Monday, August 1, 2011

Doug Fister Trade Is Exactly What Tigers Needed

July 30th was a very busy day for the Detroit Tigers, they called up super-prospect Jacob Turner to make his major league debut and were in the midst of making a deal with the Seattle Mariners to bring two pitchers to the club.

Turner's debut was everything the Tigers could have wanted; he showed poise and skill against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and wasn't rattled when things got tense. However, Turner is not the answer to Detroit's problems this season, which is why General Manager Dave Dombrowski made a deal with the Mariners.

In the middle of the day last Saturday the Tigers announced that they had reached a deal with Seattle that would bring right-handed starter Doug Fister and right-handed reliever David Pauley to their team. In return Detroit sent left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells, third base prospect Francisco Martinez and a player to be named later to the Pacific Northwest.

Furbush had shown flashes of what he could become for the Tigers, he particularly excelled coming out of the bullpen in the sixth and seventh innings while struggling in his two starts. With further development Furbush could become an excellent reliever or a middle of the order starter without much trouble.

Wells proved that he could compete at the major league level, but right now the Tigers has a plethora of talented outfielders and had no room for him. When Wells was sent to Toledo a week ago to bring up Duane Below Manager Jim Leyland said he felt bad about doing it because Wells, didn't deserve to be sent down, but he was the odd man out. This trade is great for Wells as he will get a chance to play in the major leagues on a regular basis in Seattle.

Martinez was ranked as the Tigers No. 4 prospect, playing third base his trade may raise some eyebrows with the struggles of Brandon Inge and the trade for stop-gap Wilson Betemit. But, Detroit was looking farther down in their farm system, they felt that they could afford to trade Martinez away because they have Nick Catellanos in the wings developing into a third baseman Detroit can use.

Detroit received right-handed starter Fister in the deal, which will help to bolster their rotation. Fister does not have the most outstanding record, but keep in mind he was playing for the Mariners. This season he has a record of 3-12 but a 3.33 ERA and 1.171 WHIP. While in Seattle he got the least run support of any major league pitcher, meaning that when he pitches for a team like Detroit that can score runs, he should be racking up the wins.

Some have pointed out that he has only won three games away from Safeco Field in Seattle and have said that he will struggle pitching in Detroit. While Safeco is definitely a pitchers park, Comerica Park isn't exactly a bam box. Safeco has a park factor of .840 opposed to Comerica's .956, both of which prove that hitters don't exactly like playing in either stadium. A rate lower than 1.000 in park factors means the stadium favors the pitcher.

An added bonus to Fister is that he is not a rental player, he is signed for several seasons and is available for arbitration in 2013. Not to mention he becomes one of the lowest paid players on the Tigers roster, at $437k a year. While he may come cheap he will most certainly provide the Tigers with a solid arm that will help steady their rotation.

Also included in the trade was reliever David Pauley. Pauley is an excellent addition to Detroit's bullpen, he comes in with a 5-4 record and a 2.15 ERA and a .994 WHIP. His true value appears when his WAR is examined, to date he has a 1.7 WAR. This means that Pauley contributes 1.7 wins to his team through his efforts on the mound. 

While this deadline deal may not be the splashy deal that Tigers fans have become used to with Dombrowski at the helm, it has an opportunity to be one of the most worth-while. Detroit was able to add two solid arms to their team while not having to give up anyone from their starting lineup or top-prospect Jacob Turner. Look out for the 2012 Tigers rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister and Jacob Turner.

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