The Florida Marlins acquired left-hander Nate Robertson from the Detroit Tigers for left-hander Jay Voss on Tuesday.
The trade enables Robertson to start with the Marlins and assures left-hander Dontrelle Willis a spot in the Detroit rotation. Robertson started six games and also spent time in the bullpen for the Tigers last season, finishing 2-3 with a 5.44 ERA in 28 appearances.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said Willis would take the No. 3 spot in the rotation. Leyland figured Robertson did not want to be a reliever with the Tigers.
“He probably would have not been a happy camper if it would have worked out that he was in the bullpen,” Leyland said. “He’s been nothing but a good soldier here over the years. We appreciate everything he’s done for us. I think this is a great opportunity for him and it unclogs the issue for us a little bit.”
Robertson joins a Florida rotation that includes right-handers Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad.
Right-hander Clay Hensley, who had been expected to join the Florida rotation after a strong spring, will instead likely pitch out of the bullpen.
Detroit is sending Florida cash as part of the deal for Robertson, who is owed $10 million this year in the final season of a $21.25 million, three-year deal. The Tigers will pay nearly all of his salary.
Robertson has a 51-69 record and 4.92 ERA in 202 games over eight big league seasons.
Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman will likely start the season in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system. The Reds signed Chapman to a six-year, $30.25 million deal in January. They gave him a chance to make the rotation as a fifth starter during spring training, but insisted they weren’t going to rush a player who was going through culture shock. … At age 47, Jamie Moyer has won the role as No. 5 starter for the Philadelphia Phillies. … Dodgers left-hander Eric Stults was scratched from his spring training start Tuesday amid reports his contract was being sold to a team in Japan. Stults was a candidate for Los Angeles’ fifth starter spot, but posted a 5.06 ERA in 5 innings in Arizona. … David Hernandez was named the fifth starter in the Baltimore Orioles’ rotation, a move that means 21-year-old Chris Tillman will be headed to the minor leagues. … The Chicago Cubs released Kevin Millar, giving their final roster spot to infielder Chad Tracy. The 38-year-old Millar hit .242 in 18 games this spring. … New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes played a minor league game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., his first action since being sidelined with a thyroid problem. Reyes went 1-for-5 with a double and played three innings in the field. … Milwaukee right-hander Jeff Suppan has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with neck pain retroactive to March 26. Suppan was in the mix for the fifth starting spot in the rotation or would be considered for long relief. … Hit by a pitch Monday, New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira underwent treatment for a bruised right elbow and expects to play again Thursday. … J.R. Towles has won the competition to be Houston’s everyday catcher and prospect Jason Castro has been reassigned to minor league camp.