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Monday, December 02, 2013

Nationals acquire Doug Fister

Bolstering their rotation and checking off one of their major offseason goals, the Nationals traded the Detroit Tigers for Doug Fister, according to several reports. It is not immediately clear what the Nationals sent Detroit in return.

 

Guapo Posted: December 02, 2013 at 09:24 PM | 309 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, tigers

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   1. Coot Veal and Cot Deal's cols=“100” rows=“20” Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4609126)
from the article...

The Washington Nationals have acquired starter Doug Fister from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Robbie Ray and Ian Krol, a source has confirmed. The deal has since been announced by the team.
   2. TerpNats Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4609127)
After 43 years and one franchise move, Washington has finally avenged Detroit for the Denny McLain deal. Highway robbery from Mike Rizzo.
   3. Textbook Editor Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4609131)
Thanks, Detroit!

Sincerely,
The Rest of the American League
   4. madvillain Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4609132)
Is this Dombrowski's first really bad trade?
   5. Tim D Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4609133)
It's not that I hate any of these guys, but color me a confused Tigers fan. A solid rotation starter under team control for 3 less than compelling pieces.
   6. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:31 PM (#4609138)
HATE THIS TRADE
   7. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4609139)
Damn, good trade. No more Steve Lombardozzi in LF!
   8. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4609140)

madvillain- Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria. At first glance, this trade looks definitely worse. Although Detroit will probably get more out of it, they gave up lots more too.
   9. Every Inge Counts Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4609146)
I am really hoping there is something else more to this because I really do not get this trade at all.
   10. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4609151)
Can anyone put forth a solid rationale for this trade from Detroit's point of view?
   11. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4609152)
10--they really like those prospects?
   12. Every Inge Counts Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4609153)
Doug Fister has terrible disease and only has 6 months left to live? I mean its not like they are saving tons of money to make a splash move right now. I have no idea, I was assuming a closer was going to be thrown in here...

I would say that Lombardozzi will be the next Don Kelly but we just gave him 1 million dollars....

Also I like Drew Smyly as a starter for the Tigers, but as someone else said on twitter this is the kind of deal you would expect for Porcello...not Fister.
   13. SG Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4609160)
This trade might make sense if you pretend it was Charlie Furbush for Lombardozzi, Ray and Krol.
   14. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: December 02, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4609162)
Can anyone put forth a solid rationale for this trade from Detroit's point of view?

Seems pretty clear that Detroit has decided to start dumping salary.

Of course, I LOVE this deal.
   15. Tim D Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4609164)
DD must like Krol and Ray a lot. I don't know that most people do.
   16. SG Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4609165)
Wonder if Detroit is going to be a darkhorse in the Tanaka sweepstakes if it ever happens...
   17. Shoebo Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4609170)
So does Rizzo win executive of the year today, outright ?
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4609177)
Can anyone put forth a solid rationale for this trade from Detroit's point of view?

Max Scherzer's agent is Scott Boras?
   19. Publius Publicola Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4609178)
That's a pretty fair rotation: Strasburg, Gio, Zimmerman, Roark and Fister, with Detwiler as the spot starter.

Like the trade for Washington. Dombrowksi must really like Ray because Lombardozzi's suckitude is now well-documented and Krol is bullpen fodder.
   20. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4609183)
So does Rizzo win executive of the year today, outright ?


After this trade, he's shutting himself down in case the Nats need to make trades in 2017.
   21. fra paolo Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4609185)
From the Tigers' perspective, Lombardozzi replaces one of Don Kelly (not very likely), Hernan Perez and Danny Worth. So the bench gets a bit stronger.

Krol allows Smyly to move into the rotation.

Ray could be a useful #3/#4 starter, very soon.

Doug Fister is 29, so on the wrong side of the aging spectrum, and is likely to cost somewhere around $7 million in 2014, money that could be spent on a Proven Closer that the Tigers are supposed to have missed this last season, although they didn't, really.

Meanwhile, they keep Porcello, who might be a bit better if Iglesias continues to flash the leather, and Miggy's replacement at 3b (increasingly looking like Castellanos) reduces the negative UZR by about ten runs (one win) to -10.

The deal leaves the Tigers still a contender, while potentially keeping their window open a bit longer, especially if 21-year-old Ray can keep developing.
   22. jdennis Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4609186)
Not gonna lie, if I was Detroit I would have traded Porcello before Fister. I guess Porcello is younger. I don't know the salaries. But to my eye test, I would rather have Fister.
   23. Every Inge Counts Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4609191)
From the Tigers' perspective, Lombardozzi replaces one of Don Kelly (not very likely), Hernan Perez and Danny Worth. So the bench gets a bit stronger.


Don Kelly just got a million dollars today, we get more Don Kelly action this season.


