Mike Ilitch Experiencing Burning Sensation...

Early this spring, everyone was wondering who the Tigers would give the #5 spot in the rotation to between overpaid pitching disappointments, Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson. A couple of months later, we have received our final answer.

Neither of them.

The D-Train has been sent packing just a couple months after Nate was traded to Florida for a bag of used baseballs. That’s $22 million down the drain for this season, with little to no return. It’s great that Mike Ilitch hasn’t choked to death on his terrible pizza over the years, but this still has to be very difficult for the man to swallow.

Numbers on each guy this year:

Nate: 10 games, 4-4, 4.05 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 53.1 IP (in Florida)
Willis: 9 games, 1-2, 4.98 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 43.1 IP

My question to you is simple. Is anyone in the world, outside of perhaps Jim Leyland or Dave Dombrowski, surprised about this outcome?

I am reasonably confident in saying that there is no one on the planet that has given more grief to Nate Robertson over the past year and a half that I have. But with Nate, you knew what you were going to get. You were getting a #5 starter with potential to be decent a couple times a month. And likewise with Dontrelle, you know what was coming. Disaster. He had done nothing over the past couple years to predict any other outcome. Yet the Tigers chose him over Our Hero.

The season began with a lot of questions. Would Austin Jackson be ready for the major leagues? Likewise with Scott Sizemore? Could Magglio bounce back? How would Max Scherzer and Jose Valverde adjust to the American League? How will Zoom’s arm hold up? Would Rick Porcello have a sophomore slump?

But a couple things were a given. Miguel Cabrera was going to be very good at hitting a baseball. Brandon Inge was going to be very bad at hitting a baseball. Carlos Guillen was going to get hurt if the wind blew too hard. And Dontrelle Willis was going to walk a lot of hitters in between bouts of being batsh-t crazy.

Look, I’m just a fan. I’m just a blogger, and a bad one at that. Why is it that I knew this would happen, you knew this would happen, my six year old knew this would happen, but Double D and the Marlboro Man didn’t see this one coming with all of their years of baseball experience between them?

Willis served his purpose. He was thrown in on the deal to bring Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. That alone made him worth it. But it didn't justify the ridiculous contract extension that Dombrowski gave him before he ever threw a pitch for the Tigers. And it definitely didn’t justify him being handed the #5 spot in the rotation in 2010, 2 ½ years later, while sending Nate Robertson out of town with his tail between his legs. Odd to read on a blog called “DesigNate Robertson”, I know. But it’s the truth.

$22 million down the drain for 2010 with exactly 1 win to show for it. That’s one hell of an expensive win. Damian Easley and Gary Sheffield are even shaking their heads. I don’t know about you, but having that kind of cash around for a chance at acquiring Roy Oswalt would’ve been pretty sweet.

It would’ve at least tasted better than the bitterness now left in Mr. I’s mouth. And it would’ve felt better than the burning sensation he has in his wallet.