Whoa: Nationals Reportedly Acquire Doug Fister from the Tigers – Considerable Implications Here (UPDATE)

washington nationals logoThis offseason is seriously going to be full of exciting trades, isn’t it?

According to Chris Cotillo, and later confirmed by Ken Rosenthal (does someone have a job offer lined up for Cotillo yet?), the Washington Nationals have picked up their front-end arm in the form of Doug Fister, coming over from the Detroit Tigers. The return is not yet known, but it’s going to be steep.

The Nationals have been in the market for a big-time arm for a while now, and the Tigers have been looking to trade an arm, but I don’t think anyone saw this particular trade coming. Fister, 29, is under control for two more seasons, and has been fantastic since coming to the Tigers back in 2011, by way of the Mariners (WAR the last three years: 5.2, 3.5, 4.6 – dude is legit). The Tigers were instead believed to be shopping Rick Porcello, or, to a lesser extent, Max Scherzer (who is a free agent after 2014).

The implications here are manyfold, and they mostly relate to Jeff Samardzija. First – and not related to Samardzija – the Nationals are out of the market for another arm, meaning they won’t be signing any free agent starters. Second – and related to Samardzija – the Nationals are out of the market for another arm, meaning they won’t be trading for Samardzija.

Getting to a more nuanced level, the impact to the Samardzija market is interesting here. On the one hand, the Cubs lose the Nationals as a possibility (if they’re looking to trade Samardzija, that is), and there was a plausible connection there. On the other hand, Porcello and Scherzer are now off of the market, meaning that the competition has decreased. I’m thinking this is a net positive for the Samardzija market.

Once we learn the return in the deal, the impact on a Samardzija trade could be even more significant here, given the parallels in Fister’s and Samardzija’s value (big righties with two years of control and great peripherals – though Samardzija is a year younger). So, I suppose when I said the return “is going to be steep,” I meant to say: “Let’s hope it’s steep.”

UPDATE (7:25pm): Early indications suggest an extremely, shockingly weak package. So I’m not even going to share them, because there’s no way the return is this small. *inserts fingers in ears, closes eyes*

UPDATE 2 (7:33pm): With the Nationals announcing the trade, I’ve got to open my eyes and unplug the ears. It’s Fister for meh utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi, decent young reliever Ian Krol, and organizational top ten pitching prospect Robbie Ray. That’s it. I am without speech. There should have been 28 – literally 28 – other teams lining up to blow that offer out of the water. Is there something wrong with Fister that we’re not aware of? If not, the expected return in any Samardzija deal just took a considerable dive. Fister is arguably better than Samardzija, and he just netted the Tigers a worse package than the Cubs got for two months of Matt Garza.

UPDATE 3 (8:44pm): This is going to vex my entire night. I’m trying to contextualize this package in Cubs terms. It’s not a perfect overlay, but something like Junior Lake, Justin Grimm, and Kyle Hendricks. That’s the range you’re looking at for that Nationals package, which got them two years of a cost-controlled starter who put up the 9th highest WAR total for starting pitchers *in all of baseball* over the past three years. I can’t recall a worse trade in recent memory. Here’s hoping that it’s so bad – and perceived by everyone to be so bad – that it has no impact on the trade value of Samardzija. Not because I want the Cubs to trade him, mind you. But I’d like them to have options that look a hell of a lot better than that Nats package.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

174 responses to “Whoa: Nationals Reportedly Acquire Doug Fister from the Tigers – Considerable Implications Here (UPDATE)”

  1. Andy

    Good for Cotillo being so young and all that but he’s such an amateur. At least he was about a year ago when I followed him before I got fed up with him constantly retweeting fake player accounts for truth.

  2. MichiganGoat

    I wonder if the Tigers are preparing to sneak in on Tanaka with a monster bid that nobody is expecting. The owner is not afraid to spend any of his money for the chance to win the WS before he dies. They could also be ready to sign Garza or Santana for big contract.

  3. Blackhawks1963

    Good trade for both clubs. Smyly moves into the Detroit rotation and Washington gets a # 4 starter, meaning they are done having any prospective interest in Samardzija. Which is not so good for is because I wan Spellcheck gone to the highest bidder.

  4. Rebuilding

    I think this is bad news. I assume its going to be Taylor Jordan, Lucas Giolito and possibly Brian Goodwin. Exactly what I would want for Samardzija. Unfortunately Fister is a lot better than Samardzija.