   24. Publius Publicola Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4609192)
Fister's WHIP was 0.15 higher this year than his career norm. I think a lot of that was the crappy defense behind him. If Zimmerman's arm returns to normal (and there were signs of that in the second half) and Rendon learns to play second, then I think Fister is set up to be a very effective back-of-the-rotation guy.
   25. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4609193)
Wait, what? I have a lot of faith in Dave Dombrowski, but this doesn't look so good to me.

S-Lo Jr. seems utterly uninteresting (though he did have some decent OBPs in the minors), Krol's probably a LOOGY. Ray looks promising as a 21-year-old lefty starter (10.1 K/9 at two levels, 3.36 ERA), but I'm not an expert at reading minor league stats.

Doug Fister is a very solid major-league starter, a borderline All-Star in his best years, and he's not even very expensive (yet). I think/hope Smyly can slide into the rotation, but that weakens the bullpen and I don't know if Ian Krol can replace what Smyly did this year.

This may eventually be looked at as an OK trade, but I'm not sure it helps the win-now Tigers for 2014.
   26. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4609198)
Ray could be a useful #3/#4 starter, very soon.

This doesn't sound like much of an endorsement. He'd have to have a lot better upside than that to trade Fister for him. Wouldn't he? Fister for $7M seems like a great value, worth a lot more than a guy who could maybe be worse than him by a rotation slot or so.
   27. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4609202)
So Robbie Ray looks like the interesting part of this trade. Can anyone tell me anything about him?

He's left-handed, he's 21, he strikes out more than 1 per inning, and he's already has some success at Double-A. That seems good. But he was a 12th-round draft pick and seems to have some control problems. That seems less good.
   28. fra paolo Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:56 PM (#4609208)
Can anyone tell me anything about [Robbie Ray]?

Going by the Baseball America write-up, if some Dr Frankenstein tried to create Dombrowski-bait, they'd have felt a sense of achievement in creating Robbie Ray. He's got a fastball-slurve-changeup repertoire, some command problems and a 'feel for pitching'/'knows how to pitch' endorsement.

Fister for $7M seems like a great value, worth a lot more than a guy who could maybe be worse than him by a rotation slot or so.

I suppose it depends on whether one thinks that $7m can be spent more effectively somewhere else, strengthening a weak spot.

I don't like the deal from the Tigers' perspective, but I don't see it as highway robbery. It really depends on whether by weakening the rotation, the team as a whole gets stronger.

I do think Rizzo's made a good deal, though. Lombardozzi was clearly a spare part, Krol is replaceable and Ray probably does little right now to help the Nationals. They might regret giving Ray up later, but not at all if Fister helps them into the playoffs again.
   29. PreservedFish Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4609211)
Doug Fister is 29, so on the wrong side of the aging spectrum, and is likely to cost somewhere around $7 million in 2014,

I think Fister is set up to be a very effective back-of-the-rotation guy.


I see Fister as one of the top ... I don't know, 25 starters in baseball. He is a great pitcher and a tremendous bargain. This is highway robbery.

It really depends on whether by weakening the rotation, the team as a whole gets stronger.


That seems hugely unlikely. Lombardozzi and Krol? Really?
   30. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: December 02, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4609212)
the 12th round part was signability driven + he had a down senior year. BA was considering him a top 10 prospect in the nats' system this offseason, presumably toward the bottom of that list.

great trade for dc
   31. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:06 AM (#4609213)
Fra Paolo, does Ray throw hard? Is he likely to stay a starter?

He's averaged right around 5 IP/G so far in his career, but he had 4 CG this year. That seems high for a young minor leaguer. I wonder if these were shortened games?

I see that his BB/9 and wild pitches are moving in the right direction, so that's encouraging. 4 BB/9 is not great, but it's not deadly either. (Max Scherzer was 3.7 BB/9 in the minors.)
   32. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4609215)
I suppose it depends on whether one thinks that $7m can be spent more effectively somewhere else, strengthening a weak spot.

Even if it can, you'd think they could trade that contract for a lot more than this. Of course that's what I thought about Kevin Millwood for Jonny Estrada.
   33. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4609216)
Well, before we start lambasting the Tigers here, let's remember that over the past ten years they've won about 99% of the trades they've made (the only one I could see that was a clear loss was the Jurrjens for Renteria swap in 2007).

So...they have history on their side.
   34. fra paolo Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4609217)
I see Fister as one of the top ... I don't know, 25 starters in baseball.

I don't. I see him as almost, but not quite that good, probably around #30. Going by WSAB, 2011 was his best season of 2011-13.

The Nats' got a bargain, but the Tigers were selling high, I suspect. Good job by Rizzo to spot this as well.
   35. The District Attorney Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4609221)
Dombrowksi must really like Ray
Never heard a pitch of his broadcast.

