As first reported by SB Nation's Chris Cotillo, the Detroit Tigers have traded starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals.The Nationals have confirmed the deal, giving the Tigers a package of three young, inexpensive players - switch-hitting infielder Steve Lombardozzi,left-handed reliever Ian Krol and minor-league left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray.
The Tigers have confirmed the trade via press release, adding a quote from GM Dave Dombrowski:
"Robbie is a premium pitching prospect, Ian adds a quality lefthanded young arm for the bullpen and Steve provides our ballclub with versatility in several roles as a switch-hitting utility-man. This affords us the opportunity to move the lefthanded arm of Drew Smyly into the starting rotation where we are confident he will do well. We would like to thank Doug for everything he has done for the Tigers organization. He is an exceptional player and individual and we wish him all the best going forward."
The Tigers on Steve Lombardozzi:
Lombardozzi, the 25-year-old switch-hitter, batted .259 (75x290) with 15 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 22 RBI in 118 games played in 2013. He saw action at second base (48 games), third base (four games) and left field (23 games) this season for the Nationals, compiling a .989 fielding percentage. He has hit .264 (186x705) with 32 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 50 RBI in 257 games over three seasons with the Nationals at the Major League level.
Left-handed reliever Krol, 22, made his Major League debut on June 5 with the Nationals after being acquired from Oakland before the start of the 2013 season. He appeared in 32 games for Washington during the 2013 season, posting a 2-1 record, 3.95 ERA (27.1IP/12ER) and 22 strikeouts. He appeared in 26 games between Double A Harrisburg and Triple A Syracuse, posting a 1-1 record, 1.21 ERA (29.2IP/4ER) and 36 strikeouts.
Ray, 22, split the season between Single A Potomac and Double A Harrisburg. He posted a 6-3 record, 3.11 ERA (84.0IP/29ER) and 100 strikeouts in 16 games started with Potomac. He started in 11 games for Harrisburg, posting a 5-2 record, 3.72 ERA (58.0IP/24ER) and 60 strikeouts. Originally drafted in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Nationals, he was rated as the #5 prospect in the Washington organization for 2014 by Baseball America.
The Tigers just got a lot younger and cheaper, though the return isn't impressive for a quality starting pitcher with a career 3.53 ERA. Dombrowski essentially dealt his number three starter for a switch-hitting utility man (career OPS of .639), a raw lefty reliever with LOOGY splits (In 27 1/3 innings, Krol has a.957 OPS versus right-handers) and a decent pitching prospect who is by no means a sure thing. Let's hope the Tigers are laying the groundwork for a big move and not just dumping salary. Right now, I'm not sure what to think. But what I am thinking isn't printable.
Drew Smyly long ready to step into the rotation, the Tigers have been rumored to have one of their starters in the trading block. Recent reports had the Tigers exploring their trade options, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Fister rumored to be available for the right price.
Fister's 14-9 record with 3.67 ERA and 159 strikeouts this past season got them the right price from the Nationals, though the price seems to be pennies on the dollar, trading prime rib for discount hamburger.
In a recent Detroit News column, our own Kurt Mensching made the case for Fister being the best bet to be moved thanks to his having two-years left on his current contract.
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.
If they did make a trade, the Tigers would almost certainly move Smyly to the rotation, all but assuring the team wouldn’t miss a beat as it continues to pursue a World Series title.
Solidly entrenched in the middle of the Tigers' rotation since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Francisco Martinez, Charlie Furbush, Chance Ruffin and Casper Wells at the 2011 non-waiver trade deadline, Fister ends his Tigers career with a 32-20 record and 3.29 ERA in 70 appearances, 68 of those starts.
In Washington, Fister joins Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and Ross Detwiler in what should be one of the National League's top rotations.
We'll continue to update this post as we learn more.