Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tigers sign Pena, Bonderman and Spurling

According to MLB.COM, the Tigers have avoided arbitration with Carlos Pena, Jeremy Bonderman, and Chris Spurling by signing them to one year contracts. Pena, in his second year of arbitration eligibility, will receive 2.8 million which is a raise over last year's 2.575 figure. Bonderman signed for 2.3 million which very similar to what Maroth will get in the first year of his recently inked two year deal. Chris Spurling signed for 725 thousand.

This leaves Craig Monroe as their only unsigned arbitration eligible. Monroe and the Tigers exchanged arbitration figures today and they are 600 thousand apart. The Tigers are offering 2.45 million while Monroe is asking for 3.05 million. They are still trying to work out a deal before the arbitration hearing. The story on Monroe can also be found on MLB.COM.

Pena's roster status is questionable because of the crowded 1B/DH situation which may have gotten even more crowded with the recent spring training invitation of Josh Phelps. As streaky as Pena has been, he has put up similar rate stats to Craig Monroe and Dmitri Young over the past couple of years. I think he can be a valuable role player playing against right-handed pitchers and sitting down if he goes off on one of his cold streaks. There is still a chance he could be traded but he may be kepth to provide depth to a fragile roster.

At the beginning of last year, I was thinking it was about time to sign Bonderman to a multi-year deal but with his somewhat uncertain injury status, it would be wise for the Tigers to wait until he shows that he is 100% healthy. If he is healthy and productive again, I'd like to see him signed to a deal which takes him through the first year of his free agency eligibility if not longer. Whether or not Bonderman would want to trade the opportunity to become a free agent in three years for some security is another question though.

Meanwhile, Spurling is close to a lock to get a job in the Tigers bullpen this year. He would probably have to have a miserable Spring in order not to come north with the club.

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