The recent Tigers/Nationals trade has spawned questions about a “winner”.
The Tigers are at it again. Early in the evening Tuesday, Detroit shipped RHP Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals in exchange for utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi, minor league pitching prospect Robbie Ray, and left-handed reliever Ian Krol.
What this means for Detroit
Fister has been pitching like a stud since he made the move from Seattle to Detroit. Since he left the Mariners he has
a 32-20 record with a 3.29 ERA. He is not a strikeout pitcher, he has 353 in 440.2 innings with Detroit, but is a ground-ball machine. He was fourth in the Majors last season with a 53.4 percent ground ball rate, a stat that has increased every season in his career. So why make this deal?
Well, this gives talented left-hander Drew Smyly an opportunity to slide into the rotation. Coming out of the pen last year he threw 76 innings, had 81 strikeouts, a 2.37 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.039. Smyly was edged out by Rick Porcello for the fifth spot in the rotation last season. Ian Krol will take Smyly’s spot as the lefty specialist.
The signing of Lombardozzi allows Detroit to officially part ways with utility infielder Ramon Santiago. Santiago batted .224 in 80 games last season while Lombardozzi hit .259 in 118 games. The Tigers are getting younger at their utility role as Lombardozzi is nine years younger than Santiago.
What this means for Washington
The Nationals gave up youth to bolster their already talented starting rotation. Fister will be joining Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Ross Detwiler to form perhaps the top rotation in the National League. Fister is a definite upgrade from Dan Haren who left in free agency.
They gave up good young pitching in Krol and Ray but prove that they are ready to win now. Ray was ranked as the Nats’ third best pitcher in their farm system and is a young up and comer with a high ceiling. Krol is a proven lefty specialist after his performance out of the pen last season. He held lefties to a .200 AVG and a .320 slugging percentage.
So who wins?
This deal could go either way. Of course it is way too early to tell how this will work out for both teams, but the short-term winner has to be Washington. They addressed their immediate gap in their rotation with a quality starter.
Dave Dombrowski is revered as one of the best general managers in baseball and always seems to make the right deal. He may know something that we don’t about some of these guys and it may make sense for the Tigers to do this looking forward, but for now it seems that the Nats get the edge in this one.