Monday, December 02, 2013

Doug Fister Traded to Nationals

It's late, but I wanted to comment on the Doug Fister trade.  In return for Fister, the Tigers received utility man Steve Lombardozzi, left-handed reliever Ian Krol and left-handed starting pitching prospect Robbie Ray from the Washington Nationals. I need to digest this deal some more and get some feedback from prospect experts, but my initial impression is not a favorable one. 

The switch-hitting Lombardozzi played second base, third base and left field for the Nationals last year, but does not play shortstop.  His lifetime batting line of .264/.297/.342 in over 700 career at bats makes him look like a 25-year-old Don Kelly (who the Tigers signed to a one million dollar contract earlier today). 

The 22-year-old Krol had a 22/8 strikeout/walk ratio in 27 1/3 innings in 32 appearances in his rookie year with the Nationals.  I'm not seeing him ranked high at all on any prospect lists and he has gotten more publicity for off-the field incidents (alcohol-related issues in high school and racial slurs on social media).  He sounds like a LOOGY to me and Dave Dombrowski's track record with relievers is not as impressive as his trading record. 

The centerpiece of the deal is 23-year-old Robbie Ray, who posted a 3.36 ERA and 160/62 strikeout/walk ratio between Levels A and AA in 2013.  He was ranked only 18th in the Washington system by Baseball America prior to the season, but has moved way up the charts since then.  Jason Parks, a minor league analyst at Baseball Prospectus, says that Ray is now the top pitching prospect for the Tigers.  That's not saying much for the weak Detroit system, but it's encouraging.  I'm assuming the Tigers are very high on Ray, because I'm not seeing anything else positive about a deal where the Tigers lose arguably one of the thirty best pitchers in baseball. 

General Manager Dave Dombrowski did mention that this deal will give them the flexibility to make more moves.  After dropping the salaries of Fister and earlier Prince Fielder, I'm hoping the Tigers now have enough in their budget to add a good left fielder (assuming they go with Nick Castellanos at third base) and a new bullpen.

Still, it's hard to like the return they got in today's deal.  I've been told by a few people that I should trust Dombrowski because he never makes bad trades.  I'm going to need more convincing that that though.


  1. Well it's not supposed to be a good baseball trade on paper. It's all about dumping cash and to make up for it with the new players they give that cash to instead.

    If they continue to dump more cash, then they could potentially go for the Cano + Ellsbury combo. New reports say the Yankees won't touch $200MM total for him. The odds go up for Cano to be a Tiger when his price tag jumps down a whole $50MM every other week.

    I'm not so sure I'm liking Cano's choice to switch agents at this point. Maybe he shouldn't have pulled the last pitcher.

  2. A quote from this blog entry made the comment headlines here:

    That's what I said about the Fielder trade too. It's the same type of deal and all just part of DD's program to trip the books before fattening them back up. This is all he has done for 10 years, so I fail to understand why so many Tiger fans are confused by what is happening. We have been here and back over and over again during the last decade. Nothing has changed one iota.

  3. I think people see what's happening, but some think they didn't get enough back for Fister.

    1. Well I agree it was a poor individual trade. I suggested that they would package him with AJ and do something a little grander to get a specific target, so they are doing that in a way. Joe Nathan was partly a target, and they needed some dollars freed to lessen that blow. And the next few moves will fill out the rest of the plan.

      DD is looking primarily at the books for 2015-2020, and he's trying to crushingly erase every last dollar liability he possibly can, because he is going to load up with one major dollar player if not two from this point.

      That's why guys that are still candidates to be traded are anybody that currently makes or has potential to make more than $1MM a year. Put all of those names on a list and you have more trim candidates to help offset the 1 to new 2 big money players they get next.

      Ellsbury + Cano is the Grand Prize prediction
      E + Beltran/Choo/Granderson
      1 of any of the above plus a trade for one of the many OFs that could be traded.

      AJ and Kinsler are some of the names on that trim list that could still be shed. I wish they would shed Torii Hunter though. He could be in the mix too. I wouldn't be stunned to see them deal all 3 of those guys as well as even Dirks, that frees up room for the 2 new OFs plus the young prospects we have and Castellanos.

    2. Also it is kind of interesting to think about for fun that if they did get both Ellsbury and Cano, it is possible for both players to play more years and have more success with the Tigers. Maybe they could both be future DET HOFers! Although I don't think Ellsbury is as valuable as DD probably does.

      Same with Choo and Beltran, I'm not a fan of signing any of those FA OFs. They are all poor value moves like Joe Nathan.

    3. Looks like Ellsbury is going to the Yanks if the rumors hold true. That's a relief, one overpriced OF that will chew up some Yankee space. I can survive the night on that.



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