Pitcher Charlie Furbush and outfielder Casper Wells will join the Mariners on Sunday. Third baseman Francisco Martinez will head to Class AA Jackson. A player to be named rounds out the trade.
When the Mariners pulled the trigger on a six-player deal with the Detroit Tigers the day before the trade deadline, the goal was to improve the team both “now and in the future.”
General manager Jack Zduriencik said he saw an opportunity to stockpile a group of young players signed to longer contracts, so Saturday the Mariners sent starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley to the Tigers for pitcher Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells, third baseman Francisco Martinez and a player to be named.
“In this deal what we did is we acquired players that we’re going to have for a long time,” Zduriencik said. “When you start looking at controlling younger players for five or six years, that’s pretty good. That’s something that we said; we wanted to accumulate talent and try to stockpile players who will be here for a long time, players that fit needs that we have.”
Furbush and Wells are headed straight to Seattle and will be in uniform Sunday, while Martinez will report to Class AA Jackson. The Mariners will spend the next three weeks evaluating a pool of three players before deciding which one completes the deal. Zduriencik wouldn’t release the names of those players, but said they are all in the minor leagues, and he described the pool as “significant.”
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“The group of players we can select from, we like all of them,” Zduriencik said. “We think that, when we narrow it down to the exact guy we want, this is going to be a good player. That was an important part of this deal.”
Wells, 26, played in 64 games with the Tigers this season, hitting .257 with 10 doubles and four home runs. Both Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge said Wells would get considerable playing time as the team spends the rest of the season evaluating the young players on the roster.
“We’ve got a guy that has extra-base power,” Zduriencik said. “I think, if you look at his numbers, you’ll see that he can grab the baseball. He’s athletic. He can play all three spots, and I think it helps our manager manage this lineup a little bit.”
Furbush, a 25-year-old left-hander, is 1-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 17 appearances (two starts) for Detroit.
“We’d like to see him as a starter, but there’s also the chance that we might have him in the bullpen, too,” Wedge said.
Martinez was rated as the No. 4 prospect in the Tigers’ system by Baseball America. The 20-year-old was hitting .282 with four doubles, seven home runs and 46 RBI in 91 games with Class AA Erie.
“He’s a kid that’s going to continue to grow, continue to mature, a very athletic kid with a very nice frame,” Zduriencik said.
The last time the Mariners had a third baseman named Martinez (Edgar), it worked out pretty well.
Zduriencik and Wedge both said it was difficult to move Fister and Pauley, two players who were well-liked in the clubhouse.
“I had a good talk with both Doug and David,” Wedge said. “I told them this is a great opportunity for you to go somewhere with a chance to help them win and win now. I told them I was proud of what they’ve done this year and how hard they’ve worked.”
The move does present Pauley and Fister with an opportunity to pitch for a first-place team.
“I’m excited for the new adventure, but I’m sad to leave this clubhouse,” said Fister, who was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 starts. “I’m sad to leave the Seattle Mariners. It’s been a great experience for me. The teammates that we have here are one in a million. The brotherhood, the camaraderie any team desires to have. That’s the hard part to leave.”
For the record: W-L: 45-61 W PCT: .425
AL West: 11-18
AL East: 13-17
AL Cent: 12-17
Extra inngs: 5-4
Saturday’s crowd: 24,985
Season total: 1,195,328
Biggest crowd: 45,727 (April 8)
Smallest crowd: 11,692 (May 31)
Average (51 dates): 23,438
2010 average (51 dates): 27,528