It is believed that Bonderman is close to reaching an agreement on a Major League contract. While Bonderman appears to fit what the Tribe is seeking for its starting staff, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti declined comment.
On Tuesday afternoon, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that Detroit was no longer in the running for Bonderman. The Tigers had been interested in retaining the right-hander on a Minor League deal.
Bonderman, 28, would add an experienced arm to a Cleveland rotation that currently includes Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot as the only perceived locks. Carlos Carrasco will enter Spring Training as the favorite to earn one of the other jobs on the starting staff.
If Bonderman is indeed brought into the fold, that would likely leave starting candidates Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, Anthony Reyes and Alex White, among others, on the outside looking in for Cleveland. Antonetti has made it clear all winter long that the Tribe is in the market for outside help.
Bonderman, who appeared in just 20 games between 2008-09 due to injury woes, turned in a decent comeback campaign in 2010. The right-hander went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA over 30 games (29 starts) and logged 171 innings. It was an admirable showing after missing time with a right shoulder issue the year before.
Overall, Bonderman ended his eight-year tenure with the Tigers 67-77 with a 4.89 ERA in 207 outings. In a four-year stretch from 2004-07, Bonderman went 50-43 with a 4.61 ERA, piling up 190 innings on average. His best campaign came in 2006, when he went 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA to help the Tigers during their run to the American League crown.
Bonderman earned $12.5 million in 2010, which was the final season of a four-year, $38 million contract he signed after the '06 season. Bonderman had interest in remaining with Detroit -- the only team he has known as a Major Leaguer -- but his chances of re-signing with the Tigers became increasingly remote as the winter progressed.