there too.

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