Yeah, this is not the way you save money. If Phil Hughes would cost you $27 million for three years, being able to pay Doug Fister seven million bucks is a ####### gift.

Hell, if you want to save money so badly, rather than trading Fielder for another star, trade him for nothing. That'd still be better than this.

Then after that, if you love Steve Lombardozzi so much, you can get him to start for you at a position where he actually won't suck! (As much.)
   36. fra paolo Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4609222)
Fra Paolo, does Ray throw hard?

The BA 2013 handbook says 87-91, bumping 92-93 on occasion. So not particularly hard, but lefties don't need to be quite as quick as righties, I understand. Of course, maybe he added a tick or two this season.
   37. Bug Selig Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4609224)
The only way this makes sense is if Dombrowski really has accepted the Commish job and has always secretly hated Mr. Ilitch, right?
   38. PreservedFish Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4609228)
Since 2010, Fister is 13th in the majors in fWAR among starters. Guys behind him that most people would take over him today: Wainwright, Shields, Latos, Gio Gonzalez, Sale, Bumgarner, Cain(?), Darvish, Zimmerman, Strasburg ... I stopped looking when I got to Jose Fernandez, ranked #141. Might have missed a few guys. #25, #30, not much difference there, and either way the guy is a stud.
   39. Every Inge Counts Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:27 AM (#4609231)
Scary thing is that Fister was the Tigers 4th best starter going forward.

I have no problem with trading Fister, I have a problem with the crappy return as it currently stands.
   40. formerly dp Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4609232)
This is a serious head-scratcher...a great move for the Nats, surprised Detroit couldn't have gotten more from him.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4609233)
Scary thing is that Fister was the Tigers 4th best starter going forward.


In the leaderboard I looked at above:

Verlander #1
Sanchez #6
Scherzer #7

Really damn impressive rotation.
   42. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:35 AM (#4609239)
#40--especially because you have to assume they were seeking offers on multiple pitchers. (I mean, they have 6 starters for 5 spots...they had to be checking the market on Scherzer and Porcello too.)
   43. ptodd Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:41 AM (#4609242)
Fister had a rather uneven season. His last 18 starts he had a 4.07 ERA. His 4.73 ERA against 500+ teams also may have played a role. Surprised the Tigers did not get more for him but maybe they see something in Ray others don't. Both Ray and Kroll are close to MLB ready, and with the weakness the Tigers had in the pen last year they probably prefer to keep Smyly in the pen as well, although he could start the season in the rotation until Ray is ready in the 2nd half .

The move does not seem to help much for 2014 though, unless it is a prelude to a significant FA signing. The combined savings on Fister and Fielder could put them in the running for Cano or Ellsbury. If Cano they could move Kinsler to 3B and Miggie to 1B and improve their defense. Cano would also replace some of the power they lost from the left side which seems RH heavy at the moment.

The ALCS showed the Tigers that SP'ing alone is not enough. A better bullpen, a more balanced offense, and better defense can offset the loss of Fister and then some.
   44. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:45 AM (#4609245)
43--or this could just be clearing money to extend Scherzer. (Or, heck, Cabrera only has two years left on his deal--maybe they want to make him a Tiger for life.)
   45. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4609248)
I am really hoping there is something else more to this because I really do not get this trade at all.


Once you realize that a picture of a naked Dombrowski with a goat were involved, the confusion over this trade is cleared up.
   46. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4609250)
Is the Tiger GM a goat?
   47. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4609252)
#40--especially because you have to assume they were seeking offers on multiple pitchers. (I mean, they have 6 starters for 5 spots...they had to be checking the market on Scherzer and Porcello too.)

Setting aside the possibility that Dombrowski just blew it (which is possible, but doesn't happen often), I guess I can see some legitimate reasons for trading Fister instead of Scherzer, Porcello, or Smyly (Verlander and Sanchez have long-term contracts so I assume they weren't discussed):

1. He's the oldest of the group (Fister's 29, Scherzer's 28, the other two are just 24)
2. He has, presumably, the least upside of the group (Scherzer's already an ace, Porcello took a step forward last year, and Smyly has room to grow)
3. He had the lowest strikeout rate of the group (the Tigers like K's)
4. Other than Scherzer, he was the "sell high"-est candidate
5. Smyly's the only left-hander

They clearly want to keep Scherzer, there's no point in trading Smyly (who's very cheap, left-handed, and probably ready to go), and Porcello and Fister are very similar, with Porcello more likely to improve and Fister more likely to decline.

I would have preferred an intact rotation from 2013, but if there was some motivation to trade a starting pitcher, I think it made sense to trade Fister.
   48. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4609253)
Lombardozzi was clearly a spare part,

What might the Nats bench, pretty much a black hole last season, look like in '14?
   49. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:02 AM (#4609254)
I think it made sense to trade Fister.

