Oct 15, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) addresses the media prior to game three of the American League Championship Series baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#4: Trading Doug Fister
For some, this one would be #1 on their list. No one will ever get over the Doug Fister trade. Comb through Tigers’ Twitter during any game, win or lose, and you’ll be hard-pressed to not find someone using Fister’s name as a rallying cry when something bad happens.
There was actually some logic behind the trade. The Detroit Tigers were facing arbitration hell during the 2014-2015 seasons. Fister, Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Alex Avila and several others were all eligible for arbitration and Fister was going to cost a pretty penny for a one-year salary in both offseasons before reaching free agency in 2016.
It’s funny to think back after this year, but the Tigers viewed their starting pitchers as overflowing with riches. Justin Verlander had an average 2013 regular season, but was coming off a sparkling postseason. The team has the intention of retaining Max Scherzer. Anibal Sanchez had come off a season leading the American League in ERA and Drew Smyly was poised to grab a rotation spot.
So Fister was expendable. Trading Fister is not at issue, it’s who they got for him.
The righty, picked up from the Seattle Mariners at the 2011 trading deadline, helped the team win their first division title since 1987 and was also strong throughout the regular season and postseason of 2012 and 2013. He appeared to be an emerging star and was still relatively young.
The return for Fister from the Washington Nationals was mid-range prospects Robbie Ray and Ian Krol along with AAAA-caliber utility man Steve Lombardozzi. Certainly Fister deserved a major league in return and/or a high prospect. This was one of the few deals that Dombrowski ever made that baseball experts scratched their head wondering why DD would make that move.
Lombardozzi never played in a regular season game for the Tigers, flipped for Alex Gonzalez (who was released less than a month into the 2014 season). Ray was shelled here last year and was traded for Shane Greene (which looked early on to be a big win, not so much anymore). Krol, of course, can’t do the one job he needs to do–get lefties out.
Fister has struggled a lot this season with injuries and inconsistency and has been pushed to the bullpen, but he had a career year in 2014 with the Nats.
Next: Letting Placido Polanco walk