ST. PETERSBURG -- Don't put Jeremy Bonderman into retirement quite yet. But he isn't ruling it out as an option if the free-agent market puts him in a bad spot.
One day after Bonderman told the Detroit Free Press that he has thought about retirement more than once as he heads into an uncertain future this offseason, he stepped back a bit from that. He still loves baseball, and he wants to pitch. But he's bracing himself for a worst-case scenario.
"I love pitching," Bonderman said.
At this point, that's difficult to fathom. Even after eight Major League seasons and injuries that cost him most of the last two years, he doesn't turn 28 years old until this offseason. Though his ERA stands at 5.05, his health has been consistent. Bonderman talked in Spring Training about possibly retiring if his arm failed him again, but that hasn't been the case.
"I feel my health is good," Bonderman said. "I've just got to find a way to get people out."
A month ago, that wasn't a question. He was pitching more like his old self, and he was talking about letting the chips fall where they may this offseason if the Tigers choose not to re-sign him. He owns a 7.57 ERA in five starts since, allowing 39 hits and six home runs over 27 1/3 innings.
Bonderman clearly would like to return to the Tigers next year, though he knows that could be a difficult sell with Andy Oliver potentially ready to join the rotation full-time, Charlie Furbush possibly not far away from a shot and Jacob Turner rising fast. If Bonderman can't come back to Detroit, he told the Free Press he'd like to pitch on the West Coast close to his home in Washington state.
Bonderman didn't talk about fallback options and didn't want to comment on what-ifs. Still, it's difficult to envision Bonderman, after eight Major League seasons, pitching in Triple-A next season.
"Just got to see if I get offered a contract," Bonderman said.
Tigers won't trade top prospects
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tigers' trade for Jhonny Peralta Wednesday night might not be the only deal they make before Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is working the phones trying to look for more. But so far, it's the only deal where the Tigers found what could help them and not part with their top prospects.
That's the dilemma Dombrowski faces as he tries to patch together the Tigers' injury-riddled lineup. He's hoping that gets a little easier leading up to Saturday, but if it doesn't, the Peralta deal could be the blueprint for any other trades the Tigers swing.
"I don't have anything else in the works at this point," Dombrowski said. "But that's not to say that I won't continue talking to people. The way I said it the other day is really an accurate situation. We're not going to give away our top young guys."
Given what the Nationals are rumored to be seeking for All-Star slugger Adam Dunn, and how many other teams are reportedly in the running, it's difficult to envision Detroit pulling off a deal for the biggest bat on the market. Still, the Tigers can't say they aren't interested, even if they're not in the thick of talks.
At this point, talks on hitters are believed to have taken priority over what had been Detroit's pitching search before injuries to Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen.
The Dunn discussions are going like talks on so many other players around baseball -- slow. Deals like the Peralta trade, where a lesser-tier player goes for a mid-range prospect, could be a little easier as the Deadline looms and teams look to shed salary.
"There hasn't been as much movement as maybe I anticipated there being so far," Dombrowski said. "I still think there are players that are going to move, but I also think in our conversations, most clubs are still asking for a whole boatload that we're not prepared to do. I think other clubs have seen that, too, or else you would've seen other deals. I've always said that as time goes on and you get closer to that 31st, a lot of things happen. Teams make adjustments in what they're requesting."
Part of the issue around baseball, Dombrowski said, is that teams with pending free agents cite the chance to gain back compensation Draft picks if they keep the player, offer him arbitration and let him leave as a free agent.
"Sometimes you can overplay your hand in that, because you don't always get it," Dombrowski said. "That doesn't always happen."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.