Detroit Tigers 2000-2009 All-Decade Team

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Detroit Tigers
Oct 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Jeff Weaver, Nate Robertson

Justin Verlander wasn’t anointed The Best Pitcher in Baseball until (probably) 2011, but he burst onto the national scene in a hurry with an AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2006 and All-Star appearances and top-five Cy Young finishes in 2007 and 2009. His 17.3 fWAR in the 2000s led the franchise, even though he only played full-time in four seasons.

Jeremy Bonderman never did learn that changeup that was sure to turn him into a capital-e Elite starting pitcher, but he was still a very useful pitcher for an organization undergoing a transition phase. Arm issues ruined his career early — he was pretty much done being effective by the time he turned 26 — but he ended the decade as the second most valuable Tigers starting pitcher (by fWAR with 15.2).

Jeff Weaver was a hot prospect who never fully panned out, but he did put together a handful of nice seasons for the Tigers in the early 2000s. After limiting his innings in his 1999 debut season, the Tigers took off the kid gloves in 2000 and allowed him to cross the 200 inning threshold. He’d do the same in 2001 and was on pace again in 2002 before the Tigers traded the 25-year-old to the Yankees in a three-team trade that netted Carlos Pena and a player to be named later that ended up being Jeremy Bonderman.

Weaver only appeared for the Tigers in three seasons in the 2000s, but they were, perhaps, the best three of his career. Both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference credit him with 11 WAR in those seasons, or four WAR per 30 starts. In hindsight, it’s shocking that his career didn’t take of from that point. According to Baseball-Reference, he’d accumulate only 6.7 WAR for his career after the trade.

Next: Detroit Tigers All-Time 25-man Roster

Nate Robertson was a mostly forgettable starting pitcher as a member of the Tigers. He was credited with 68 loses and only 51 wins, posted an ERA darn near 5.00, and averaged only about one WAR per season, but what he did do was take the ball whenever it was handed to him. Robertson started more games (168) and pitched more innings (1,042) than any other Tigers pitcher in the 2000s. He deserves to be commended for that.