Tigers rumors: Detroit exploring possible trade of Doug Fister

Gregory Shamus

The Tigers are examining all their trade options in order to make room for Drew Smyly in the starting rotation.

Rumors continue to swirl around the Detroit Tigers and the possibility of GM Dave Dombrowski trading one of their core players, specifically out of their elite rotation. Over the past few days, there have been reports the Tigers are leaving no stone unturned, exploring their trade options in regard to Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and now, Doug Fister.

Via Twitter, Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reports the Tigers would like to shift lefty Drew Smyly back into the starting rotation. In order to do so, the team is looking at trade scenarios involving Fister, a 29-year-old, 6'8" right-hander who was 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA over 208 2/3 innings in 2013.

Kurt made similar arguments for exploring Fister trade options in his latest Detroit News column.

Most recent season: Scherzer had a 3.74 ERA in 2012 with a Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) figure of 3.23. (FIP is a stat based on what a pitcher is thought to control: strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed.) Fister in 2013 had an ERA of 3.67 and FIP of 3.26.

In other words, trading for Fister would give a team a veteran, playoff-tested starting pitcher who could help make a difference and is likely only getting better. All that and the team would get to keep him for two years while paying him in 2014 half of what Scherzer will earn.

The Tigers obviously know the downsides in trading the reigning AL Cy Young winner in Scherzer, not forgetting the fact his contract status (and being a client of uber-agent Scott Boras) makes him less attractive in a deal. Though he's arbitration eligible, Fister would offer a better return in trade than Porcello, who actually earns more, and is also arbitration eligible as a Super Two.

If there is going to be a trade this off season, it looking more and more like the Tigers will do so by dealing from their biggest strength, starting pitching.

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