If there was one thing that was certain heading into this offseason, it was that the Washington Nationals would make at least one splash in the trade market, as far as their rotation is concerned. Wanting to add an impact arm, the Nats had been in the mix for a couple of notable names, the most prominent of which was Jeff Samardzija.
On Monday night, the Nats pulled the trigger on such a trade, but it wasn’t Shark or a high profile name. It was Detroit Tigers hurler Doug Fister, one of the most underrated arms in the game. The return going back to the Nats, however, remains to be seen. Names that had been floating out there included utility man Steve Lombardozzi and prospect Robbie Ray.
Should that be the case, and at least one of those names is involved, it would be a heck of a get for the Nationals, and very likely a steal. Fister has trudged through the American League completely under the radar throughout his career, whether it was with the Seattle Mariners or the Tigers, who acquired him during the 2011 season.
In 2013, Doug Fister pitched to a 3.67 ERA and a 3.26 FIP for the Tigers, tossing over 200 innings for just the second time in his career. His ERA+ in two and a half seasons with the Tigers was a very good 128. Though his stuff isn’t overpowering, he doesn’t walk many batters, as he’s averaged just 44 walks per 162 games over the course of his career. Not to mention the fact that he’s under team control until 2016.
If the Nationals are able to get Fister for the likes of Lombardozzi and Ray, perhaps with additional throw-in prospects, this has to be looked at as a steal for them. On the flip side, for Detroit, it means that neither Rick Porcello, nor Max Scherzer, are going anywhere, though the latter was probably already a lock to stay following the Prince Fielder trade that freed up some cash.
This is a deal that should work out for both sides, though if it is Lombardozzi and Ray, one would have to imagine that the Nats got the better end of this one. Nonetheless, the Tigers don’t flash many glaring weaknesses on their roster, if any. Having a guy like Lombardozzi in the mix is an asset, and Ray is the fifth ranked player, and third ranked pitcher, in the Nationals’ system. It’ll be interesting to see if those two are, in fact, the big names involved in the deal.