At all costs? Even if all you got back was this?
   50. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4609256)
They clearly want to keep Scherzer, there's no point in trading Smyly (who's very cheap, left-handed, and probably ready to go), and Porcello and Fister are very similar, with Porcello more likely to improve and Fister more likely to decline.


Really? Because I see Fister as the next Cliff Lee, and Porcello as the next Jeremy Bonderman.

Yes, I realize lightning would have to strike for any pitcher to be the next Cliff Lee, but even without that, Fister is a very good pitcher, and 29 is not old.
   51. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:06 AM (#4609258)
I am really hoping there is something else more to this because I really do not get this trade at all.

Well the 'more' is that apparently Dombrowski and his crew thinks that Ray is going to be good. We'll see if he's right. He's right a lot.
   52. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:11 AM (#4609263)
Fister is a very good pitcher, and 29 is not old.

Actually, it's 37 that's not old.
   53. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:25 AM (#4609269)
After this trade, he's shutting himself down in case the Nats need to make trades in 2017.


I laughed, anyway.
   54. madvillain Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:25 AM (#4609270)
We'll see if he's right. He's right a lot.


Yea, he's kinda like a Rich Man's Kenny Williams, or something like that. He is right quite a bit in trades.

As for Fister:

--career ERA+ of 116
--durable (averaging almost exactly 30 starts a year in his career, excluding his partial rookie year)
--still in his arb years
--bWAR is 14.5, 3.5 and 4.1 the last two years. fWAR 16.0, 3.5 and 4.6 the last two years.

I don't care if he is "old" at 29, he has only 800 some innings in MLB and it's hard to see how as arb eligible he was really a risk to Detroit, or anyone for that matter.

Seemingly a very low haul for such a valuable commodity.

I would have preferred an intact rotation from 2013, but if there was some motivation to trade a starting pitcher, I think it made sense to trade Fister.


If this was the return for Fister, perhaps they should have traded someone else. Dombrowski is pretty slick, but I dunno about this one, on paper it's awful.
   55. PreservedFish Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4609274)
Porcello more likely to improve and Fister more likely to decline.


To me this is just a way of rephrasing "Porcello is good and Fister is great." It's easy to imagine the great guy slipping, and the good guy getting better. Porcello does seem like he can keep improving ... and if he does so, maybe he'll be as good as Doug Fister.

Fister only makes sense as a sell-high candidate if you think he's been overachieving for three years running. And of course the idea of selling high is that you, you know, set a high price. This is not what happened here. If you really want to look at it, Anibal Sanchez is of course the best sell-high candidate of all of them. He signed a contract as a steady 3.70 ERA pitcher and then immediately busts out with a 2.50 ERA, improved velocity, improved everything.
   56. PreservedFish Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:40 AM (#4609281)
The ALCS showed the Tigers that SP'ing alone is not enough. A better bullpen, a more balanced offense, and better defense can offset the loss of Fister and then some.


This is senseless. Fister was a terrific bargain at his price. You need Dombrowski to be a ####### ninja in order to get even better value out of that money this year.
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4609282)
Well the 'more' is that apparently Dombrowski and his crew thinks that Ray is going to be good. We'll see if he's right. He's right a lot.


If he's the only one rating Ray so highly, then why did he have to give up Fister to get him?

There are some awful justifications being given for this trade, which is flat out a bad trade:

1. It's Dombrowski!
2. He and only he knows Ray will be good!
3. Dombrowski rarely makes a mistake!
4. Something nonsensical and bizarre about money even though Fister doesn't make a lot and isn't a FA until 2016.
5. Something silly about Fister being old when 29 isn't old for a pitcher.
6. Something wishful about Porcello being about to improve while Fister is about to decline.
7. Something bizarre about selling high that makes no sense given what happened here.
8. Something dumb about improving the bench.
9. Something hopeful about how this frees up money, oh so much money, to go after high priced FA.
10. Etc.
   58. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:49 AM (#4609285)
4 years, 800+ innings, 7 mil per year, 29 yrs old, 116 ERA+...that sounds like a good #3 guy to me.
I don't know much about the Tigers or the Nats, and I'm probably the least sabermetricky poster here, but this trade, at least today, looks really unbalanced. The Tigers got fleeced.
   59. puck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4609286)
This trade compared to the Hughes, Nolasco and Vargas free agent deals is interesting.
   60. madvillain Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:51 AM (#4609288)
9. Something hopeful about how this frees up money, oh so much money, to go after high priced FA.


this could be the case, but what move is so pressing that it couldn't have least waited until the Winter Meetings? If Dombo emails "hey what will you give me for Doug Fister" to all the other GMs there is no way he comes back with worse than this, right?

