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SEATTLE — Dave Dombrowski and the Detroit Tigers hope they've grabbed the pieces to round out a playoff pitching staff. The Seattle Mariners just keep searching for the right pieces in their rebuilding efforts.
The Mariners shipped right-handed starter Doug Fister and righty reliever David Pauley to the Tigers on Saturday morning for outfielder Casper Wells, infielder Francisco Martinez, left-hander Charlie Furbush and a player to be named later.
Both Fister and Pauley were packing their belongings into boxes in the Mariners clubhouse ahead of Seattle's game against Tampa Bay. Pauley was noticeably emotional about leaving Seattle but also realized the opportunity he was getting to pitch in a pennant race.
The Tigers started Saturday 2½ games ahead of Cleveland and three games up on Chicago in the AL Central.
"The acquisition cost for a starting pitcher is very high right now, as you can see from the trades being made around the majors. There were times where I didn't think we would get a trade made," Dombrowski said. "Seattle was looking for some offensive help, and they liked Casper Wells a great deal, and they also liked Charlie Furbush, so those were names that were in this early on. We've probably talked 25 times in the last week."
Fister is just 3-12 this season but it's a misleading statistic as he's received no run support all season from Seattle's anemic offense. Fister has the lowest run support of any pitcher in the American League at just 1.97 runs per game and has lost his last seven decisions spanning 10 starts. But in those 10 starts, Fister has a 3.42 ERA with a pair of complete game losses and has thrown at least six innings in each start.
"We've had several pitchers in the fifth spot, and we haven't been able to get any consistent performance. Phil Coke deserved better than his record, but I think things are going better with him in the bullpen," Dombrowski said.
"Fister doesn't have a great win-loss record, but that's misleading. He has the worst run support in the majors, and one of the best WHIPs. We definitely think that he makes us a better team, and that is important, because we feel like this is a team that can win something this season."
Pauley has been one of Seattle's top relievers and was surprised to be headed out of town just a day before the trade deadline. After missing out on a starting spot during spring training, Pauley accepted his bullpen role and is 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 39 appearances. He was originally intended to be a long reliever out of the pen, but instead became the Mariners main seventh and eighth inning bridge to closer Brandon League.
Furbush and Wells will join Seattle's 25-man roster and be active for Sunday's game against the Rays. Martinez will be assigned to Double-A Jackson.