Fister For What???


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?


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:

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:


Comments (115)

  1. I can just imagine all 28 other GMs in baseball mouthing WTF at this deal. Just incredible stuff. The Jays gave up more for J.A. Happ than this.

  2. What the hell Detroit

  3. He’s better than Shark, with a similar contract situation. This is strange…

  4. And it’s not even a salary dump!!!

  5. Fister? I hardly knew… Ahh fuck it

  6. Verlander for JPA, Santos, Gose and my girlfriends dog. C’mon Detroit!!!

  7. Seriously dumbfounded by this…imagine we had fister in our rotation……!!!! HOLY SHITE! WHat the hell…at least he was “given away” to a national league team…maybe the Jays can try to pry one of Washington’s solid young starters away now. Frick

  8. This is a head scratcher…………Detroit better get DD off to AA before he’s trading JV for a BJ

  9. I really can’t get too upset about AA not jumping all over this. It’s pretty clear from the return that the Tigers did zero to start a bidding war or publicly shop Fister around.

    • This I would tend to agree with.

    • I sort of get that… but at the same time, considering how desperate we are for pitching, you would have hoped that he might have asked “hey guy, what’s it going to take to get Fister?” Especially with his reputation of doing his due diligence on everyone and what not. Maybe he did ask…… but if this was the price, it seems strange that he didn’t jump all over it. It wouldn’t make sense for Dom-dumbshit to ask for this pathetic return right out of the chute, but considering the package he settled on, I can’t imagine his starting price was all that high.

      • Does he have truth serum? Because Detroit doesn’t have to tell him if they’re making Fister available.

        • Lol what? If Fister is available… why wouldn’t they tell him Fister was available? What do the Tigers possibly stand to gain from not telling him? If a guy is available, you’d want to make it known to start seeing who’s going to offer you the most. This way, you don’t end up getting a utility infielder, relief prospect and a minor league pitcher with the upside of a #4/#5 for a top 10 pitcher in baseball over the past three seasons who is still reasonably cheap for the next two years.

          Why am I having to explain this to you?

          • Because you obviously don’t understand what’s happened here and feel like I’d somehow benefit from knowing more about your misunderstanding, I think.

            • Please, enlighten me. I’m not even trying to be a prick when I say that. If you’ve got an explanation against what I said, I’d love to hear it.

          • Because maybe when AA inquired about Fister, he wasn’t available. Maybe Detroit didn’t really think they were going to move him. Maybe there are more things in play that haven’t come forward yet.
            Why does anyone have to explain that no one knows the full story. I thought that was almost a mantra around here.

            • So when Fister did become available, why wouldn’t the Tigers come back to AA and say “hey, we might be open to moving Fister. What’s your best offer?” Same applies to your next point. If he’s available, why wouldn’t they shop him around? Because they’re not going to get good value? Well whatever leverage-protecting tactics they employed didn’t really seem to net them good value here.

              I’m not even taking a shit on AA here, so I’m not sure why people are getting defensive. I agree; we don’t have the full details and there’s a lot we don’t know. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to right this off as something crazy and not a missed opportunity where Anthopoulos had absolutely no chance.

  10. Fister for a bag of peanuts.
    AA could easily have topped that offer.
    Seems like a lot of GM’s got caught sleeping.

  11. I thought AA inquired on everyone?

    • And you know that he didn’t?

      • If he didn’t, that’s a problem

        If he did, and couldn’t/wouldn’t top the Nats’ offer,
        that, too, is a problem.

        No way he or any other GM should get a free pass on that.

      • No, I don’t know that. However, assuming he did inquire one would have to think that he would have been able to offer a better package. I’m not buying the whole not trading him to the AL thing. It doesn’t make sense to not trade a player within your league, assuming it’s a better package, to avoid facing him a handful of times.

        • Your assumptions are nonsense, both of you.

          There are more possibilities than the ones you guys are outlining in your rush to have something to be angry about.

          • Hey, I understand there are countless scenarios here and I am a little angry that a player of his calibre went to a team that wasn’t the jays for so little.

            But to be fair all anyone is doing here is making assumptions.

          • Your unwavering support of AA is admirable.
            Irrational; but admirable.

            It was common knowledge Detroit was looking to move a pitcher (likely Porcello)
            A team like the Blue Jays, desperately in need of pitching,
            had to be engaged in an ongoing dialogue with Detroit.

            Fister, 2nd time arbitration eligible at about $7m
            would have been a very good pickup….and all he cost was spare parts.
            Hard to believe there will be a better pickup at a more reasonable price.

