Monday, February 24, 2014

Was the Tigers trade of Doug Fister really MLB's worst off season transaction?

On face value, I didn't like the Doug Fister trade. I didn't feel like the Tigers got enough in return. Dave Cameron from rated it the worst transaction of the off season
Is it really that bad?
In traditional scouting terms, Fister has always been questioned because he doesn't throw hard. But he developed a swing-back action to his fastball, an outstanding curveball and at 6-8 there is a lot of tilt on a fastball that is far below the MLB average in velocity  (in the bottom 15 percent in velocity) but not necessarily in effectiveness.
He is 30 . There are many scouts and statistical analysts who view 30 as the age when the downward track begins (I tend to believe it is a little later). Fister's stats have trended downward since 2011 in ERA (2.83, 3.45, 3.67) and WHIP (1.063, 1.194, 1.308). But he did eat up 208 innings last season and his fielding independent pitching stats were better in '13 than '12.
Doug Fister:  Good for 200 solid innings that may be missed
I went back and watched a lot of Ian Krol from last season. He should help the Tigers in the bullpen and free Drew Smyly for the starting rotation. I don't see what the Tigers see in Steve Lombardozzi. At best, he is minimal upgrade from Ramon Santiago. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told me Robbie Ray intrigued the organization so much because of what he was told by his staff at Double-A Erie. The Tigers started intensely tracking Ray closely after he shutout Erie with three hits and just two walks while striking out seven, the first game back from the Double-A All-Star break. He was consistently in the mid-90s on the radar gun.
Clearly, he was the key piece in the deal, and the reasons are two fold. One, if Ray is really that good, he could help at the MLB level as soon as this season, especially if there is an injury issue. Secondly, he gives the Tigers another chip to offer in a trade if they have a glaring need to address during the season.
I understand the idea of moving players on as they reach a point of their career where production is projected to go down and salary up. But Fister wasn't that expensive yet, just not super inexpensive anymore. Two-hundred solid starting innings don't grow on trees, and I'm not sure about what the Tigers got in return. The road is littered with a lot of editions of Robbie Ray, who didn't make it.
The worst deal of the off season? I don't know if I'd go that far.
But it was a risk, and I'm not sure if it was necessary.
Our live chat Monday on MSU where it stands with Michigan in college basketball, Olympic hocke, Lions and NFL Combine:


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, I never believe Fister fully recover from his injury in 2012. He went from being 1/2 guy to a 4/5 guy. If Ray becomes be 4/5 guy then the Tigers already won the trade. If Krol can develop as extra 7th inning guy and Lombardozzi can be a little better than Ramon then I would have done the trade too. I never understood why people use yesterday stats to determine tomorrow performance.

9:52 AM 

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