Blog Entry

Tigers call up Turner, trade for Fister

Posted on: July 30, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:57 pm
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The Tigers have found their starter. And a reliever.

In a bold move that addressed both their main needs at once, the Tigers acquired starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from the Mariners, for a four-player package that is headed by Double-A third baseman Francisco Martinez and also includes pitcher Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells and a player to be named later.

Fister should solidify a Tiger rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Brad Penny. The Tigers called up 20-year-old super-prospect Jacob Turner to make a spot start Saturday against the Angels, but they said Turner would return to the minor leagues immediately after the game. Fister will make his first Tiger start next Wednesday against the Rangers.

The Tigers were reluctant to trade Turner, and even more reluctant to pay the price that the Rockies were putting on Ubaldo Jimenez (thought to be at least Turner and Porcello, with outfielder Brennan Boesch also mentioned). With Rays starter James Shields unavailable (at least to them), they settled on Fister as the next best option.

Upgrading the rotation was a huge priority, because the Tigers are 19 games over .500 when using one of their top three starters (Verlander, Scherzer and Porcello), but just 4-16 (and 0-7 since mid-June) when they have used a fifth starter.

Adding to the bullpen also became a priority lately, because of concerns about how well middle reliever Al Alburquerque would hold up. So the Tigers, who were already talking to the Mariners about Fister, expanded the deal to include Pauley.

Seattle had at first expressed a reluctance to trade Fister, but the Mariners relented. Wells, who spent part of this year in the big leagues, could help their woeful offense immediately. And Martinez, a 20-year-old in Double-A, gives them a potential big bat for the future.

The Tigers were willing to include Martinez because they have depth at third base, in 19-year-old Nick Castellanos, currently at Class A West Michigan.

Wells has hit .286 in 100 career big-league games. Martinez is hitting .282 with 46 RBI at Double-A Erie. Furbush, who has a 3.62 ERA in 17 big-league games this year, should also help the Mariners.

Turner, who has been pitching at Double-A Erie (and was scheduled to start for the SeaWolves Saturday night), is expected to return to the minor leagues after making his big-league debut.

The 27-year-old Fister is just 3-12 in 21 starts this year for the Mariners, but that has more to do with Seattle's woeful offense. His ERA is 3.33, and his 1.17 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is less than that of Tim Lincecum, C.J. Wilson, Felix Hernandez and Jon Lester, among others.

The Tigers scouted each of Fister's last two starts, including when he allowed just three runs in seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night. In Fister's five starts this month, the Mariners have scored just three runs total while he was in the game.

Fister makes just $436,500, and came into this season with just over one year of major-league service time, so he won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season.

The 28-year-old Pauley has a 2.15 ERA in 39 appearances for the Mariners this year.






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