OT: Maybe this explains the Fister trade

Submitted by ChalmersE on March 7th, 2014 at 11:02 AM


Doug Fister was scratched from Friday's appearance due to inflammation in his pitching elbow.

There's always concern when the elbow is involved, but Nationals manager Matt Williams said that Fister has already had an MRI, which came back clean. At this point, there's isn't any worry on the Nats' part, but we'll have to see how the righty progresses. Fister will be shut down for a few days before being re-evaluated.


Come On Down

March 7th, 2014 at 11:05 AM ^

I think the Fister trade was all about freeing up money to sign Scherzer. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think players have to take a physical before they are traded, so I doubt the Nationals would have taken him knowing that there was some sort of issue.


March 7th, 2014 at 2:08 PM ^

This is correct. 

Doug Fister will actually make LESS than Rick Porcello this year, which means if this trade was about saving money, Rick would have been the better option to dump.

Dombrowski felt the need to trade a starter to get Smyly into the rotation. He wasn't trading Verlander or Scherzer, so it was down to Porcello or Fister. 

Porcello wasn't going to get him anything he wanted (although he should, he's underrated), so he shopped Fister. He offered around looking for only a SP, he had his list, and the only one he could get was Robbie Ray. 

Was this a good trade on paper? No way. Fister is also underrated and should be worth more than a utility man, a LOOGY and a prospect not too many people are that high on, but either Dombrowski felt this was a good deal (he loves him some Robbie Ray) or he felt this was the best return he could get for either Porcello or Fister (which would probably not be true if he did not limit himself to only getting a SP in return). 

I really like Dombrowski, but unless Robbie Ray turns out to be a stud or Fister starts to suck (which I don't think this injury has any indications of), then this is not one of his better moves.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:07 AM ^

but right now I am curious to see what the Tigers are going to do about the situation in LF. Davis, Kelly and whoever else they have on the roster slotted for LF are for the most part utility players, and have glaring holes in their game...


March 7th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

I can live with a platoon of Kelly and Davis if that's what we're stuck with.  If they can provide solid D and hit .250 between them, that should be enough in our division.  I wish Tuiasosopo was still here to be in the mix in LF.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:10 AM ^

Just because Fister passed his physical doesn't mean Dombrowski didn't know something.  I'm not saying he knew he was hurt because that would be dirty pool, but it is possible that Fister battled undisclosed injuries all season last year and Dombrowski was really concerned with his durability going forward.  Or not--but it would be about the only thing that makes the deal make any sense at all.

the fume

March 7th, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

The Tigers seem to strongly value durability with their SP. I think it was a strong part of why the great Jair Jurrjens was traded, and while Fister didn't have any obvious injury concerns, he seemed to profile as the most likely of the 5 in the 13 rotation to have issues, with the velocity concerns and the others being more power body types.

Phil Brickma

March 7th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

I highly doubt DD knew about a potential injury. No one likes the trade (except the Nats and the AL Central) but the big picture says the Tigers wanted Smyly in the rotation. Either Fister or Porcello were going to be moved and Ricky wouldn't fetch nearly as much as Doug. Ricky also is younger and cheaper.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:35 AM ^

JV, Sanchez and Max are all either locked in or we're planning to lock them in and all high dollar.  Either Porcello or Fister were gonna go based on overall cost of the pitching staff in '15 and '16.  We have an inexpensive lefty ready to assume a spot in the rotation (and break up the all righty staff), and Fister was a good piece in terms of trade value.  We could have gotten much bigger name(s), but that also would have meant big name pay.  I really like Fister, but you can't keep everyone.


March 7th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

People bash Porcello because he was rushed up here so young and they were told he was the next Ace, while that will never be the case Rick really had a mini breakout last year.


  • He improved his K/9 to 7.22
  • BB/9 down slightly to 2.14
  • Most importantly his FIP(3.53) and xFIP(3.19) outperformed his below average 4.32 ERA, so adjusting this with the Tigers emphasis on defense this year and you have a sub 3.50 ERA 4th starter....quite a nice situation to have.

Mainly what I'm getting at is that Porcello is still improving and hasn't yet reached his ceiling.


Tommy Want Wingy

March 7th, 2014 at 11:21 AM ^

I would have actually preferred to trade Scherzer. Not that I think Fister is better than Scherzer, but I think last season is Max's ceiling, and might have been a benefit of the run support he got. I love Max, but his next contract is gonna be massive (probably too big), and pitchers are always a huge risk when you sign them to a long term deal. I get that we are playing for a World Series now, but Max could have pulled a huge return in assets, and a rotation of JV, Sanchez, Fister, Porcello, Smyly is still pretty damn good.

Tommy Want Wingy

March 7th, 2014 at 11:56 AM ^

The point was, I'm not sure if its a sustainable effort from him. You don't get almost 6 runs per 9 from your offense very often. In my opinion it would have been a better move to trade him while his value is at its peak, collect some A+ prospects, and avoid a situation where you have 60 million in payroll tied to 3 starting pitchers. Thats not even getting into the fact that Miggy is up for a raise very soon.


