Tigers, Bonderman agree to $38M extension

Updated: December 18, 2006, 10:12 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Sticking with the Detroit Tigers was an easy decision for Jeremy Bonderman.

 Jeremy Bonderman
Bonderman

One of baseball's most promising young pitchers, Bonderman agreed to a $38 million, four-year contract on Monday -- passing up a chance to become a free agent after the 2008 season.

"They gave me a good offer that will make my family comfortable," Bonderman told The Associated Press. "We had a lot of success this year and I get along with all the players and the coaching staff, so this wasn't that hard of a call for me."

Bonderman won 14 games this year and helped the Tigers reach the World Series. He took a physical in Detroit on Monday and expects to sign the contract within the next week.

"I think it takes some pressure off me because I don't have to worry about money and I'm looking forward to using that to my advantage," he said. "I'm glad we got this done."

Bonderman gets $4.5 million next year, $8.5 million in 2008 and $12.5 million in each of the following two seasons.

The 24-year-old right-hander was 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA last season, when the Tigers finished with their first winning record since 1993 and won their first AL pennant since 1984. He tied for the league lead with 34 starts and was second in strikeouts with 202.

Bonderman was the winning pitcher in Game 4 of the AL Division Series as Detroit eliminated the New York Yankees from the playoffs. He had a 3.10 ERA in three postseason starts for the Tigers, who lost the World Series to St. Louis in five games.

Bonderman is a holdover from the 2003 Tigers team that set an AL record with 119 losses. He went 6-19 that year, his rookie season. Since then, he is 39-34 with a 4.49 ERA. He ranks third among AL pitchers with 515 strikeouts during that stretch.

The Oakland Athletics selected Bonderman in the June 2001 draft, making him the first U.S. resident to be drafted after his junior year in high school. He skipped his senior year after earning a general equivalency diploma at Pasco (Wash.) High School.

The Tigers obtained Bonderman in August 2002 as part of a three-way deal that sent pitcher Jeff Weaver to the Yankees.

"We are thrilled Jeremy Bonderman will remain part of the Tigers organization," team president Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "He is developing into one of the top young pitchers in baseball and we expect him to be a big part of our rotation for years to come."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press