    FIP (and Fister is in the AL):

    2011: Fister 3.02 Shark 3.66
    2012: Fister 3.42 Shark 3.55
    2013: Fister 3.26 Shark 3.77

  5. Rebuilding

    The Nationals rotation is now ridiculous when healthy

  6. AdamAE24

    Also keep in mind the Cubs can just hold on to Samardzija and make him available at the deadline.

  7. jh03

    I can’t wait until you have Cotillo on the BN Podcast. He’s legit.

  8. Patrick G

    Couldn’t you make the argument that the Nats could still be in play for shark? After no top prospects going to Detroit, the Nats could be desperate to win now especially after their abysmal season last year. Also, with Lomardozzi gone, could Barney make sense defensively for them since they have a pretty good offense?

    1. Rebuilding

      Rendon is their 2nd baseman

      1. Patrick G

        True didn’t think of him, but still see Shark as a possibility

  9. North Side Irish

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 2m
    Possible package: Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray and Ian Krol to #Tigers for Fister. #Nationals

    This would disappointing…

    1. jh03

      If that’s the package, I don’t want to trade Shark at all.

      1. Rebuilding

        If that’s the package then we should have been after Fister

        1. jh03

          Yeah, that too.

        2. Luke

          If that’s the package every team in baseball should have been in on Fister, and the Detroit GM has some explaining to do.

          1. Rebuilding


          2. Jason Powers

            Dave Dombrowski must see something we dont. Or know something we dont.

        3. YourResidentJag

          Yep, and Shark’s not going to Wash. Sorry. Close the book on them.

    2. Chad

      It surely doesn’t help the situation. Perhaps an extension is possible now. Hey, does that help with the Anderson situation?

    3. matty ice

      I never believed the top 30 prospect plus was realistic return for shark. This would definitely put that talk to rest

  10. Frank

    Exciting offseason for everyone but the cubs so far. Is it bad that I envy the TWINS???

    1. TWC

      Right. If “everyone” means the small handful of teams who have done more than waver trades and 40-man roster moves.

  11. North Side Irish

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 2m
    Source: #Cubs non-tender Mat Gamel

  12. Voice of Reason

    If that’s all the nationals gave up then the cubs should have made a play for fister.

    1. FarmerTanColin

      Every team should have made a play for Fister. There’s no way that is the final package.

  13. North Side Irish

    Julie DiCaro ‏@JulieDiCaro 1m
    Source: #Cubs more optimistic about re-signing Samardzija than they were a week ago.

    Well yeah…once they saw what the Tigers got for Fister…

    1. YourResidentJag

      She’s always held that position. She’s doesn’t want him traded no matter what. Nothing new from her.

  14. North Side Irish

    Washington Nationals ‏@Nationals 2m
    The #Nats have acquired Doug Fister from the #Tigers in exchange for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol & Robbie Ray: http://bit.ly/1as4ZeB

    1. YourResidentJag

      Wow and what the hell.

  15. YourResidentJag

    Well, no Porcello to Cubs. :(

  16. Tyler

    Okay this isn’t exactly related but I’m having a problem and I’m wondering if anyone else here has had it and knows how to fix it:

    I have SMS notifications set up with Twitter so I get texts when any of the major baseball reporters/insiders tweet, and so I know about big baseball news on the dot no matter where I am.

    Problem is, I recently screwed something up, and now I get text notifications AND push notifications, which is really, really annoying. Does anyone have a solution?

    Also, a Nationals rotation of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Fister, Gonzalez and Roark is just plain unfair. If they stay healthy and get some good offensive production from Zimmerman/LaRoche/Harper/Desmond, they will run away with this baseball season.

    1. YourResidentJag

      I see them making a run at Choo or Ellsbury.

  17. YourResidentJag

    Looks like Yanks won’t offer Cano $200 mil contract per Jeff Passan.

    1. Blackhawks1963

      Cano’s dice are in a vise. He would be wise to quickly accept the Yankee offer of around $160 M (per reports that’s what their offer is said to approximate). Yankees are the only team with the appetite to pay Cano big money right now.

  18. North Side Irish

    David Cameron ‏@DCameronFG 31s
    Pretty much everyone I talk to agrees that Texas gave up more for two months of Garza than WAS gave up for two years of Fister.

    1. TWC

      Dude. I assume you’re posting these twit-bits here as a service to those who read BN but don’t have twitter, but c’mon. It’s getting old.

      1. Jon

        You know what’s getting old? Your sanctimonious attitude. Have you ever posted anything that wasn’t a criticism of another member? Your first original baseball thought will be your first

        1. TWC

          ::hugs for Jon::

      2. North Side Irish

        Sorry…was just trying to share information and items I thought would be interesting to other Cubs fans. Feel free to skip them if it’s not your thing.

