illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Nate. Oh, honey. No.
Now I understand that a certain level of self-delusion is necessary to play in the Major Leagues, to buffer against slavering members of the media and to forget bad outings and such. But things like this:
“I think the cycle of a player’s time in certain places comes and goes,” said Robertson, 31, who was quick to praise the Tigers’ hierarchy, including Leyland.
Robertson, however, sees himself as a starter and wants his old job back — whether it’s in Detroit or elsewhere.
“There’s definitely a difference of opinion,” he said of his view that he should be starting, “cause I don’t have the job.
“It’s a possibility I might be going somewhere,” Robertson added. “I might not be here, and I’m at peace with that.”
Detroit News article
display a special kind of fantasy. Maybe Nate really, truly, honestly believes that he is a starting pitcher, right now, at the big league level. Maybe he believes in that with all of his little heart. After all, he was pretty great in 2006. That’s only a few seasons ago! The magic may yet be recaptured! Who knows what happy musings pass behind those goggles?
But– and I have to talk directly to Nate here, because I am really concerned that he is losing his grip on reality: Nate, friend, you are an untradeable commodity. To other teams in the league, you are the proverbial mammary glands on a bull. You are Egyptian cotton in Catch 22. Nate, you are owed $17 million through 2010. You had a 6.35 ERA in 2008. Don’t you think that the Tigers might have been trying to foist you off on someone, anyone else all winter, and that if they’d been able to, they would have done so already? Maybe consider the possibility.
Nate will at least start the season with the Tigers, but he will be in the bullpen. He may wish t’were otherwise, and Tigers fans may soon wish the same thing, but there it is. We had all better start getting used to it now, Nate included.
With that out of the way, what does the rest of the Tigers pitching staff look like? Let us see. I suggest putting some sort of plastic covering over your keyboard, so that your salty tears of hysterical, desperate, disbelieving laughter do not ruin your computer.
Justin Verlander: trying to bounce back from a fairly dismal season. Will have to contend with the pressure of supporting a listing, drunken 400lb gorilla of a rotation.
Arrrrrmando Galarraga: trying to prove that ’08 was not a fluke. Will have to contend with opposing batters at this level who are much more used to him and his pitching wayz.
Edwin Jackson: trying to finally deliver with his ‘stuff’, instead of continuing to burgeon with not-quite-realized potential. Will have to contend with the pressure of not being Matt Joyce, Rescuer of Kittens.
Rick Porcello: trying to go directly from single-A to the starting rotation. Will have to contend with the fact that he is 8 years old.
Zach Miner: trying to prove that he belongs in the rotation and not the ‘pen. Will have to contend with management’s somewhat inexplicable dislike for his face.
Jeremy Bonderman: trying to get his arm back to normal. Will have to contend with the usual struggles that come when one is a member of the undead.
Dontrelle Willis: MIA.
Fernando Rodney: trying to close at least some of the time (Paws help us all). Will have to contend with his natural tendency towards the Inconsistent.
Brandon Lyon: trying to recover from a scary spring. Will have to contend with everyone watching him like a hawk and pouncing claws-out on his every stumble.
Joel Zumaya: trying to remember what it’s like to throw a baseball and not have his arm explode. Will have to contend with the fact that the next time he throws a baseball, his arm will probably explode.
Ryan Perry: trying to get big league batters out after having never pitched above single-A before now. Will have to contend with the fact that he’s still sharing juice boxes and trading Pokemons with Porcello.
Juan Rincon: trying to show that he can still handle pitching against an AL Central that knows him very, very well by now. Will have to contend with steroid lulz.
Eddie Bonine: trying to remind people that he exists. Will have to contend with all the cow jokes.
Ohhhhh yeah, feast your eyes upon THAT list of majesty! Did I forget anyone? I guess it doesn’t really matter; it’s not as if there’s a secret Roy Halladay or Jonathan Papelbon lurking in there who has somehow just slipped my mind.
Opening Day is this coming Monday! These cats are as ready as they will ever be, and doesn’t that just fill you with a warm, mellow sense of security? If it does, please tell me what sort of substances you have been gently abusing, because I would like to obtain some for myself.