The final chapter in Nate Robertson’s Tigers career was penned today when the veteran left hander was traded to the Florida Marlins in exchange for LHP Jay Voss. The Tigers will also send along cash to offset the cost of Robertson’s contract, though the exact amount is unknown at this time.
UPDATE: According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the Marlins will be paying only the league minimum to Robertson of $400,000. The Tigers are picking up the remaining $9.6MM
The fallout is that both of the remaining starters, Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis are now officially in the rotation. Willis was in the middle of his first inning versus Baltimore when the news broke, he retired the side in order with two punchouts.
In Voss, the Tigers get a soon-to-be 23 year old lefty that was an 8th round pick of the Marlins in 2007. Voss struggled mightily in his first two pro seasons, compiling an ERA near 7.00. Last season, split between A and AA, Voss was much better, posting an ERA of 2.72 over 49.1 innings, all in relief.
Mark Anderson of TigsTown.com tweeted a short scouting report on Voss:
Tigers new reliever, Jay Voss, sits 90-92, gets up to 93, decent breaking ball and command of both pitches, some potential as bullpen lefty.
The trade of Robertson opens a spot on the Tigers’ 40-man roster, but it’s not one that will immediately be filled, as all of the Tigers non-roster invitees to camp have already been re-assigned.
The Tigers now have just 26 players in camp, leaving the final player to be eliminated later today, either Don Kelly or Clete Thomas. The rest of the pitching staff is set, Eddie Bonine makes the team, as do both Fu-Te Ni and Brad Thomas, meaning the Tigers will have three left handers in their bullpen, Phil Coke being the third.
Due to Bonderman’s pending three-game suspension stemming from a ball thrown at the Twins’ Delmon Young last September, Willis will start the final game of the opening series in Kansas City, following Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Bonderman will start the second game against Cleveland next Saturday after Rick Porcello starts the home opener.
For Robertson, the trade is a home-coming of sorts. Nate was originally drafted by the Marlins and pitched in six games for them in 2002. Following that season, the Fish dealt him to Detroit, where in seven season he posted a 51-69 record and 4.92 ERA.
This is a move that I had been hoping for, in all honesty, but now that it’s here I find it a tad bittersweet. Robertson showed his mettle over the course of the past seven years, and that grit will be missed for sure. He has had a way of keeping things light in the clubhouse and you always knew you would get his best effort, even when he was hurting and didn’t have his great stuff. Robertson has regressed in terms of his arsenal, but he showed this spring that he is still a capable pitcher.
I expect he will enjoy a decent amount of success in the National League, even if he does have to face the Phillies several times per year. The Marlins have built a solid team but they knew former Tiger Andrew Miller wasn’t yet ready to be counted on. If they are going to compete with the big guns in the NL East, a veteran lefty would surely be a help. In the end, their need and Mr. Ilitch’s money came together to get this deal done.
I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this deal soon, stay tuned. And be sure to leave your reactions in the comments, I’d love to hear what everyone else is thinking here.