            As Ricky would say, “You got some ‘splainin’ to do Lucy.”

            • You’re calling someone else irrational after those leaps of logic? Seriously?

              • It’s done now so it doesnt matter. But there are all kinds of scenarios that could explain it. Dombrowski may have demanded specific pieces from AA that he would not part with. Or he may have had much higher price from all AL teams and a higher one still from AL central teams. Immediately dumping on AA because we assume he didnt do his due diligence is a bit much; partricularly when he’s already stated (after missing out on Chapman) that he would.

  12. Switch Izturis for Goins in Stoetens hypothetical and it beats the Nats package to hell.

    Fuck. Give them whatever reliever they want if Loup isn’t their thing.

    Weird deal.

    • Does it? Why the fuck would a team wanting to shed salary look to take a $7-million commitment to Izturis?

      • Detroit is built to win now. Izturis is a better bet for a utility guy on a win now team than Lombardozzi. Of course he’s a little pricier too.

        Detroit just shed millions in salary with Fielder. Can’t imagine they needed the extra $7 mill from Fister that badly this year…. But it certainly looks like it.

        Even if they did I can’t see how they didn’t land more in this deal.

        • About $18-million savings over two years. Probably not going to undo $7M of that for a utility guy.

          • Obviously you’re right but it still blows me away.

            The Fielder deal likely makes them a little weaker…. But with massive cost savings that we thought would be used to upgrade elsewhere. For a team with such a strong roster this made too much sense.

            The “cost conscious” Detroit Tigers. Who knew?

      • Jays can eat salary too, they’ve done it before. Salary isn’t holding up an AA deal.

  13. Remember how teams were pissed the Jays/Marlins deal went down supposedly without any indication those guys were available beforehand? Same deal here, I’d guess. Still hard to grasp why any team willing to shop quality big league pieces wouldn’t do a better job of canvassing the entire league, but so go these things I suppose.

  14. 27 supposed-geniuses… and ruben amaro. LOL.

  15. Really needed to get Fister last year.
    Would have had Johnson, Fister, Dickey and Wang.

  16. And here I am leaving comments on the last thread. Stupid me for not refreshing the whole site.

    Thanks for the post Andrew. Good stuff…

    As far as pointless imagining of Jays comps go, you could replace Goins with Pillar/Sierra I suppose because Lombardozzi I guess PHs and plays backup OF on a terrible-hitting team…

    • Infielder, though.

      • Yeah. I saw 2B/PH/LF and tried to extrapolate to our bench, but intake your point.

        Amazing fact i saw online beyond the WAR calc for this year is that among qualified SPs, Doug Fister ranks 9th in fWAR over last three years, between Price and Hamels.

  17. I agree with Stoeten. AA should have traded Loup, Nolin and Goins for Fister because he’s good and the Blue Jays need good pitchers.

    • I didn’t really say that, though. Making trades isn’t like shopping for groceries– the other team has to want your capital, and if Detroit was being very narrow about their needs, or they were way higher on Ray or Krol than the consensus, or if they just wanted to be very quiet about it and not create a saga, or if they wanted to keep him out of the way of their AL competition, there’s not a whole lot that could have been done.

      You’d like to think that a LOT of teams could have done a lot better than this. That they didn’t is very telling, to me, about how it probably went down, and how badly we’re missing the point if we’re just raging about Anthopoulos having some kind of failure here. It’s just not quite so simple, necessarily– MAYBE it was and a bunch of teams just fucked up royally, including the Jays, but we have no idea.

      • I get that we know basically nothing about how this went down, but what’s the rush to deal Fister? Given all the talk about the cost of pitching and teams planning on waiting out the market to maximize value for their trade pieces, the timing of trading a guy like Fister for a package like that is just bizarre.

        • This is an excellent question.

          In no way do I want to come off like I’m defending the deal– it’s fucking weird. I’m just saying that the rush to the conclusion that every other GM must have, or at least should have, known or should have been able to beat the price is misguided at best. (Not accusing you of saying I’m not, by the way.)

          • Isn’t the timing about arbitration? (Which is still weird because I’m sure the Tigers could still have gotten this package from the Nats with Fister already having his arb award.) But it probably has to do with the timing of arbitration and the rest of Dombrowski’s budget and he wants to use the $7 mil to sign a FA and Ilitch won’t let him spend that money if it’s already tied up with Fister??

            Another possibility – Dave Cameron mentions it too – is that a lot GMs just Fister’s been lucky and don’t think he’s that good because they can’t see past his FB velocity? And of course the other possibility is that he’s hurt and Dombrowski and Rizzo both know it and Dombrowski knows he wouldn’t get a better offer for a guy who would fail his physical.

