Now — starting pitcher Doug Fister. Tigers' general manager Dave Dombrowski has proven that he’ll continue to wheel and deal until that first World Championship comes home to Detroit.
In a rather surprising fashion yesterday, the Tigers dealt Fister to the Washington Nationals for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, relief pitcher Ian Krol and young starting pitcher Robbie Ray.
While from the surface it looks like the Tigers are just doing more salary cap clearing (see the Prince Fielder trade for Ian Kinsler), this trade might be more than that. Krol pitched very well out of the Nationals’ bullpen last year finishing with a 3.95 ERA in 27.1 innings. Ray, who’s yet to appear in a game in the majors, was the Nationals’ No. 5 prospect by Baseball America earlier this year.
Lombardozzi is the weakest piece of this deal, but the deal serves one more purpose: the Tigers can move Drew Smyly from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Smyly — by far the Tigers most successful and consistent left-handed reliever last season — seems primed for a breakout year as a full-time starter. And Detroit has desperately needed a quality left-handed hurler
especially considering Kenny Rogers was the organization’s most recent.
And following the Fielder trade, this move also sets Dombrowski up with a little more bank roll to sign (or in the Tigers’ case, sign an extension) a big-name free agent (see current Tigers’ pitcher Max Scherzer). Scherzer has one more year left in his contract, and after winning the 2013 Cy Young award, won’t be cheap to acquire if he hits the open market.
As of right now, the only thing we know for sure is that the Tigers a consistent starter. However, if Dombrowski has proven anything in his time as GM, it’s that the man should be trusted. His foresight coupled with his ability to get the best of other teams makes him one of the best in the game — which he obviously is, as it seems like he’s a legitimate candidate for the MLB commissioner job in a few years.
So for the time being, let’s just sit back and watch. Maybe Krol and Ray will be just what the doctored ordered. Dombrowski probably isn’t even done yet; with a little spare change now, the sky’s the limit.