With all the talk of the extravagant prices on the pitching market this winter, and the millions of dollars and sparkling prospects it’s going to take for Alex Anthopoulos to do what he needs to do to fix his rotation, uh… how the hell did he not get in on Doug Fister? How did he not beat the offer the Washington Nationals were making for Doug Fister?
Shit, how did anybody not beat this offer?
#Tigers have acquired LHP Robbie Ray, LHP Ian Krol and utility player Steve Lombardozzi from Nationals in exchange for Doug Fister.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 3, 2013
IT SAYS UTILITY PLAYER IN THE DAMN OFFICIAL TWEET!
Anthopoulos is certainly not the only GM with some explaining to do on this– Dave Dombrowski, come on down!– but Krol is a hard-throwing (93.5 per FanGraphs) left-handed reliever with a bunch of team control left on account of how he only has 27.1 big league innings, during which he posted a 3.95 ERA, a 4.69 FIP, and an unsustainable strand rate. Mark Hulet had him as the A’s 15th best prospect prior to 2012 (he moved to Washington in the Mike Morse deal last year). Ray is a Double-A lefty starter with some promise on one hand, and a place among Carson Cistulli’s fringe prospects exercise at FanGraphs on the other. BP’s Jason Parks seems to sum up popular sentiment on Ray quite nicely:
Robbie Ray is a good arm to acquire; most likely a backend starter but he could find the middle of a rotation. It’s solid but far from sexy.
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) December 3, 2013
And Lombardozzi is, as the Tigers have conceded, a utility player.
Fine enough pieces, but for Fister?
Lots of Jays fans seem to be trying to figure out how the club could have put together a competitive package here, but it’s ultimately an exercise in futility. Besides, it’s damn hard to do through this fog of bewilderment. I mean, Fister is going to be one of the pricier arbitration guys out there, but he’s still got two below-market seasons left before free agency, and the package isn’t nothing, it’s just… man, it really feels like Detroit got very narrow in their focus here. They sure could use a lefty reliever with control, a utility guy, and a solid-looking prospect arm. Who couldn’t? And those guys aren’t garbage. There are things to like about them, for sure.
It’s just… for Fister??? A shit-you-not top starter in the Majors? 12th in WAR among starters this year by both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference?
On the bright side, maybe this shows that Alex Anthopoulos is on the right path in how he’s valuing his bullpen pieces, and how he could combine an Aaron Loup, Sean Nolin, and Ryan Goins (gah! couldn’t resist!) to get something really, really good. (Though, to be fair, as I noted on Twitter, I suspect that the rest of baseball doesn’t quite value Goins the way Jays fans do, so it’s possible that they just didn’t have the specific pieces to fit– hey, maybe if they’d kept Bonifacio, huh?)
For the second time today, though, I think all of that is probably just wishful thinking on my part, and this is going to be an awful outlier by the time the winter is said and done. I can cling to it a little bit, for now, though, and to the possibility that the Tigers didn’t want to deal Fister within the American League, or that they really liked one of the pieces more than the consensus, or wanted to be quiet about this, and to the fact that none of 27 other supposed-geniuses running big league front offices managed to figure out a way to get this done (nor did Ruben Amaro, either).
It’s just… jeez. Any measure of hopefulness– even this curious little rabbit hole– seems pretty fucking counterintuitive right now. Gah.
This I think we can relate to, though:
Dave Dombrowski must have figured the Tigers couldn’t win WS with consensus best team entering the season. Obviously trying something else.
— Jeff Moss (@JeffMossDSR) December 3, 2013