Remember Nate Robertson, the bespectacled southpaw who began his pitching career with the Marlins in 2002 before being traded to the Detroit Tigers? In that deal, the Marlins hooked a key contributor to their 2003 World Series run -- left-hander Mark Redman, a 14-game winner for them that season.
Today comes news that the Marlins re-acquired Robertson, landing him in a trade with Detroit for minor-league pitcher Jay Voss. The Tigers will absorb most of Robertson's $10 million salary.
Robertson gives the Marlins something they were lacking in their rotation -- a left-handed arm -- and brings veteran experience, something else they were short on. Robertson, 32, was an innings-eater for Detroit, giving them 196 innings in 2004, 196 in '05, 208 in '06, 177 in '07 and 168 in '08. He also made three postseason starts for the Tigers in 2006.
Robertson totaled just 49 innings last season with the Tigers and had surgery on his left arm in June. But Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, said the Marlins are convinced that Robertson is healthy after examining his medical records and watching him pitch this spring.
Robertson has appeared in six games this spring for the Tigers, three of them starts, and has gone 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA. He was battling for a spot in the rotation.
The trade changes the complexion of the Marlins' rotation and bullpen. Just when it appeared that Clay Hensley had earned the fifth spot in the rotation with an outstanding spring, he gets bounced to the bullpen by Robertson. Beinfest said Hensley "will make the team," likely as a long reliever. And with Hensley going to the pen, Rick VandenHurk and Tim Wood are probably headed for Triple A New Orleans. (In fact, they were optioned to New Orleans late Tuesday afternoon).