March 7th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

You're suggesting that Max's wins were primarily due to offensive run support.  While his pitching stats suggest otherwise for sake of argument let us suppose it true.  Are you then suggesting that people from other teams couldn't come to the same conclusion as you, that they would be dazzled by the Ws and the Cy Young?  

In other words, if Max hit his ceiling last year, and that ceiling wasn't achieved through his abilities, why would Max have greater trade value than anybody else?

Tommy Want Wingy

March 7th, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

Not sure where I said his wins were primarily a result of his run support, but it does play into it. He put together a career year in ERA, WHIP, and K's. Combine everything together and you get a 21-3 record. Not sure why its unreasonable to question whether its a aberration before shelling out 23 million a season, on the conservative side. You better be sure before you give a pitcher the kind of term Max is gonna be looking for, because more often than not, they end up being an albatross on the team's payroll. All I said was that I thought it was the smarter move to let someone else take the risk of paying him top dollar at age 30 when the Tigers had the ability to throw out a top 5 rotation without him.

Tommy Want Wingy

March 7th, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

The fact is, in a couple years the Tigers could be in a very tough spot, payroll wise. The farm system is not exactly stocked with young talent. Max, JV, Annibal, and Miggy could take up to 100 million dollars in payroll, which makes it increasing difficult to field a competitive 25 man roster. Max is a hell of a pitcher, but I'm not convinced he is worth top 10 pitcher money after one dominant year.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:21 AM ^

I think DD didn't know about it, but the trade was an effort to make sure they held on to Max.  Between him and the up-and-coming younger guys, this was the right move and since Fister pitched well since joining the Tigers (and why we all loved him in the rotation) is why they were able to help themselves out in the trade.

To address the comment about LF, my opinion only, there had to be a trade off somewhere.  Its been said that the team has gotten stronger defensively and has gotten faster, which adds a dimension to the offense that hasn't been there in a long time.  I think they can sacrifice another big bat to have a good defensive left fielder in Kelly, imo.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

I understood trading Fister, even though I liked him a lot. But I still am of the opinion that we could have gotten back a much better package than we did for him, including prospects if we wanted to keep payroll low.


March 7th, 2014 at 3:32 PM ^

Just his motivation. If this was the best deal out there for Fister he should not have taken it.

1. It hurts the Tigers for this year. People above are hoping that our projected improvement in infield defense will buoy Porcello - Fister is even more of a groudballer, and doesn't have the issues with opposite handed guys that Porcello has. Making every lefty you face look like David Ortiz isn't getting any better with Kinsler playing 2B. Fister will be better than Porcello, Smyly and Ray - possibly better than all of them together.

2. Pitchers get hurt. That is the biggest reason why giving them extensions is a very risky move, and trading a cheap, effective starter to get bucks to sign an expensive, elite starter is not something I can get behind. Sure Fister could get hurt, but it's more likely that one of Porcello/Smyly/Scherzer does and we have to turn to the scrap heap instead of someone like Smyly.

3. Ray's future upside barely equals Fister's present value, and will likely be worse. There's a very real chance that the Tigers gave away Fister for nothing.

It's not a fatal error, but it doesn't make them better for this year and using the savings to extend Scherzer puts our eggs in an inherently flimsy basket. I like DD and applaud most of his moves, but I don't get this one and don't see a way we can reasonably break even, much less win.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:43 AM ^

Dombrowski has been around too long and has too good a reputation to sell damaged goods--particularly to the franchise that gave him his start.  Shit happens--particularly with pitchers.


March 7th, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

I didn't like the trade at first because like alot of people, I liked Fister and I liked his pitching style even though he wasn't the flamethrower like JV and Max.

But now I am much more concerned about Andy Dirk's injury and possible nagging shin issues with Jose Iglesias.

Jack Daniels

March 7th, 2014 at 12:22 PM ^

James Shields got back Wil Myers, and some other dudes I forgot (but Wil Myers!!!)

Doug Fister brought back Italian Don Kelly, Robby Ray, and Homophobic Obscure Reliever #1


March 7th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

James Shields was under control for 2 seasons, plus he has already proven to be a near ace and bonafide #2. That said the Royals overpaid big time, considering they also gave up their best pitching prosepct Jake Odorizzi, but they also must have thought that Wade Davis would give them more than he did. Hindsight's a bitch, especially in baseball.


March 7th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

Dombrowski probably just saw that Fister has maxed his potential...good pitcher, not over powering but will always have an ERA between 3 and 4 and keep you in the game.  He probably felt that he has a couple young guys who can step up in to that role just as well...and needed to free some money up too. 


March 7th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

I think the reason for the trade was that Dave D saw an opportunity to clear up some room to sign an elite closer, aquire a lefty pitching prospect they really liked, and aquire some serviceable pieces for a replaceable player. Seriously people, Dave D has been a GM for 30 years. He knows what he's doing.


March 7th, 2014 at 1:40 PM ^

WOTS is Fister wanted to sign with a west coast team after is contract is up. That may have played a role when picking who to trade.