The six-player trade the Seattle Mariners completed with the Detroit Tigers today is probably best explained as - f rom Seattle's point of view - grabbing prospects for down the line.
The Tigers took right-hander Doug Fister and Doug Pauley, two men who were a big part of the strength of this team. In return, they got a middle-reliever/starting pitcher in left-hander Charlie Furbush and Detroit's fourth outfielder, right-handed hitter Casper Wells, who will join the Mariners tomorrow.
The key to the deal for Seattle? Third baseman Franicsco Martinez, a 20-year-old in Class AA, and a minor league player to be named later - one of three GM Jack Zduriencik will select in the next few weeks.
"The player to be named is not a throw-in in this deal," Zduriencik said. "We feel he'll be a contributor at the big-league level."
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Martinez is batting .282 this season with 14 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 46 RBI in 91 games - and hit .306 in his last 71 games. A Venezuelan, Martinez played in the 2011 Futures Game earlier this month.
Fister, 27, said today he was 'excited at the chance to help a team get tot he playoffs and beyond,' and almost certainly is pleased that the Tigers offense is far more consistent that Seattle's. Sporting a 3-12 record despite a 3.33 earned run average, Fister's 1.97 run support is the worst in the majors. Not the most gifted member of Seattle's rotation, Fister proved himself a smart, tough competitor who pilede up quality starts.
Pauley, 28, has had a breakthrough year out of the bullpen, going 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA. An emotional man, Pauley cried this morning when Mariners teammates surrounded him in the clubhouse.
"I don't know that I've ever been on a team that traded two guys so much a part of the team," veteran Adam Kennedy said. "It's a tough time of year, but I hope both of them get into the post-season."
Zduriencik indicated Furbush would start in Seattle, although manager Eric Wedge seemed more committed to letting the lefty stay in the bullpen for now. In two starts, Furbush was 0-2 in Detroit. In 15 relief appearances, he posted a 2.13 ERA.
Wells, 26, is a right-handed bat who will apparently take at-bats and playing time from Greg Halman, who's had only 83 at-bat this year with the Mariners and batted .241 in them.
And, if Martinez is Seattle's third baseman of the future, what happens to Matt Mangini and Alex Liddi, each having solid seasons with the Tacoma Rainiers?
And, just to add to the day, the Mariners brought right-hander Dan Cortes up from Tacoma today, and sent lefty Aaron Laffey down. Seattle will play the Tampa Bay Rays today with a 23-man roster.
So, what do you think?