Doug Fister

Tigers may be underwhelmed by Doug Fister, David Pauley

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The Tigers tried this on deadline day two years ago when they sent two youngsters to Seattle for Jarrod Washburn.  At the time, Washburn had a 2.64 ERA and a 79/33 K/BB ratio in 133 innings for the Mariners.

As it turned out, Washburn was a major bust in Detroit, going 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA in eight starts.  Knee problems had something to do with his struggles, but exiting Safeco Field also played a big role.

Now the Tigers are hoping a pitcher with a 3.33 ERA and a 89/32 K/BB ratio in 146 innings for Seattle can make a difference for them.  They sent left-hander Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells, third baseman Francisco Martinez and a player to be named to the Mariners for right-handers Doug Fister and David Pauley on Saturday.

It wasn’t necessarily a huge price to pay.  And, for what it’s worth, neither of the prospects the Tigers gave up two years ago, left-handers Luke French and Mauricio Robles, have helped Seattle a bit.

Furbush, 25, will be looked at as the key piece for Seattle.  The 2007 fourth-round pick made his major league debut earlier this season and did an excellent job out of the pen before flopping in a pair of starts.  He throws in the low-90s and has a nice curve.  He’s probably a long-term fourth or fifth starter, but Seattle could make him look better than that.

Wells, 26, wasn’t getting a chance to be more than a bit player in Detroit, but he had a fine .286/.341/.490 line in 206 at-bats since arriving last year.  He probably won’t be good enough against right-handers to cut it as a full-timer, but he makes for an excellent fourth outfielder and the Mariners should give him quite a bit of time in left field right away.

Martinez is a wild card.  The 20-year-old just played for the World squad in the Futures Game a couple of weeks ago, but he’s a career .277/.329/.361 hitter with 13 homers in 1,108 minor league at-bats.  His stock is definitely up this year, as he’s more than held his own by hitting .282/.319/.405 as one of the youngest position players in Double-A.  However, his plate disclipline leaves much to be desired.

The Tigers are banking on Fister and Pauley upgrading a Tigers pitching staff that ranks 11th in the AL in ERA.  And they probably will.  The Tigers had gotten a terrible run of outings from their fifth starters since Phil Coke got hurt in late May.  Fister owes a lot to Safeco Field and Franklin Gutierrez, but he did have a 3.71 ERA in 10 road starts this season.  For his career, he had a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts away outside of Seattle.

I doubt Fister will post a sub-4.00 ERA as a Tiger, but if he can just go out there and give up three runs over six innings, then he’ll be doing his job.

Pauley isn’t likely to be much of an asset.  The journeyman right-hander had an awesome run at the beginning of the season, allowing three runs in 32 1/3 innings through the end of May.   However, he has a 4.09 ERA and a 14/11 K/BB ratio in 22 innings since.  He also had a 0.67 ERA at Safeco for the season, compared to a 3.62 ERA elsewhere.  He may work as an innings-eating middle reliever for the Tigers, but he shouldn’t be entrusted with late leads.

It is worth noting here that the trade wasn’t made with only 2011 in mind.  Fister isn’t even eligible for arbitration until after next year, and he won’t be a free agent until after the 2015 season.  Pauley, likewise, will make barely more than the minimum next season.

And that drove up the price for the Tigers.  Still, the team was able to keep Andy Oliver out of the deal and give up Furbush instead.  I think Oliver is the better of the two young lefties, and I’m surprised the Mariners didn’t insist on him.

So, it looks to me to be a decent trade for both sides.  The Tigers didn’t get a real difference maker, but they also probably didn’t part with one.  Detroit added some stability, and the Mariners won out on talent.  Furbush could approximate Fister’s results next year, Wells will be a fine role player and Martinez has some chance of becoming a long-term major league third baseman.

Video: Adrian Beltre belts a walk-off home run on Monday against the Athletics

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 25:  The Texas Rangers celebrate the two-run walk off homerun by Adrian Beltre #29 against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Rangers found themselves in a 5-1 hole after three innings against the Athletics on Monday, but scratched out some runs in the middle innings. That allowed them to enter the bottom of the ninth inning trailing by only one run, 6-5, facing A’s closer Ryan Madson.

Adrian Beltre, who hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, stepped to the plate with a runner on first base and two outs. He was the Rangers’ last hope to keep the game alive. The veteran third baseman swung at Madson’s first pitch, a 96 MPH fastball, and drilled it to left-center field for a walk-off two-run home run.

Beltre now has nine walk-off home runs in his career. While the 37-year-old isn’t quite the offensive dynamo he was even two years ago, his numbers are still respectable. He’ll head into Tuesday’s action batting .281/.334/.468 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI in 392 plate appearances.

Jay Bruce: “This is such a fleeting game. It’s so unforgiving.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 25:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds swings and watches the flight of his ball as he hits a two-run homer against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the fourth inning at AT&T Park on July 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Outfielder Jay Bruce was the catalyst in the Reds’ 7-5 victory over the Giants on Monday night, drilling a pair of two-run home runs. It’s good timing for the Reds, as the trade deadline is six days away. The Reds might prefer to get a prospect or two for Bruce rather than pick up his $13 million club option for 2017 or buy him out for $1 million and let him walk into free agency.

It was only a year ago that it seemed like the Reds would have to settle for next-to-nothing to get rid of Bruce. He posted career-lows across the board in 2014, including a .654 OPS and 18 home runs. He improved last season, returning to 26 home runs, but came with an uninspiring .729 OPS.

This year is another story. Bruce is currently hitting .272/.326/.564 with 23 home runs and a league-best 77 RBI. He’s on pace to set career-bests in a lot of categories if he’s able to stay healthy.

Bruce was honest about his resurgence, though, admitting that he doesn’t know why he’s so much better this year as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

This is such a fleeting game. It’s so unforgiving. You’re never settled. You’ve never got it. You’ve never figured it out. It’s like a puzzle that never has all the pieces to it. You might get close and feel pretty good about your progress, but you never are going to have the puzzle put together.

Bruce, who welcomed a child into the world back in April, also discussed the difficulties of hearing his name bandied about in trade rumors once again.

It’s harder this year. I have a family I have to focus on now. Logistically, it’s much more intricate. I know the skit. I know how it goes. But it will be nice when it’s passed because we’ll have a plan of attack on whether my family is staying where they are in Cincinnati or elsewhere.

This is a point of view that is not often covered. This time of the year can be very difficult for players who may be traded, as they await a phone call that could send their lives into upheaval. It may mean being away from their families for three months. It means living out of a hotel room or finding a place to live on very short notice. Even Bruce’s comments about his success this year are illuminating about the mental strain of the game.

As usual, great reporting by Buchanan. His full article is worth your time.