Just doesn't make sense, even if Dombo has made great moves in the past, this one is clearly a head scratcher.
   61. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4609292)
Is there an alternate universe in which Dave Dombrowski has won three or four championships? Why are people treating him this way? In a quarter century as a GM his teams have made the playoffs just four times, and out of that he's managed one championship -- that coming 15 years ago with a different team. He's now won the central three seasons in a row -- the first time any of his teams finished first -- and he's been to the World Series twice with the Tigers since 2006. That's good - helped by huge contracts handed out and a weak division, which doesn't exactly take brilliant GM'ing - but I still am not seeing deserved deity status. His teams have a .464 winning percentage over the quarter century he's been a GM. His teams have finished with losing records more often than winning records -- 11 seasons at .500 or better, 14 seasons at worse than .500. He's not managed a .500 overall record with any franchise. Granted the Expos and Marlins were at times not exactly the Yankees or Red Sox, nor were the Tigers. But still.

What is the reason he's being treated as if he's the best GM the game has to offer, such that people feel the need to come up with irrational justifications for a bad deal?
   62. The District Attorney Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:26 AM (#4609295)
It would be hilarious if the Tigers signed Cano. That'd sure throw us all for a loop. Not to mention probably throw the Yankees for even more of a loop.

You'd really have to trade Kinsler, though. Playing one of them somewhere besides 2B would be pretty wasteful.

Who else could the Tigers even sign to justify this? Obviously not a pitcher, because Lord knows Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello solve all problems there. Ellsbury makes no sense for them either. Choo? Great player, but I don't think it's worth giving up a $7M Fister to pay Choo market rate.
   63. Ardo Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:43 AM (#4609297)
Unless Robbie Ray provides real value for the 2014 Tigers, this is a disastrous trade for Detroit. Why not stand pat?
   64. Lars6788 Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:49 AM (#4609298)
Re #61 He's generally affable to the media covering him and seems like a nice guy.
   65. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:56 AM (#4609299)
If he's the only one rating Ray so highly, then why did he have to give up Fister to get him?

And you know how other GMs rate Ray...how exactly?

Is there an alternate universe in which Dave Dombrowski has won three or four championships?

No, just one where he took over a wretched Marlins team and four years later had them in the World Series, and then took over a wretched Tigers team and four years later had them in the World Series. You're right, he's probably a hack. There's no reason those Marlins teams couldn't have ripped off three or four championships. #eyeroll
   66. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:56 AM (#4609301)
The BA 2013 handbook says 87-91, bumping 92-93 on occasion. So not particularly hard, but lefties don't need to be quite as quick as righties, I understand. Of course, maybe he added a tick or two this season.


From their end-of-season Carolina league write up:

Ray attacks hitters with a 90-94 mph fastball and has the arm strength to add more velocity down the road.
   67. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 03, 2013 at 03:37 AM (#4609306)
I think it made sense to trade Fister.

At all costs? Even if all you got back was this?


Well, you cut off half my quote, but I will politely answer with "No, not at all costs." I was responding to the idea that someone (Dombrowski or higher) decided that the Tigers had to trade a starter because they had 6 viable ones for 5 spots. Of the 6 choices, it made (some) sense to trade Fister. I never said it was a good return.

Really? Because I see Fister as the next Cliff Lee, and Porcello as the next Jeremy Bonderman.

I hope that's not true (I'm a Tiger fan) but, sure, it's one possible scenario. I like Fister a lot, I think he's very good right now and at 29 I think he's far from done. However, if you look at Fister (29) and Porcello (24) last year, the numbers aren't all that different:

H/9
Fister - 9.9
Porcello - 9.4

HR/9
Fister - 0.6
Porcello - 0.9

BB/9
Fister - 1.9
Porcello - 2.1

K/9
Fister - 6.9
Porcello - 7.2

GB%
Fister - 54.3%
Porcello - 55.3%

Fister's ERA is significantly better, but he gave up 6 unearned runs to Porcello's 2. By xFIP, Fister's at 3.42, Porcello at 3.19. Basically, they were pretty close.

Fister has been much better over the past three years, but Porcello is trending upward (improved ERA+ 3 years in a row, improved K/BB 4 years in a row) while Fister may be going in the other direction (ERA+ and K/BB have declined 2 years in a row, H/9 has increased 2 years in a row). I'm cherry-picking some numbers here, obviously, but it doesn't seem that there's that much difference between them for 2014, and it really did seem like Porcello "turned a corner" last year.

Now this is not to say that (i) the Tigers should have traded Fister or (ii) they got a good return. I just think that if they were determined to trade one pitcher (and assuming the return from Porcello would have been similar to the return from Fister), Fister was the reasonable one to choose.
   68. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 05:41 AM (#4609309)
What is the reason he's being treated as if he's the best GM the game has to offer, such that people feel the need to come up with irrational justifications for a bad deal?

