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Marlins acquire LHP Nate Robertson from Tigers

Mar 30, 2010, 1:40 PM EDT

The Tigers apparently settled their rotation Tuesday by trading left-hander Nate Robertson and cash to the Marlins for left-hander Jay Voss.
Robertson was marked for departure even though he looked like a better bet for the season than either Dontrelle Willis or Jeremy Bonderman. While he hasn’t been an above average starter since 2006, he did come back from a minor elbow surgery to post a 3.77 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances at the end of last year. His velocity is up a little over recent years, and he has a 3.66 ERA and a 19/7 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings this spring.
The trade means Robertson’s career has come full circle. He was Florida’s fifth-round pick in 1999 and he made his major league debut with the team in 2002 before being traded to the Tigers for Mark Redman the following winter.
With Robertson around, a Florida rotation that had appeared set is now again in flux. It looked like Chris Volstad and Clay Hensley would serve as the team’s fourth and fifth starters. Hensley, like Robertson, has had little success recently, but he’s been one of the Grapefruit League’s most pleasant surprises this spring. The Marlins might opt to stick with him and send Volstad back to Triple-A.
In Jay Voss, the Tigers are getting a middling relief prospect. The 22-year-old had a 2.72 ERA and a 46/18 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings between Single-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville last year. He won’t be an impact guy, but he has a chance to carve out a career. He’ll likely open the season back in Double-A.

  1. BC - Mar 30, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    That’s odd. Is it a salary thing? I would have thought that they would have punted Bonderman and kept Robertson, especially not knowing what you’ll get out of Willis. Robertson is a pretty functional starter.

  2. CRS - Mar 30, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    I don’t get it. If Bonderman or Willis struggle they have no back up plan. Their AAA starters are all so so and Eddie Bonine isn’t a 5th starter.

  3. Old Gator - Mar 30, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    That’s Larry Beinfest, doing well by doing good. Nice move. And cash? Well, the Tigs sweetened the deal with something Scrooge McLoria can sprinkle on his ice cream cones. Is it a salary thing for the Tiggers? No way to know from where I sit; I haven’t paid all that much attention to them since the other Cash, Colavito and Kaline. But on paper it looks like all upside for the Feesh. He’ll be there in case Clay Hensley, whom I haven’t watched but only listened to his games on radio, should prove to be a flash in the March pan.
    Otherwise, could the Tiggers know something about this guy that the Feesh don’t know? Hmmmm, I doubt it, but….anyhow, it’s a little incestuous deja vu between Dombrowski and his former sandbox. Can Dombrowski make the big stupid once in a while? Sure, he’s human and he’s short. But in this case I think his scouts saw something in Voss (not to be confused the fated Australian explorer in the eponymous Patrick White classic) that the Feesh weren’t willing to wait on with the question marks in their own staff staring them in the face.

  4. Joey B - Mar 30, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    “But on paper it looks like all upside for the Feesh. He’ll be there in case Clay Hensley, whom I haven’t watched but only listened to his games on radio, should prove to be a flash in the March pan.”
    Unless there is something I’m not seeing, this is a slamdunk for the Marlins. He’s never been any better than adequate, but given his ST, and given the league switch, he can be a league-average starter for you guys, and if you get league-average from a #5, it’s a huge move. It is not inconceivable that he might be the #2 on the Mets.
    The rumors have it that Det is picking up $9.6M. Unless he’s hurt, that’s a steal.

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