I was critical of the deadline deal that the Tigers put together for Doug Fister and David Pauley. I understood it, but Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and Francisco Martinez were solid prospects. The addition of Chance Ruffin as the player to be named later was an even bigger blow. All told, they gave up a lot, but could have done worse at the trading deadline. Like the Cleveland Indians did.
Cleveland gave up a king’s ransom of prospects (led by Alex White and Drew Pomeranz) for an NL pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, who hasn’t been that good for over a year. It was a desperation deal for a team that’s grasping for anything in a season spiralling out of control. It’s the equivalent of the Tigers giving up Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos for Jimenez, and the Rockies supposedly wanted more–Brennan Boesch, Turner, and Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer. Shut the front door! Fister had a solid first effort for the Tigers (2 ER in 8 innings for a win) while Jimenez was touched up in his debut (5 ER in 5 innings in a loss), both against the Rangers.
Even though I didn’t love the Tiger’s deal for Fister, it makes sense. The Jimenez trade would have made me irate if I rooted for the Indians. Jimenez has been an adequate starter in the NL this year, not spectacular like he was pre-break 2010. If he struggled against the NL this year, well, say hello to the DH. Meanwhile, Fister was buried in Seattle behind an atrocious offense, but pitched well enough on most nights to get a win. While Jimenez was by far the bigger name and biggest splash as a deadline pickup in the AL Central, no doubt in my mind that Fister was the better pickup.
He has a chance to back that claim up tonight in the series opener at Cleveland. A win won’t be a cake walk since he’s opposing Cleveland ace Justin Masterson, but Fister has pitched well against Cleveland this year. As a Mariner, Fister went 0-2 against the Tribe through no fault of his own. He had a 1.93 ERA in those two loses with 9 strikeouts and only 10 hits in 14 innings, better numbers than Masterson has posted against Detroit in his two starts vs. them.
While tonight is only one game, it’s a chance for Dave Dombrowski to begin to validate the long extension he received yesterday. If his trade deadline pickup can beat the Indian’s ace, on the road in August, maybe he deserved the extension. If Fister gets bombed tonight, and Jimenez shuts down the Tigers tomorrow…I wouldn’t tune to sports radio in Detroit on Thursday if I were Dombrowski.