The Fister Trade, Not Surprising.

Dave Dombrowski, lacking the respect to consult me, traded one of the steadiest and most reliable starting pitchers in baseball for a not-so-goodutility guy (there ARE good ones) and two young pitchers who weren’t ever going to wrest away starts from Strasburg, Zimmermann and Gonzalez. 

Read that again.

Wait, let me say I’m not stunned by this at all. There could not have been much market value difference between Fister and Porcello. Porcello could still bloom into Fister with a a sneaky deadlier fastball, or he might have peaked, while I don’t have to be Bill James to predict Fister’s numbers for the next many years. 

Teams pay dearly for starters. The A’s just gave Scott Kazmir $22 million over 2 years. Fister, still with two years of arbitration to go, was slated to make half annually of what Kazmir gets this year.

On a day they settled money with Leyland’s adoptive nephew, Don Kelly, the Tigers upgraded over Ramon Santiago, and received nothing with proven Major League value in return. 

OK. 

Before the return was announced I suspected Adam LaRoche was going to be in the Tiger DH/1B rotation. Washington could then get Anthony Rendon to third and get Ryan Zimmerman and his progressing Sax-ian disease over to first. Didn’t happen. 

You don’t have to be in a cape and cowl and be the World’s Greatest Detective to figure out that something’s up. More SHOULD be on the way, and Dombrowski alluded to just that in his 945pm press conference last night.

Acquired starter Robbie Ray reminds of long time Tiger prospect Casey Crosby. Gets his share of strikeouts, but puts a ton on base. He’s labeled with mid to back end of the rotation stuff. 

We can hope lefty Ian Krol turns into what was expected of Phil Coke. More than just a LOOGY. 8.1 K/9 in 274 minor league innings with a WHIP just over 1.1. Krol is fastball at 93, with a curve and a change mixed in. As a 22 year old he threw 32 games and 27.1 innings for Washington last year with no thing requiring obvious praise. Hopefully his nearly 4 to 1 K/BB minor league ratio eventually emerges for the Tigers bullpen. 

Twitter got very testy that this was a salary dump by the Tigers. Dombrowski reiterated Detroit will still be a high payroll team, which didn’t pull my eyebrown down to normal levels.

It’s hard to retract trust in DD, but my worry is that the salary relief from Fielder and Fister could go in any of these directions, none I’d be pleased with.

A. Extension for Scherzer

B. Extension for Cabrera

C. Extension for both. I’ll be on the roof. 

D. They sign a free agent whose name fans have bandied around. Choo or Ellsbury specifically. You can find me plunging OFF the roof. Those contracts would be ludricous. Though you can talk me in 60/4 for Granderson, even if I give up a first round pick. There ARE other rounds in the draft. Make them count. 

E. Something else that has me bowing at the temple of Dave. 

There’s one destination for that saved money I would spend it on though. Rick Porcello’s got two more years of arbitration and then he’ll be a free agent. If last year’s positive gains were the beginning of his emergence, and remember that his defense will be much improved, I think I’m OK with buying out his arb and some free agent years. 

Porcello will make 6ish this year in arb, then 7 or more next year. Do that math, and factor in the deal for Kazmir, and consider Ricky Nolasco getting 49/4. I think I might give Porcello that deal right this second, with a very reachable option for a fifth year, that would put another 15 on the deal, totaling 64 over 5. Down the road that should be  bronzed Lincoln’s for a quality mid-rotation starter STILL under 30. 

The Porcello theory may be a pipe dream for me though because of other sentiments from Dombrowski. The crafty executive mentioned Ray profiling as a 1-3 rotation starter. You don’t have to remind me YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH PITCHING, but Verlander and Sanchez are around for a while, Smyly should be as well, does this mean they won’t even consider a Porcello extension? Recall who the Tigers target every year in the draft, BIG right handed starters. They have three of them in their 2014 prospects list. Jonathon Crawford, Endrys Briceno, and Jake Thompson. 

There’s more to come so no need at all to judge this trade now. We’ll wait to the ensuing moves occur before I find the ladder leading to the roof. 

#hashing out the tweets…

– I’ll miss Fister. With Greg Maddux being my all time favorite pitcher, I enjoyed watching Fister work like Maddux. Quickly and with exceptional movement on what should be very straight pitches. Downright dominance at times with not much over 90.

– Elementary math says the Tigers have the same bullpen questions as they did when the season ended; possibly more. The proven Smyly goes to the rotation, and Krol is no sure replacement. 

– The Nationals traded a pitcher to the A’s last week who I sought in a potential deal. Fernando Abad. I also (think I) would’ve preferred the malleable Tanner Roark also over who the Tigers received. Anthony Rendon wasn’t going to happen. 

 

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