Doug Fister's time in Detroit is over. The Tigers traded the 29-year old starting pitcher to the Washington Nationals on Monday night in exchange for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol, and Robbie Ray.. Fister, entering his second of three arbitration seasons, was projected to make $6.9 million in 2014 by MLBTR.
Fister was an unheralded stud in the Tigers' rotation over the past two and a half seasons. racking up 10.4 fWAR in 440 2/3 innings since Detroit acquired him from Seattle at the 2011 trade deadline. In 2013, he made 32 starts and threw 208 2/3 innings for the Tigers, striking out 159, walking just 44, and posting a 3.67 ERA.
He'll slide nicely into a Nationals rotation that has shuffled through veteran starting pitchers on one-year deals over the last two years. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, and Fister would give the Dodgers' rotation a run for their money as the best in the National League.
The return for the Tigers is, in a word, underwhelming. The 22-year old Ray is probably the best player in the trade, and he spent his 2013 split between High-A Potomac and AA Harrisburg, striking out 160 and walking 62 in 142 innings. Baseball America ranked Ray as the fifth-best prospect in Washington's system following the season. The 25-year old Lombardozzi hit .259/.278/.338 in 307 plate appearances in 2013 while primarily playing second base and left field. The 22-year old Krol had a 3.95 ERA in 27 1/3 major league innings last year, striking out 22 while walking eight and allowing a .298/.350/.607 line to right-handed hitters.
This is a complete steal for the Nationals. Fister has been one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball since arriving in Detroit, and if he's healthy, this trade look like a complete fleecing by Washington. I have no idea what the Tigers are doing with this, and their rotation is still in good shape with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez in the fold – but this return was hideous. It reminds me way too much of what the Phillies got from the Mariners four years ago in exchange for Cliff Lee.