His trading history. He has never been fleeced, and has only lost a few (Jurrjens for Renteria the most notable). No GM in baseball has a better track record when it comes to trades.

More pertinently, the last few times he's traded established players for prospects, those prospects have panned out, sometimes in a huge way (Granderson & E Jackson got them Austin Jackson/Max Scherzer/Phil Coke; Jeff Weaver got them Carlos Pena and Jeremy Bonderman; Mark Redman got them Nate Robertson.)
   69. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:37 AM (#4609316)
Ray's found yet another idiot!!
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:11 AM (#4609336)
I didn't suggest he was an idiot; only that he's not a god.
   71. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4609342)
I guess DD figured that with Verlander, Sanchez and Scherzer, they could afford to let Fister go. But couldn't they get more for him than some spare parts? Does the deal include a bag of magic beans to be named later?
   72. McCoy Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4609344)
Are you telling me the Chicago Cubs couldn't have given the Tigers a better package? Lombardozzi is better than Barney or something?
   73. zonk Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4609348)
Are you telling me the Chicago Cubs couldn't have given the Tigers a better package? Lombardozzi is better than Barney or something?


For Fister? Nahhh....

Maybe for Porcello.

In DD's defense, I do kind of wonder if it was simply a matter of the teams that were actually in the market for a solid mid-rotation SP are either rebuilding themselves, and thus, not looking to give up much in the way of value or pretty slim on the farm themselves.

Sure, Fister is a fine mid-rotation starter... but - who else were you gonna get from the Nats? Not Goodwin... And I think they're finally done trading Cole. Golito can't be traded yet. Ray is the next best thing on the list.

The teams most in the market for a reliable but not exciting or expensive SP were unfortunately in their division (Royals/Twins) and already did their shopping...

I'm having a hard time coming up with a trading partner that would make sense for the Tigers AND would have something better/would offer something better than Ray/Krol/Lombardozzi
   74. McCoy Posted: December 03, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4609356)
In DD's defense, I do kind of wonder if it was simply a matter of the teams that were actually in the market for a solid mid-rotation SP are either rebuilding themselves, and thus, not looking to give up much in the way of value or pretty slim on the farm themselves.

This was much in the way of value?
   75. fra paolo Posted: December 03, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4609359)
What is the reason he's being treated as if he's the best GM the game has to offer, such that people feel the need to come up with irrational justifications for a bad deal?

Probably to wind you up. I like to imagine there's a secret chat room where BTFers gather and discuss 'How can we wind Ray up this week?'

Personally, I expect Joey B more or less got it right.

Seems pretty clear that Detroit has decided to start dumping salary.

And then there's Davo's point.

No GM in baseball has a better track record when it comes to trades.

Which was also echoed by Robert in Manhattan Beach.

Honestly, I think this is one of those trades where:

a) it is a salary dump (and possibly a Jeff-Weaver style 'get rid of a troublesome player'* dump);
b) Dombrowski thinks his pitching development team can make Robbie Ray into something good;
c) he gets to sort out three problems all at once (one being created by the trade);
d) this was the best offer he could get in the circumstances of a and c.

Viewed in isolation, the trade doesn't look good. Viewed in the context of the team's developmental skills and possible information (financial and clubhouse) we don't have, maybe it makes more sense.
_______
* I listened to almost every Tigers' game this past season, and at the back of my mind there's a vague notion of some kind of incident or comment involving Fister. Memory plays tricks and maybe I'm wrong, and I'm not going to review the entire season to find out, but I was not surprised to see Fister traded.
   76. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4609362)
zonk - Blue Jays. Maybe the Orioles.
   77. snowles Posted: December 03, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4609383)
@76. I figured the Jays were going to acquire Porcello for Cecil+, or Fister for Jannsen+, pieces which would help the Tigers right now. In retrospect, the consummated deal is a headscratcher.
   78. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4609413)
I'm having a hard time coming up with a trading partner that would make sense for the Tigers AND would have something better/would offer something better than Ray/Krol/Lombardozzi


I'm sure the Rockies would have given up Dexter Fowler for Fister, although the Tigers might not have interest in another center fielder.
   79. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4609440)
I went through the Tigers' transactions of the past ten years, and found only three trades that they clearly lost:

1. October 29, 2007: Trades Gorkys Hernandez and Jair Jurrjens to the Atlanta Braves for Edgar Renteria. (Renteria was earning $10MM in the last year of his contract.)
2. November 12, 2007: Trades Omar Infante to the Chicago Cubs for Jacque Jones (Jones was toast by this point).
3. April 1, 2004: Trades Cody Ross to the LA Dodgers for Steve Coyler.
   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4609448)
#79, how many deals of significance did Dombrowski make? We need a denominator. And then a comparison to other GMs.
   81. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4609466)
To balance out his trading genius, Dombrowski is a contract/free agent fish.

