Detroit Tigers: Best January Moves Since 2000
January 11, 2003 – Detroit Tigers trade for Nate Robertson
Seasons with the Detroit Tigers: 7
Career WAR with the Detroit Tigers: 5.8
The 2002 Detroit Tigers were one of the worst teams in franchise history, but that club tends to get overshadowed by the historically bad 2003 team. As part of his rebuilding process, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski shipped Mark Redman, the 2002 squad’s top pitcher, to Florida for Nate Robertson and Gary Knotts. Redman went on to have a career year for the Marlins, and Knotts was knocked around for two seasons with Detroit, but Robertson became a huge part of the Tigers’ rebuild.
Nate Robertson was an under-the-radar player. He made just eight starts in 2003, missing out on the infamy that woeful club left branded on starters Adam Bernero, Nate Cornejo, and Mike Maroth. And he never showed the dominance of phenoms like Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander. But from 2004-2008, no Detroit Tigers pitcher made more starts (154) or threw more innings (934.2) than Robertson. He wasn’t an All-Star, and things went downhill for him very fast in 2008, but for at least four seasons he was the sort of reliable, innings-eating starter every contender needs.