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.