  18. The PRICE is right Mr. Anthopoulos.

    • Never happening. Stop.

      • Agree 100%. No G.M. is trading a recent Cy Young to a team in their own division. And the amount of young players it would take would border on insane to unplausible.

        • Could always do the old 3 way with a reach around.

        • Who is Roger Clemens?

          • It was the Jay’s who traded him to the Yankees, because that was his choose destination. At this point in time, given how competitive this division is, and how much fans would be maddened to face their ex ace, which in Tampa’s case, they really can’t afford to lose anymore fans. I would also expect, that if they were going to trade within the division, it would only raise the price, in terms of prospects and controllable assets, that that alone would effect the future of your club, and the payroll if you want to fill controllable players with players that are going to help you win. The thought of baseball front offices has evolved more in the last 15 years since the Clemons deal was made, that makes this conversation pointless. Tampa is going to look for a way to garner as much for their stud pitcher, all the while trying to stay competitive, which likely would not be attractive to have to face a player who will be more than motivated to shut your team down when ever given such an opportunity.

            Mind you, I didn’t think that a highly coveted pitcher like Fister would be traded for three throw ins in a winter where pitching is such a costly premium, but I think Price to the Jays is way beyond a pipe dream. The Rays won’t agree to a three way trade, and I find it highly unlikely that a team that would put together a package of players, probably mostly prospects, would then flip a Price for a bunch of prospects that they are less familar with. None of this makes since. The Jays have a better chance of signing Cano, then landing Price in a trade.

      • Dream Crusher. Stop.

  19. One of the worst trades ever.

  20. I saw this comment (paraphrased) on MLBtraderumours and laughed a little too hard – “Seems like Detroit traded Fister for cash considerations, which turned out to be zero dollars” hahaha.

  21. I’m curious if GMs, or any major front office people check Twitter after they make a trade, and think, “ssssshhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitt”

  22. Weird, my nose just started bleeding…

  23. Looks like AA got fisted…

  24. I realize there is a ton of scenarios…none of us were there. I just wanted to say AA got fisted…

  25. Keith Law also alluding to the possibility of Fister not being available to the Jays.

    Tigers had to ask. RT @markdavo4: @keithlaw wish the jays offered for fister. Could surely have matched/bettered this.

  26. I wonder what the cubs think about this one… fister >> samardzija… both two years of control… does this pull the rug out from under that market?

    • Can’t imagine it changes at all.

      If I’m the cubs im not suddenly going to lower my price.

    • I was wondering the same thing. Then again, if Epstein doesn’t get his “number,” there’s nothing to save he has to move Samardzija.

      The thing is, it’s hard to say how one trade will set the market for another because just as often each transaction is so different from every other one.

  27. I think the only logical explanation is that either:

    1) the Tigers really like that double A starter they got and project him to be better than a back end starter

    2) Fister might have some sort of injury that GMs know about but the rest of the general public doesn’t…

  28. Tigers knew the replacement level utility infielder market was slim this year

    Shows how bad Izturis is viewed???

  29. Or maybe having a good pen is good?

  30. What is Detroit doing?? First Feilder for Kinsler, the latter being someone who I’m not a fan of and who’s numbers have dropped dramatically since regular drug testing, now this. It seems to be a trend in MLB of teams giving players larger than life contracts, then trading them within two years, but this Fister deal for a small package of marginal prospect/mlb players has got me dumb founded. They surely could have, would have netted a better package if they had explored the trade market with more patience. And what about his advisors, scouts, front office personnel that surely must have weighed in on their thoughts about this deal. Wow. With the price of pitching, you’d think they could net at least one highly regarded prospect, or a young budding star. Just…. Wow!!!

    • Dumping the Fielder salary after getting a bunch of value out of him at the front end of the contract, and then saving money to re-sign Scherzer and Cabrera, while improving a poor infield seems like a pretty terrific trade to me.

      This one though is batty.

      • I can understanding the dumping of the salary, while replacing Infante, at the same time allowing Cabera to move back to first. I’m probably just bias to not being a fan of Kinsler’s, but I seriously don’t think it made them any better at all. He may not have hit for power as much in the past, and is the younger of the two, who will be thirty for this upcoming season, and will probably mash the fuck out of the ball in Texas. Then, as you said, this Fister deal makes no sense at all. I understand wanting to keep the core of the rotation together, but power bats are hard to replace, if they even plan too. I know he has a rich contract, but is this teams plans when they sign these crazy contracts. Give them lots of money to come here, back load it, get some value out of it, then trade them before the meat of the deal is owed. Did he not have a little more value? It just looks like they’re taking a huge step backwards here.