More pertinently, the last few times he's traded established players for prospects, those prospects have panned out, sometimes in a huge way (Granderson & E Jackson got them Austin Jackson/Max Scherzer/Phil Coke; Jeff Weaver got them Carlos Pena and Jeremy Bonderman; Mark Redman got them Nate Robertson.)


This might be the least pertinent part of his "skill", there is so much variance in prospects & developing player that if a GM runs good on a few trades he seems like a genius.

And Max Scherzer was no prospect, he'd been an MLB starting pitcher for years.
   82. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4609469)
And Max Scherzer was no prospect, he'd been an MLB starting pitcher for years.

Yes, one and a half years. Way to set him straight!
   83. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4609474)
If this deal is a prelude to Choo -- not that I think such a master plan would be all that great -- why not make sure you sign Choo first, BEFORE dealing Fister?

And why does the plan mean that you get nothing back for Fister?

This was a terrible deal. There is no way to sugar coat it.

   84. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4609478)
A "salary dump" of a good player who wasn't making all that much money, for nothing in return? If you have a BAD player (Vernon Wells), you salary-dump him for nothing, or if you have a GOOD player (Fielder), you salary-dump him for something (Kinsler). You don't salary-dump a good player for nothing. Especially when the good player wasn't making that much salary to begin with.
   85. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4609484)
This might be the least pertinent part of his "skill", there is so much variance in prospects & developing player that if a GM runs good on a few trades he seems like a genius.

But he's had good results going the other way too. He's traded a number of seemingly good prospects, and pretty much none of them have gone on to any kind of stardom. Cameron Maybin is probably the best of the lot, and he's had one good year that was mostly defense. Andrew Miller's a decent reliever, Jacob Turner might settle in as a #4 starter, Gorkys Hernandez has barely sniffed the majors, Chance Ruffin has a 5.60 ERA in the majors, Wilkin Ramirez has been a bust, etc.

When the "ones who got away" are Matt Joyce and Charlie Furbush, you're doing all right. I don't think it's all luck.
   86. fra paolo Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4609494)
You don't salary-dump a good player for nothing. Especially when the good player wasn't making that much salary to begin with.

If you have to dump $7 million in salary, you've got no choice in the matter. You end up taking the best deal possible, which might look like nothing.

Going by BB-Ref's numbers, the Tigers have the third-highest average payroll in the AL over the last three years. Maybe they can't afford that any more.

Like I said, in isolation the deal looks bad. I don't like it. In a wider context, taking into account things 'we know we don't know', it might be the best option on the table. At this stage, I reserve final judgment.
   87. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4609509)
I don't think anyone believes that this was the best deal they could have gotten for him.
   88. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4609517)
Now that we've learned that the Tigers turned down a package that included Howie Kendrick--and that this was before the Fielder swap--pretty much the only thing we can conclude is that Dombrowski is really really high on Robbie Ray.

And considering Detroit's track record on these type of swaps (every time they've targeted a prospect he's panned out; every time they've traded one away he's busted), I'd extend them a bit of slack.

Other teams could have offered him prospects who rank higher on a Top 100 list, but if Dombrowski believes Robbie Ray is better than all of them, what was he supposed to do?

I will say, though, that this reeks of "With the Number 20 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select....Renaldo Balkman?!?!" (IOW: This is Dombrowski's "I'm the smartest GM in the game!" moment.)
   89. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4609521)
I don't think anyone believes that this was the best deal they could have gotten for him.

If you're going to be a big league manager someday, I think you should show a bit more patience. Let's let the offseason play out before rendering any verdict -- Dombrowski is one of the top GMs in the game, by any reasonable measurement.
   90. Esoteric Posted: December 03, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4609526)
Whoa!

What a great thing to wake up to.

I use the term "wake up" metaphorically, as this is somehow the first I've heard of this all day.
   91. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4609542)
Does getting Joe Nathan make it more worth it on the Tigers end, or would they have got Nathan anyway?
   92. Tim D Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4609552)
A couple of reflections. I don't think the Tigers got much and I am a huge DD fan, but in his defense: Krol goes into the LH bullpen spot vacated by Smyly. Krol will be helpful this year. The fact that Don Kelly got a million bucks does not guarantee a roster spot. Lombardozzi may take that spot and would likely do more with it: he hasn't hit much in Washington but he is still young and put up significantly better numbers in the minors. At least we will not have to put up with Ramon Santiago, so the bench is going to be better. Ray is the key. He could be very good, maybe he won't, but I will trust DD's track record on evaluating young pitchers. They have very little depth in LH SP in the minors. Crosby has not panned out, Lobstein is more of a soft-tosser (albeit fairly effective). And the way DD pushes young pitchers, Ray will be in the rotation as soon as someone goes on the DL.