        1. Cerambam

          I actually enjoy the tweets being posted here. I follow almost everyone, but now and then I miss a tweet. Also it is nice to read comments and tweets mixed in together. Not to mention it is so very very easy to skip the comments if you don’t like them. He isn’t trolling, and he is proving thoughtful information that others may have missed.

        2. CC

          I appreciate the info North Side.

      3. Jason P

        I don’t know what your talking about, I enjoy the twitter bits.

  19. Jon

    And I thought my package was small, wow!

  20. Blackhawks1963

    Lets examine the “contender” market for starting pitching…
    NYY – need two starters, or as Cashman says 400 innings
    BAL – in the market for a starter, or so they say
    CLE – need a starter since they are losing Jimenez and Kazmir
    LAA – desperately need a quality starter
    PIT – looking for a starter, plus not sure Burnett is coming back (may retire)
    ARZ – looking for a frontline starter

    And the “pretender” market for starters…
    TOR – say they want a top starter

    Available arms in free agency…
    Garza, Jimenez, maybe Tanaka (who is going to the Yankees and we all know it)

    Available arms in trade…
    Brian Anderson, Homer Bailey, Kyle Lohse

  21. Joey

    So a Cubs comp would be Valbuena, Rob Zastryzny and someone like Pedro Strop/Justin Grimm? Maybe the Tigers are bidding big on Tanaka?

    1. David

      Zaz isn’t allowed to be traded until mid season so that isn’t a fair comp.

      1. When the Music's Over

        It was a simple example.

  22. Cerambam

    Though it’s a disappointing return, perhaps we’re looking at this from the wrong angle. Maybe the front office just actuslly got an amazing haul for 2 months of garza as opposed to this trade being very weak?

    1. Luke

      It’s hard to rationalize this trade against the rest of the offseason pitching market, let alone the Garza trade.

  23. YourResidentJag

    So, do the Cubs pick up Jerome Williams as a swing man/long reliever?

    1. Blackhawks1963

      God no. I’ve seen him pitch and he is human batting practice on those days when he can’t locate.

  24. Jon

    How bad(or good) does this make the James Shields deal look?

    1. Luke

      For which team?

      The Shields deal still looks like an awful, awful move for Kansas City. That’ll be the deal trotted through the lead paragraph when KC finally flushes out that front office.

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Dayton Moore just got a 2 year extension.

  25. Kramden

    More of an urgency now for other contenders to respond to what the Nats just acquired….

    Meaning that Shark just became more valuable and urgent to those contenders…..

    Meaning the return for Shark will be greater than what was gotten for Fister.

    1. Luke

      That shouldn’t be hard.

      The strange part is that the return could be better than Detroit got for Fister and still be markedly worse than the Cubs got for Garza.

      And if the best the Cubs can do, using the Fister deal as a measuring stick, is, say, 2/3rds a Garza return, is the return worth moving Samardzija?

      1. hansman

        I think we have an explanation for them slow playing the market on Samardzija.

  26. Blackhawks1963

    Peter Gammons just said…and I agree…that the market for Jimenez and Garza is heating up very rapidly and both guys may have new homes within a matter of 72 hours. Got to believe one of them ends up with the Yankees. Santana wants insane money, and he just might get it too. Which I’ll laugh at the team that gives it to him.

  27. Josh

    Very disappointing offseason already for the Cubs. Had some really solid players sign cheap deals in Hughes, and Hughes. Then to also not get in on a trade like this is just extremely disappointing. Would have loved to snatch up Fister, and as many have said this is way less than what he is worth. Isn’t this what the Cubs said they would do? Buy low.

    1. Blackhawks1963

      Again, I’d love to understand the wondrous scouting perspective some of you have on Krol and Ray to say with conviction that Washington acquired Fister on the cheap. Name me one time where Dombrowski got owned in a trade too. Krol and/or Ray must have strong appeal to Detroit.

  28. Soda Popinski

    Wow! This is a head-scratcher. Surely there’s a catch…

  29. Danno

    I am starting to get even more unsettled as this offseason wears on. As a 30 year fan of the Cubs, it’s disappointing to think that a small market team like the Twins, who are no closer to contending than we are, are signing free agents of some note while the Cubs are signing everyone else’s spare parts and leftovers. I really feel that anymore it’s not when we contend and are consistent winners. It’s IF, they ever get to that point.

  30. Serious Cubs Fan

    Damn…. Samaradzija’s trade market just shrunk….

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