Fish Hook Robertson, Lame Puns Ahoy

Earlier today, the Detroit Tigers traded Nate Robertson to the Florida Marlins for minor leaguer Jay Voss. The move is essentially a body dump for the Tigers, since they’ll be paying for 96% of his 2010 salary. That means, the Marlins are getting Robertson for what equates to a league minimum salary and a future lefty specialist.

Not long ago, Robertson was viewed as an important, irreplaceable part of the Tigers’ future. Injuries have since led to this. The Wichita State alum was drafted in the fifth round of the 1999 draft by the Marlins, and later traded to the Tigers prior to the 2003 season for Mark Redman. Redman and the Marlins’ rotation of Method Men combined to lead them to a World Series title. Robertson would have his own high moments years later. How high? Well, he helped the Tigers ascend the ranks and reach a World Series of their own.

Robertson is a southpaw and a 32-year-old one at that. He only started six games for the Tigers last season, but before that had a run of five straight seasons of at least 150 innings which mostly encompasses his career. Such a run of success convinced the Tigers to ink him to an extension worth $21.25M over three years, of which he enters the final season.

Robertson’s career xFIP to date is 4.42, while his regular FIP is 4.74. The 1,000+ inning sample size in a favorable pitching park suggests Robertson’s issues with the long ball might be traced to his struggles with right-handed batters more so than a run of bad luck. Observe his career splits:

Versus lefties: 1,113 TBF, 18.6% SO, 5.3% uBB, 3.34 FIP
Versus righties: 3,491 TBF, 14.5% SO, 8.6% uBB, 5.21 FIP

Odds are Robertson would make a killer reliever against lefties, but the Marlins – excuse me, the Tigers – are paying him to start, so start he will. CHONE projects him at a 4.81 FIP and ZiPS at 4.97. Bump those down a little since he is transitioning to the National League, and maybe, just maybe, he can luck into a 2 win season for the Fish.

As I’ve discussed before though, I fully expect the Marlins to have Robertson lead the league in ERA through July 31st, promptly flip him for something useful, and then watch as he explodes for his new team. There’s magic in them there waters and Robertson has the eyewear to dive right in.



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Michael
Member
6 years 3 months ago

Eyewear rocks.

I don’t think the Fish will flip him unless they’re out of contention, so let’s not count that magic in yet. In fact, the last player the Marlins acquired in the offseason then flipped at the following deadline is ironically Hee-Seop Choi. We may have magic, but we usually keep it until end of year, don’t offer it arbitration, and lose it for nothing. It can’t all be awesome front office moves in Florida.

gnomez
Guest
gnomez
6 years 3 months ago

If Bobby Seay is indeed out for the year, I could see Gum Time making a return to Motown at the deadline as LS once he peters out in the Florida rotation.

Mike Rogers
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I’m sick of this ‘process’ in Detroit. Dontrelle Willis sticks around because of a shiny 1.20 spring ERA and $2 million more than Nate Rob makes in 2010 (both in the last year of their deals).

Don’t understand it. Another in a nice string of moves that I just don’t get.

Michael
Member
6 years 3 months ago

Isn’t Dave Dombrowski awesome, Mike? Glad he’s not running my team anymore.

Matt C
Guest
Matt C
6 years 3 months ago

I love how after he trades Nate and names Dontrelle a starter he goes out and implodes and goes back to his usual self. All you had to do is look at his perepherals in Spring training and realize that his 1.2 something ERA was a fluke. He wasn’t pitching any better he was just fortunate that all his baserunners weren’t scoring. I especially loved how Dombrowksi was quoted as saying something like “I spoke to an NL executive and he said this is the best Willis has looked in years.”lol I wonder if that executive was somebody from the Marlins organization?

Seriously how many times is he going to get burned by Willis? I’m sorry but the guy is a lost cause, even though I wouldn’t expect much from Robertson in the rotation I have a little more faith in him. Atleast he may give you a chance to win some games as a 5th starter, which is really all you can expect. Willis on the other hand doesn’t. Terrible move.

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir
6 years 3 months ago

In all fairness, I’m not sure they could have gotten an ice cream sandwich for Willis, while Robertson at least brought something back.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 3 months ago

Lol @ ice cream sandwhich. I could really go for one now.