Word is that Rizzo would not have dealt Ray for Porcello straight up. Porcello has improved every year, and this year will have a vastly improved IF. He could take a big step. So DD gets more for Fister than he could for a guy who may be as good.

I won't believe for a minute that DD didn't get the best he thought he could get for Fister. He didn't call up Rizzo, ask for these three guys, and make the deal in a vacuum. And he might just think that Krol + Ray is better than Fister. Lombo is filler.

Tigers sign Nathan today, with more bullpen arms to come. And they will still get another OF and push Dirks to the bench.

It comes down to what you think of Krol and Ray. We know what the numbers are, we know what BBA says, but we don't know what GMs privately say or think. At first glance I don't think much of the deal. I don't agree with the salary dump rationalizations. But I don't think it is as bad as some have indicated, and it could turn out well for Detroit.
   93. fra paolo Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4609570)
I don't think anyone believes that this was the best deal they could have gotten for him.

Well, I'm not committed to any act of faith in this regard. Dombrowski clearly thought this would be the best deal. In the absence of evidence for alternatives, beyond the Kendrick deal,it is impossible to agree or disagree with him on any thoughtful grounds.

I don't agree with the salary dump rationalizations.

'Dump' is perhaps a misnomer. Salary 'reallocation' is probably more what it is like. The Tigers have probably hit the limit of the payroll they can afford, and so must trade away salaries in order to sign expensive new players.
   94. madvillain Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4609610)
@92, all that being said, you still don't make the trade. I guess there is a small chance that Dombo is a vast genius and Ray is so highly valued by people inside baseball that this was "the best" deal he could get, but why not wait until the winter meetings? It's not like Fister would be less valuable then.

Only reason I can think to make this move now given the piddling return is that a number of other moves depend on it, and even then, maybe you should reconsider those other moves if it depends on trading one of the top starters in baseball, a guy most teams would love as their #2 starter, for relative scraps.
   95. PreservedFish Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4609618)
I would like to see the history of deals which our community thought were ridiculously one-sided. My feeling is that the idiot side usually comes out better than we expected.

Last year, we thought the DBacks were insane for prefer Didi Gregorius over Trevor Bauer, and that doesn't look so bad anymore.

A decade ago the Braves made a somewhat similar move to what the Tigers did when they salary dumped Kevin Millwood and only got back Johnny Estrada. But that one, again, didn't end up so bad.
   96. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4609622)
Giving up Brad Wilkerson for Alfonso Soriano was seen as a Sewardesque folly in Saberland, what with the the RFK Stadium park effects and all.
   97. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4609624)
It comes down to what you think of Krol and Ray.


It also comes down to what you think of Fister going forward.

Fister's strikeout rate went down, from 1 batter every 4.9 PA to 1 every 5.5. His hit-allowed rate went up, from 1 every 4.3 PA to 1 every 3.8. (And that's with his HR rate going down.) Yes, Detroit had a bad defense - but the same players, more or less, were there in 2012 as were there in 2013. I obviously don't know whether this is a one-year aberration or not; not knowing the pitcher at all but looking just at the numbers I'd be suspicious that there might be an injury lurking in there, because a one-year jump from a more-or-less average BABIP to an extremely high one, like Fister's in 2013, can be a warning sign of a less-than-healthy arm.

-- MWE
   98. madvillain Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4609629)
I would like to see the history of deals which our community thought were ridiculously one-sided. My feeling is that the idiot side usually comes out better than we expected.


That's the nature of projections and predictions, but the "range of outcomes" for Detroit here seems pretty bad. Assume the best, that Krol is a solid LOOGY (1 WAR) that Ray turns into a 4th starter (1-3 WAR a year) and that the utility guy they got is slightly above replacement, say .3 WAR.

That's the best case return for Doug Fister? Just doesn't seem they got a good deal, I think it's fair to say that.
   99. Natty Fan Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4609633)
#96 - And when Jim Bowden failed to trade Soriano by the July deadline in 2006, it was portrayed as one of Bowden's worst moves (which is saying something). When Soriano signed with the Cubs that winter, the Nats received a compensatory 1st-round pick, which turned out to be Jordan Zimmermann.
   100. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4609640)
because a one-year jump from a more-or-less average BABIP to an extremely high one, like Fister's in 2013, can be a warning sign of a less-than-healthy arm.


But if so it's typically coupled with a significantly decreased K/BB ratio. That didn't happen here. Which suggests that the higher BABIP was a fluke.

Bottom line: there is no good reason to bank on Fister being in career crisis mode. None at all. And even if you're magically the only one who can see it, you don't dump him for nothing.
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