'He nicely served his purpose:' Tigers trade pitcher Mike Fiers to A's

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Mike Fiers

Detroit — The only downside for Mike Fiers was that he was informed about the trade after he'd flown to Anaheim, from Oakland, Sunday night.

"It's good for Fiers," said Tigers general manager Al Avila, who on Monday traded Fiers to the Athletics for two players to be named later, or cash. "And we’re going to end up with a couple of guys who could help us down the road. If we didn’t think so, we wouldn’t have done the deal.

"At the end of the day, he nicely served his purpose for us in 2018, and then we were able to make a decent trade, and everything worked out as it should have."

Fiers, 33, had been one of the Tigers most consistent starting pitchers, going 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA. In his last 12 starts, he was 3-3 with a 2.51 ERA.

"He's excited to go to a team that has a chance to be in the playoffs, and he's excited about pitching in the playoffs," Avila said. "It's a dream come true for him and he's happy about that."

The A’s were among the few teams that inquired about Fiers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Fiers was subsequently put on waivers and claimed by the A’s.

"At the time, we weren't that comfortable with what the return was," Avila said, explaining why they were able to work out a deal after the non-waiver deadline and not before. "This time around, there is a second player involved. It gives us two chances to get it right.

"Out of the short list we have agreed on, we feel like we will be happy with the return."

After the A's claimed Fiers off of waivers, the Tigers and A’s had 48 hours to work out a deal, which was at 1:30 p.m. Monday. The deal, Avila said, was made at 1:28 p.m. The Tigers will spend some time scouting and evaluating players on a short list of prospects they agreed to with the A's and ultimately select two players to complete the deal.

"You are looking at players who are young enough where they still have upside, so you feel like you are getting something in return," Avila said. "A player you feel still has a chance to get to the big leagues."

As for the cash considerations, that's procedural and a safeguard in case of an injury or suspension to the players on the list.

To replace Fiers in the rotation, Avila said, the Tigers will purchase the contract of right-hander Jacob Turner from Triple-A Toledo. Turner, who is 27, was the Tigers' first-round pick (ninth overall) in 2009. 

He was traded to the Marlins in the deal that brought Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. He bounced around — Nationals, Cubs, White Sox, back to Miami — and was released by the Marlins earlier this season and signed by the Tigers.

"He's getting another opportunity," Avila said. "He's only 27 years old and he still has good stuff. Hopefully we can get something out of him the rest of the way and he can kind of re-establish himself."

Turner was 2-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 starts with the Mud Hens. He gave up 10 runs in 5.2 innings with the Marlins earlier this season. Over parts of seven big-league seasons, he's 14-30 in 55 starts, with a 5.26 ERA and 1.53 WHIP.

"Our hope is that he sticks," Avila said. "He has experience. He's pitched in the big leagues. Obviously, he's had his ups and downs, but he's still young. He's young enough to where he still has time to figure stuff out.

"We hope he pans out and stays in our rotation. But he will be evaluated on a regular basis like everybody else."

Last winter, Avila signed pitchers Fiers and Francisco Liriano, as well as center fielder Leonys Martin, with a dual purpose: to contribute to and lead a young team through the first three months of the season, and then be flipped for prospects at the trade deadline.

The Tigers got the No. 8-rated prospect in the Indians system — shortstop Willi Castro — for Martin, and two players from the A's for Fiers. Avila is still hoping to move Liriano and possibly others this month.

"There's always opportunities in August," he said.  "There were a lot of players available who weren't traded at the trade deadline (July 31) — a lot of players, who are not going through trade waivers. So, I'd say there is a chance of a lot of guys getting claimed.

"And if guys clear, then you can negotiate with any club."




First pitch: 10:07 p.m., Tuesday

TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM

Scouting report:

LHP Andrew Heaney (6-7, 3.75), Angels: The Tigers scored five runs in five innings off him at Comerica Park on May 31, but the Angels are 4-2 in his last six starts. His ERA is 3.35, with 40 strikeouts and eight walks, and opponents are hitting just .205 off him in that span.

RHP Jacob Turner (0-0, 0.00), Tigers: This will be his first start for the Tigers since 2012, just before he was traded to Miami for Anibal Sanchez. He had gone 2-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Toledo. Since leaving the Tigers the first time, he’s pitched with Miami (two stints), the Nationals, Cubs and White Sox.


Henning: Kody Clemens looking like third-round steal for Tigers

McCosky: Ex-Tigers skipper Ausmus keeps eyes trained on next managing opportunity

Tigers minor-league report: Greiner could play his way into 2019 plans

Tigers try to stay positive as scoring slump deepens