  31. Well our lucks finally starting to change, last year it would have been the Red Sox that picked him up.

    Don’t we all feel better now…….

  32. Anyone considered that maybe the jays don’t have the money to spend on fister? They are already at their payroll max and just forked over 4 mil for navarro. Great move giving happ that extension.

  33. According to Dave Cameron on Twitter, a bunch of other teams he’s talked to didn’t even know this was happening, so that supports Stoeten’s point about this maybe getting done quietly and not being the kind of thing AA could have acted on to begin with…

  34. And why would detroit not want to trade with the jays. The jays have not made the playoffs for 20 years so it’s highly unlikely we are any threat to them coming off a last place finish. Also they traded fielder to texas who are a threat so…

    • They’re probably not so dumb as to look at the last 20 years instead of the current roster before deciding if a team is a threat.

      Fielder may have been different because of all the money they saved, or also because maybe they think there’s something fundamentally wrong there that’s not coming back.

      All kinds of reasons not to be ridiculous about this.

      • The current roster finished in last place. I highly doubt that anyone is scared of the jays when there are so many better teams to worry about.

  35. cecil, stroman and kenny wilson or goins…for fister i wouldve been happy doing that… how the hell did the jays let alone anyone else miss out on this garage sale?

  36. terrible idea on keeping the cards close to his chest…

  37. Some random, totally non-credible comment on the thread for the MNF game claims Arencibia was traded to the Marlins.

    I’m going to wait till someone with the remotest shred of credibility says something, but I figure we’re hungry enough for speculation it might be worth passing on.

  38. Oh for fucks sake where the hell are all these stupid comments coming from. How can anyone think that AA knew about this and just said oh well there’s no sense in me calling, I’ll just sit here in my office as we have no money and no trade prospects.
    I have never read so many stupid comments in my life.

  39. I have nothing at all to base this on but maybe the return was low becaus

    • *because they didn’t want to trade within the AL. This isn’t the Fielder situation where you have a limited market, they may have planned to send him some place where he wouldn’t strengthen direct competition.

  40. So is it just one hour left to wait on whether the Jays will non tender JPA?

  41. garza’s stats per catcher

    A.J. Pierzynski 9 55.0 30 4.91

    Welington Castillo 5 27.1 19 6.26

    Geovany Soto 4 29.1 11 3.38

    Dioner Navarro 6 43.2 6 1.24

  42. Lombardozzi has been solid for washington did you stop to think he is a good guy to have around if young 3rd baseman struggles or Kinsler gets injured like he usually does and plays 120-130 games. I personally wanted Jays to go after him to play second I think he could be an everyday player

  43. Does anyone feel like this trade could depress the current starters’ market? Like, would any GM make a low ball offer on an available starter based on the rationale that Fister brought back so little in return?

  44. Posted this in the wrong comments thread, but:

    Daniel Hudson non-tendered by the D-bags.

    FIP and xFIP suggest that he’s been kind of unlucky. Another 5th starter type to bring in cheap? I have never seen the guy, so have no idea what his arsenal is really like… Seems like a good buy-low candidate with some injury troubles in his recent past.

    • just about to post same thing

      do it up AA!

    • tommy john surgery x2 since he last pitched in the bigs… could be a buy low… but probably the type of guy you’d like to come to ST on a minor league deal.

      • You’d prefer that, sure, but for talent, you may as well give him a major league roster spot — Redmond is a fringey guy who may be OK with us, but I wouldn’t feel THAT bad about exposing Rogers or one of the other super-depth guys — if AA likes what he sees here.

  45. Well JPA is a non-tender

  46. JPA a free agent

  47. Maybe Cabrera’s hurt worse than we think and the Tigers think they need to blow it all up and do a rebuild?

    I can’t understand the moves the Tigers have been making unless they’re trying to shed salary and restock the farm.

  48. for those saying “i thought AA asked about everyone”

    he obviously doesn’t fuckin ask about everyone, either he didn’t value fister OR felt the price would be too high OR that he wasn’t available.

    I’m pretty sure he’s not calling the angels to ask about trout. it didn’t make sense for the tigers to do this, which is probably why there’s 28 teams wondering wtf gives

  49. [...] Andrew Stoeten at DJF asks how did Alex Anthopoulos fail to beat the Washington Nationals meager offer for front-end starter Doug Fister? [...]

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