The trade front continues to grind slowly. News on Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez yesterday was, essentially, that Detroit is quite interested. But that doesn't mean much.
CBS Sports -- and former MLive Tigers beat writer -- reporter Danny Knobler noted on Twitter the Tigers are still keeping an eye on Doug Fister, Jason Vargas and Aaron Harang. Since I've already written about Harang, here's a quick sketch of Fister and Vargas.
Neither of them are all that exciting. Both benefit from the fact they play games in Seattle with a pretty nice defense behind them that will be absent in Detroit. Honestly both are pretty boring overall. But if they don't cost much, at least they are veterans. Of the two, Fister seems preferable.
Doug Fister (Fangraphs)
Fister is a super-sized righty, a 6-foot-8 27-year-old for the Seattle Mariners. He's sporting a 3.30 ERA this year and career ERA of 3.81. He doesn't strike out a lot of batters -- 5.44 K/9 or 14.6% K/PA. He doesn't walk many either, 2.0 BB/9 or 5.4% BB/PA. His strand rate is about normal. He is more of a ground ball pitcher, with 45% GB and 35% FB this year. His peripherals translate to both xFIP and SIERA of just under 4.00, so that's pretty good. He throws a fastball that averages the upper 80s, and his secondary pitches this year are all valued at average to slightly above.
Fister will not be eligible for arbitration until 2013, according to Cot's Contracts.
Jason Vargas (Fangraphs)
Vargas is a 28-year-old lefty, also for the Mariners. Vargas has an ERA of 4.09 this season. He doesn't strike out a lot (5.76 per nine innings, 15.2% K/PA rate), but doesn't walk a lot either (2.55, 6.7%). Generally, batters hit fly balls at a 45% rate and ground balls at 35% rate. Given Detroit's infield defense, that's probably a pretty good ratio to have if he were acquired. Vargas' fastball is even slower than Fister's -- averages 87.4 mph -- but his secondary pitches are all valued above average.
Peripherals that indicate he could end up closer to the 4.29 by the end of the year. And he is probably helped by his home ballpark and team defense -- teams have 50 points of slugging average better against him on the road this year and had 70 points last year -- so that might be on the low side if he were in Detroit.
Vargas will remain under club control in 2012, but will be arbitration eligible for the second time.