Larry Smith Jr.
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I’m completely with you Mike on this one. Willis is soon to be exposed as a fraud and a (potentially) useful player in Robertson is jettisoned.

Byron
Guest
Byron
6 years 3 months ago

Don’t they HAVE to see something in Voss to trade Robertson for a tiny amount of salary relief? I mean, they could be wrong in their evaluation, but I can’t imagine they’d want so badly to save $400,000 that they’d dispose of a somewhat useful player for one they expect to be useless.

brett
Guest
brett
6 years 3 months ago

C’mon guys. It’s not like the Tigers did anything absurd here. They had to make a choice between two starters for one roster spot. They chose one and traded the other for the best they could get. Pretty standard procedure.

Those of you hating on Willis might want to wait at least a month to see what happens. This is the same team that was so down on him during the past two seasons that they (arguably) made up an injury just to get him out of the picture. If they’re willing to suddenly guarantee him a starting spot, he’s probably doing something right. If it doesn’t work out, whatever. Hand the job to Bonine for a while. I’m curious to see what caused the sudden change of heart.

Final note: It’s quite possible that the signings of Valverde and Damon were at the expense of their 2010 draft budget. $400,000 can probably grab them a second piece with as much potential as Jay Voss, so why not?

Robertson did terrible in the bullpen last year (small sample size, i know) and they have enough lefty relievers as is (Ni, Coke, Seay on the DL, Schlereth waiting in the wings).

BX
Guest
BX
6 years 3 months ago

This is the same team that was so down on him during the past two seasons that they (arguably) made up an injury just to get him out of the picture. If they’re willing to suddenly guarantee him a starting spot, he’s probably doing something right.

If you believe Dombrowski, its because of his ST stats. (3.26 ERA, 12 BB (!!!) 13 K in 19 IP)

The argument to put the D-Wreck in the rotation and trade Robertson revolves around ST stats… the same ST stats where he put up 12 BB and 13 K in 19 IP….

He’s inevitably out in less than a month.

brett
Guest
brett
6 years 3 months ago

Woah, that last paragraph wasn’t supposed to be there but it’s also true. If i had to guess, that’s why they didn’t stick him in the bulpen and try to trade him later (that, and he probably didn’t want to). From what I gather, Nate’s a fantastic guy and deserves a chance to rebuild his career.

JayCee
Guest
JayCee
6 years 3 months ago

Mariners released Ryan Garko.

Since the Fangraphs consensus is Garko is one of the 20 best 1B in all of baseball (stats don’t lie- I remember all of the spin when the Giants released him) I’m guessing the computers are in melt-down mode about now.

Reuben
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

the main complaint about the giants non tendering garko was why did the giants trade one of their top prospects for someone they employed for about 2 months

Richie Abernathy
Guest
Richie Abernathy
6 years 3 months ago

Exactly, Jackass. (to JayCee)

BX
Guest
BX
6 years 3 months ago

Basic math:

Scott Barnes > Ryan Garko

Garko at 500K > Huff at 3MM

Giants lose twice. You fail.

TJ
Guest
TJ
6 years 3 months ago

I know spring training doesn’t mean much, if anything. But man I would much rather have the guy with this stat line; ERA 3.66 IP 19.2 H 18 ER 8 HR 2 BB 7 K 19. Than this ERA 3.26 IP 19.1 H 16 ER 7 HR 0 BB 12 K 13. Pack that suspicious K:BB rate in with some mental disorder, I don’t know what I can predict for him but it won’t be good.

odbsol
Guest
odbsol
6 years 3 months ago

Wu-Tang Financial. Diversify your portfolio, bitch.

Matt C
Guest
Matt C
6 years 3 months ago

And right on cue, yesterday in Robertson’s first start for the Marlins he went 7 and only gave up 2 hits, 1 walk with 6K’s against STL with Pujols, Holliday and Rasmus in the lineup. I don’t care if it is only Spring Training he hadn’t had a start like that for the Tigers in 3 years. It’s too bad Dombrowski didn’t wait a few days to pull the trigger cause if he would’ve seen Willis implode the other day and Robertson throw a start like this maybe he wouldn’t have done the trade to begin with.

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