The Tigers have traded Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for a utility man about as good as Ramon Santiago, a lefty reliever to replace Phil Coke, and a pitching prospect. This is quite probably the worst deal that Dave Dombrowski has made as general manager of the Tigers.
Fister is not just a good pitcher. He is one of the top ten to twenty pitchers in major league baseball over the past three seasons by several measures. According to Fangraphs.com Fister ranks ninth in MLB WAR over the past three seasons, 13th in FIP, and 20th in ERA. He also ranks 10th in BB rate and has the fourth lowest home run rate in baseball over that span.
In exchange, the Tigers get Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray, and Ian Krol. I'd rather have gotten Chance Ruffin, Charlie Furbush, and Casper Wells back!
Lombardozzi is a utility infielder who posted an OPS+ of just 69 last season, hitting .259 .278 .338 .616 in 307 plate appearances posting a WAR of negative 0.7. His isolated power was 0.79, yet he also had the lowest BB rate in the National league among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances.
Krol is a lefty reliever who should be better than Phil Coke, but does not begin to replace the work that Drew Smyly did in the bullpen last season. The 22 year old left hander threw 27.1 innings for the Nationals, posting a 3.95 ERA with a WHIP of 1.31, allowing 28 hits and striking out 22 batters.
Ray is apparently a key piece of this trade for the Tigers. Another 22 year old left handed pitcher, he made 27 starts, logging 142 innings in 2013 between double-A and triple-A, with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. I'll leave the scouting reports to others, but suffice it to say that most of the reports that I've read suggest that he has some work to do before he can be called up to the majors.He is ranked as the Nationals No 7 overall prospect.
In this package, the Tigers have not upgraded any part of the team. In fact, so far this off season, they have managed to downgrade the lineup as they've lost two of their three most productive hitters, downgrade their rotation losing Fister, downgrade the bullpen losing Benoit, Veras, and now Smyly, and even downgraded their bench with what will replace what they had.
This trade makes no sense. The Tigers will save some money in the deal. Maybe about $ 6.5 million worth of salary. But even still, it makes no sense to trade Doug Fister for so little in return.
The Rays got Wil Myers for James Shields. Ricky Nolasco got $ 49 million. Jason Vargas got $ 32 million. And the Tigers get this for Doug Fister?
Please don't say "calm down, Dombrowski knows what he's doing". He blew this one. No matter what he does with the savings from this trade, he made the team worse by quite a good margin. Even if salary needed to be cut, and even if the savings are wisely spent, the return for a pitcher as good as Doug Fister should have been much, much better than this.