Hello there, fans of the Seattle Mariners! You come to this Seattle Mariners blog for Mariners news and Mariners analysis. Here is some fresh, hot, sexy Seattle Mariners news, by which I mean some Mariners news that is practically two days old:
The Mariners have expressed interest in Washington native Jeremy Bonderman, who has an offer from the Tigers in hand.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 13, 2012
I know a lot of you guys tend to tune out when I start writing about writing, instead of writing about baseball, but I think this is a good opportunity for a lesson. I am going to demonstrate to you just how easy it is to do my job, building off of this Jeremy Bonderman tweet.
The first thing we have is the news. The first thing a blogger sees is the news, and the blogger almost never stirs up the news on his own. So the first thing a blogger has to do is post the news, hopefully sourced, and then it never hurts to re-state what's already been posted, just to artificially boost the word count and make it seem like you're more authoritative than you are. Jeremy Bonderman is out there as a free agent, and the Mariners are looking at him somewhat closely. This is a player that the Seattle Mariners could sign!
Now there's a choice. You can either post the news, just, or you can follow up by getting a little more editorial. Because this all follows a pretty standard template, I recommend News --> Background --> Analysis. So what we need now is a little Jeremy Bonderman background. He's 30, now, and right-handed, and he lives in Washington state, which might give the Mariners some sort of edge. He hasn't pitched since 2010, and he's coming off Tommy John surgery. He was a first-round pick in 2001, and he did generate some strikeouts with his slider, but he hasn't actually been good in the majors since 2007. Jeremy Bonderman is many years removed from somewhat sustained major-league success.
The last MLB.com video with a Jeremy Bonderman tag is from February 2011, talking about the Indians possibly signing Bonderman as a veteran stopgap. The Indians never signed Bonderman, and no one ever signed Bonderman. This recent MLB.com article about Bonderman's attempted comeback refers to him as "former pitcher Jeremy Bonderman". I'll note again that he's younger than Brendan Ryan and Robinson Cano. He put in nearly 1,200 innings for the Tigers, and he always flashed potential, but his ERA was higher than it should've been, and before the elbow problems, there were other problems. Bonderman says he feels great now, but there's no hiding his entire body of work.
And now the analysis part. These have all been easy parts -- this is an easy part. Watch how little thought this takes. Over his career, Bonderman always had more trouble with lefties than righties, owing to a lackluster changeup. His velocity started to slip while pitching with the Tigers, but he's undergone surgeries and he says he feels good now, so you can't know what he is until or unless you see him. After the whole Ryan Vogelsong thing, no pitcher who ever showed even fleeting glimpses of talent can be completely dismissed. Vogelsong showed that anything's possible.
And Bonderman, coming off surgery and not having pitched in two years, would certainly be signing a minor-league contract. One would be some sort of insane to offer him a guarantee. Minor-league contracts come with practically zero risk, because if a player isn't good enough, he simply stays in the minors or gets dumped back to free agency. Maybe Bonderman doesn't have what it takes to be a starter anymore, but he might be able to cut it as an effective reliever. He might still have that slider that always made him tough against righties, and his velocity would play up in the bullpen, however much of it there still is. If the Mariners were to sign Jeremy Bonderman to a no-risk minor-league deal, they could end up with a rejuvenated starter or, if not that, a decent reliever. It would be all upside, with precious little downside. Think Oliver Perez. Was the idea of Perez finding major-league success this past season any less far-fetched?
That's the whole of the post, and I barely had to think about it at all. Core principles:
- minor-league contracts are practically risk-free
- Ryan Vogelsong proves anything can happen
- relieving is easy
Now, a challenging part is writing this post over and over again every offseason, about different players, but realistically about the same players. It's hard to write this post differently, such that people don't catch on to the fact that you're just following a basic template. But thankfully, the average sports blog reader on the Internet has a very limited memory, so it's not so hard to get away with. It helps if you throw in the occasional joke, to make the post feel more individual. Take out the 'd' and his last name is Bonerman. It would only feel right, considering the Tigers took our Fister. Immature sex jokes play well on the Internet.
This has, specifically, been a post about Jeremy Bonderman, and, more generally, about lots of guys. Lots of teams will be somewhat interested in Bonderman's comeback, for the reasons noted above. He might lean towards the Tigers or the Mariners, given his previous employment and given his place of residence. The Mariners might sign Bonderman, and Bonderman might be okay, or one or both of those things might not come true. One thing that definitely is true is that there are more difficult jobs than being a baseball blogger.