MLB Trade Deadline: A Fist(er) full of Tigers

Francisco Martinez, 3B Seattle Mariners

The Detroit Tigers have decided that starting pitcher Doug Fister is their guy to fix the back end of their rotation.  So much so, they have decided to part with 4 players to pick up Fister and relief man David Pauley from the Seattle Mariners.  After failing to “showcase” Erik Bedard Friday night (Bedard got pounded by the Tampa Bay Rays in his return from the DL), it was obvious that it was time to move Fister or starting pitcher Jason Vargas.  Bedard and Vargas, along with closer Brandon League still may find new homes before the trade deadline passes.

So who did the Mariners get?  They picked up relief pitcher Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells, 3B prospect Francisco Martinez, and our favorite – A player to be named later, who has to be picked by August 20th.  Which, ironically is a few days after the last of the 2010 signed draft picks can be traded.  Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has indicated that this player will be “significant”.  Don’t expect it to be Tigers top positional prospect – 1st round (c) player 3B Nick Castellanos, however it could very well be 1st round (c) RP Chance Ruffin, 2nd round pick SP Drew Smyly, or 3rd round pick C  Rob Brantly.  Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit media the player to be named is “somebody we don’t want to lose.  He’ll be a good player.  He’s not just going to be a guy that you would say, ‘Oh, that’s an organizational player.’ ”

Lets take a closer look at the players involved:

Detroit TigersDetroit Tigers – SP Doug Fister

Fister is sporting a 3-12 record on the season.  at first glance, this cries “WTF” is Dombrowski thinking.  Hold on folks.  Fister is the victim of the leagues worst run support.  Yes, the worst.  Out of the 110 pitchers who qualify, he is getting the worst support in baseball.  He’s sporting a 3.33 era and 1.17 whip to go along with a decent 5.5 k/9 ratio and a 2.0 bb/9 ratio.  Chances are that Fister very well could of been a 10 game winner at this point on a team like the Tigers where he had better…no…ANY run support.  He’s turning into a reliable end of the rotation type of pitcher, with middle of the rotation upside.  Not to mention hes under team control until 2015 at the bargin price of $436,000.

Detroit Tigers – RP David Pauley

David Pauley has figured out how to pitch in 2011.  in 39 games, Pauley is 5-4 with a 2.15 era, and a 0.99 whip.  He’s only given up 2 hr’s in 54.1 innings.  His 5.7 k/9 ratio and 2.7 bb/9 ratio are very respectable for a middle reliever.

Seattle Mariners – RP Charlie Furbush

Charlie Furbush was a 4th round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2007.  After going 6-1 with a 2.34 era, 69 k’s, and only 14 walks over 61.2 innings over 2 levels to start off his career in ’07, Furbush needed Tommy John surgery.  He missed the entire 2008 season, but came in 2009 and ended up with a 25-20 record over 386 innings in the minors through early 2011.  Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge has indicated that he will give the 25 year old a chance to be a starter again, but will need to be stretched out via long relief in the Mariners bullpen.  For now, SP Blake Beavan will start for the departed Doug Fister.

Seattle Mariners – OF Casper Wells

Wells was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 14th round of the 2005 draft.  He made his major league debut on May 15th, 2010 going 0-4 against the Boston Red Sox.  The 26 year old is sitting on roughly 200 plate appearances in the big leagues.  He’s played 7 seasons in the minor leagues where he hit .252 with a .836 ops, 81 hr’s, 256 rbi, and 56 stolen bases.  He projects to be a 4th outfielder, but coming to the power starved Mariners he will be given a chance to play often.

Seattle Mariners – 3B Francisco Martinez

Depending on who you ask, Martinez was the 5th or 6th best prospect in the Tigers organization.  At present time, until the PTBNL is announced, he is the center piece of this deal.  The 20 year old shouldn’t arrive with the big club until 2013 and will start in Double-A.  He has handled the jump from Class A advanced to Double – A very well.  Still, he is very raw and he strikes out a ton.  That should improve with age.  In 348 ab’s he is hitting .282 with 7 hr’s, 46 rbi, 63 runs, and 7 sb.  if he can cut down on the free-swinging strikeouts and improve his .ops, he has the tools to turn into an above average 3b, something the Mariners truly need.

I think this was a pretty good trade for both clubs.  I do however feel the Mariners sold high and maximized their value, something that hasn’t been said a lot in the past about this club.  Seattle Times senior baseball writer Larry Stone was told Saturday by Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis, who follows prospects more closely than just about anyone: “It’s not a move where you’re going to say, ‘That’s how the Mariners won the 2013 division title, by making that trade.’ But this is how you get better. It’s not like fantasy baseball, where two or three trades can turn your team around. You have to get incrementally better, and that’s what this deal did.”

Be sure to check back soon for more detailed look at the prospects involved in this deal as well a deeper look at who might be heading to Seattle in as the “significant” player to be named later.

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