Jeremy Bonderman was a used 2003 Saab 9-3 Jack Zduriencik bought from a questionable dealership. It once had a nice engine, even though it ran a little harsh now and didn't quite get to top speed. The car only had one previous owner, the dealer claimed. She lived right down the street, actually. One time she loaned it out to a friend for the summer, but she never took it on the freeway, he told Zduriencik. Just to the grocery store and back. Minor stuff. It had been on the lot for a while, just hadn't found the right buyer. Sometimes the mechanics would tinker around on it, but they didn't talk about that. The price was reasonably low, so Zduriencik jumped on it, even though he already had newer, more reliable cars back at home.
The Saab mostly sat in the garage. Sometimes Zduriencik took it to the grocery store, and it ran just fine. Enough trips back and forth to buy almond milk, and you thought about taking it on the freeway. For weeks, the car ran adequately. It was clear that this car didn't have the horsepower it once did, but it could handle in and out of lanes, get from A to B. The engine kept making a weird clanking noise, but Zduriencik ignored it. "Works for me," he said, even though his friends expressed concern about the car's safety.
Eventually the noise got louder. The car started running over road cones seemingly on it's own, like it couldn't avoid them. It couldn't change lanes, the steering wheel locked up. It ran through a construction site. The car crashed. Twice, in one week. The Mariners admit that they bought a lemon with a fresh coat of paint and a nice story. Zduriencik cut his losses and put it on the curb with a sign that said "free."
The Mariners designated Jeremy Bonderman for assignment this afternoon, calling up Lucas Luetge for the time being. It hasn't been announced whether Erasmo Ramirez will move into Bonderman's spot in the rotation on Thursday (their schedules align) or if the team will move Blake Beavan into Bonderman's spot. In either case, this move is a step in the right direction. Ramirez hasn't been good his last two outings, but still represents an immediate upgrade over Bonderman, and is possibly an important part of the Mariners future. There's been some question that Blake Beavan could move into the starting rotation, but if that were the case, it seems Bonderman would have been moved to Beavan's old long relief role instead. This seems more like a move of an organization looking to make a change. I expect Erasmo Ramirez to make his 2013 debut on Thursday.
Jeremy Bonderman's comeback attempt may have been short, but at least he completed it. Some players never make it back from major injuries. Brandon Webb couldn't come back. Mark Prior couldn't come back. Jeremy Bonderman came back, and while he ended up being exactly what we expected, he still carried a 0.90 ERA over a three game stretch in June. Despite his eventual blow-up, Jeremy Bonderman beat the odds and evaded the luck dragon for longer than he should have. I hope he holds onto that stretch of success he had.
Bonderman parts the Mariners with a -0.1 fWAR, doing exactly what he was called to do, be a replacement level player. He amassed a 4.93 ERA, 5.08 FIP, 5.53 xFIP, and 5.27 tERA. He managed to raise his K/9 to 3.76, which is still lowest among pitchers who've thrown 30 or more innings this season.