Imported from Detroit

The Nats traded Lombardozzi, Krol, and minor-league pitcher Robby Ray for Detroit starting pitcher Doug Fister. It’s official. 

I can’t even begin to process this trade. It was so unexpected. And, on its face, it is amazing.

Here’s what the Nats acquired in Fister. Since 2009, Fister has an ERA of 3.53 and a FIP of 3.68.  That would automatically give him the second-best FIP among Nats starters–only Strasburg is better. His repertoire means that he induces more ground balls–and since 2009, he has a ground ball rate of 49.3%. That would be the highest among Nats starters. He has 1.81 BB/9–the lowest walk rate of any of the Nats pitchers. He has a slightly worse strikeout-to-walk ratio than Jordan Zimmermann (Fister: 3.46 K/BB, JZ 3.64 K/BB).

And consider that Fister has performed very well over the years as a ground ball pitcher with an infield that is sometimes comically inept: the Tigers were 9th in the AL in UZR, mostly because of a lack of range.

Now imagine Fister dealing groundballs with the Nats infield–a defense that, even with its woes in 2013, was still a good dozen runs better than the Tigers. Imagine a still-more efficient Nats infield, armed with the knowledge of the tendencies of opposing hitters, reinforced with better advance scouting and more intelligent defensive alignments. Imagine Ian Desmond gunning down runners.

Imagine it and smile, Nats town, because that’s the promise.

Yeah, I like this trade.

Now if only Rizzo would sign Robinson Cano and sign Rakuten Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka….

Silly Season

I went ahead and checked the #nats hashtag on twitter for the first time in ages.

Bad choice. Some damn fool is out there ranting about how Storen shouldn’t be back with the Nats, and looking at Rafael Soriano, the Yankees’ reliever, as a possible “savior.” This is the stupidest thing I have read in many weeks.

Go ahead. Compare Storen with Soriano head-to-head since 2010. They’re not all that different from one another, actually. So, on the surface, it doesn’t seem like an implausible suggestion, if, for instance, Storen were to be injured or otherwise unavailable.

But consider that according to Cot’s Contracts, Soriano would be owed some $14 million in 2013. If he takes a $1.5 million buyout and becomes a free agent, it’s safe to assume that Rafa Soriano would demand a contract at least as generous as the one the Yankees had given him, and perhaps even more so. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say the Nats could sign him for whatever the Yankees would be due to pay him–14 million.

Now let’s look at Drew Storen. According to Cot’s, Storen made $498,750 in 2012. He’s arbitration-eligible this year, so he’ll be owed a raise in arbitration. We don’t know how much of a raise Storen will get [I'm hoping to figure that out in a few weeks--watch this space!], but let’s just stipulate right now that no arbitration panel could possibly award Storen a $14 million salary for next year.

One more thing, too: Drew Storen is 25 years old. Rafa Soriano is 32 years old.

So, you’re left with a choice between two substantially similar pitchers. One of them will cost you 14 million. The other will cost you, hell, let’s just say he’ll cost you 2 million. Why would you pay seven times more to get substantially the same thing, but seven years older?

If you’re seriously thinking that this sort of transaction is a good idea, I can only conclude that you hit your head on something hard when you drank yourself to sleep after Black Friday’s blown save.