AL Notes: Fister Trade, Jimenez, Hardy, Correia

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs has ranked the ten best and worst transactions of the offseason. The number one spot on both lists goes to the trade that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals and returned Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol to the Tigers. Cameron argues that the deal is "the most lopsided trade we've seen in years," and notes that many observers are at a loss to understand it from Detroit's perspective. While the return for Fister certainly seems light, I tried to make some sense of the swap back in December, writing that the deal was a part (albeit a questionable one) of a massive overhaul of the club's future commitments that saved as much as $150MM in down-the-line salary while maintaining most of its present on-field quality.

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski endeavored to explain the trade from his perspective in an interesting interview with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He made clear that the team decided to deal one of its veterans for a good, young arm. "You can see that young pitching right now is very difficult to acquire," said Dombrowski. "We had a list of about 15 pitchers that we would consider in various deals. [Ray] was one of the 15. The other 14 people said no. And [the Nationals] said no at first." Nationals GM Mike Rizzo confirmed that the club was hesitant to part with Ray, even with Fister being dangled, saying that was "why the trade took 2 1/2 weeks to consummate."
  • Dombrowski rejected the claims made by other executives that they had not known of Fister's availability, saying instead that he encountered a hesitant market. "That couldn't be further from the truth," he said. "We had our list of around 15 guys. We went to every one of those clubs: 'Would you trade this guy? Would you trade that guy?' And none of them would trade one." When the deal started to take shape, Dombrowski said he decided to grab Ray while he could. "We thought: Do we make this deal now, which we like? Or do we wait and see what else becomes available? But then does Washington do something else? Does [the trade] end up not taking place?" As I wrote at the time, the timing of things seemed to play an important role in how the deal came together; indeed, the Tigers went on to sign Joe Nathan the very next day, adding a two-year commitment at slightly more than Fister figures to earn in that stretch.
  • The groundwork for the Orioles' signing of Ubaldo Jimenez was laid at the Winter Meetings when the starter and his agent met with new pitching coach Dave Wallace, executive VP Dan Duquette, and others, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun"Right there, I knew," said Jimenez. "They're really humble, really down-to-earth guys, and I knew it was going to be special to be in this organization. RIght there, I was like, 'Pretty much, this is the team I want to be with.' It's going to be a big part of my future for me and my family. The city is great and they have a competitive team. Those guys in the clubhouse look like they are great guys." Jimenez backed up his expressions of commitment by revealing that he would move his whole family — including his parents and sister — to Baltimore, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Though he is heartened by the club's moves and remains happy in Baltimore, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy says that he has heard nothing about an extension beyond what has been reported publicly, writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore"Even after FanFest, I thought something was going to happen right away because I think you guys were asking Dan [Duquette]," said Hardy. "He came up to me and said something about how we're going to start talking extension, but really nothing has happened. I don't know. Maybe they were waiting to do some of these other moves or something." Hardy, who could test the market next year, says that he is still interested in a new deal: "If they come to me with an extension, we'll definitely be open with trying to work that out."
  • Meanwhile, righty Kevin Correia of the Twins says that he would be interested in continuing to pitch in Minnesota when his two-year, $10MM deal expires after the season, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. But, said Correia, he has not had any talks about an extension to date. "They had a pretty busy offseason with the pitching staff, so we haven't really talked," he said. "I enjoy playing here. We talked to the effect of how my experience was here, how I enjoyed the team and the coaching staff and everything, but that's about as far as we've gotten." Correia, 33, does not offer much upside but delivered solid results for the Twins last year, logging 185 1/3 innings of 4.18 ERA ball. Of course, as Berardino notes, with three new starters under contract and several prospect arms expected to reach the bigs in short order, the veteran may not fit into the club's plans after this year and could become a mid-season trade piece.

44 Responses to AL Notes: Fister Trade, Jimenez, Hardy, Correia Leave a Reply

  1. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    Not buying Dombrowski’s story. The move surprised a lot of people and it’s difficult to imagine that another club couldn’t beat an offer of a mid-level prospect and change for Doug Fister.

    What is more believable is that Dombrowski really, really, really, likes Ray and overpaid for him, and now realizes that no one else thinks that highly of him and is embarrassed.

    • rikersbeard 1 year ago

      Agreed. DD is definitely spinning a tale here. He screwed up.

    • Croagnut 1 year ago

      Agree. The Dom supports his theory by pointing out Price and Samardzija were not able to be moved. Which begs the question, if there was no market, why was it so necessary to move Fister.

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        See the posts above. Smyly is in their future as a starter. Fister was not. They were hindering Smyly by keeping him in the pen.

    • Jeffy25 1 year ago

      The latter of what you said is what I believe.

      I’m sure ray is better than perceived. But he could have and should have tried to get more for fister who is a great pitcher.

    • Mr Pike 1 year ago

      Ray is in’s Top 100 list.

      • PXDX 1 year ago

        Fister is worth at least 2 top 100 prospects, he’s really good and a #2 on most teams. The issue is that DD didn’t get enough for him. Fister is about as good as Gio Gonzalez and Gio got 4 solid prospects, not 2 and a utl guy. Severe underpay by the Nats to get him, all MLB teams are jealous.

        • Jeffrey Smith 1 year ago

          No way he is worth 2 top 100, did you see what the Tigers gave up for him, worse then what they got back from Washington.

        • Mr Pike 1 year ago

          Gio was a 26 year old left handed all star when he was traded. The Nats extended him 3 weeks later for FIVE years which covered his arbitration eligible years. Five years and only $42 million. Doug is going to cost a lot more than that for the next five years.

    • FunkyTime 1 year ago

      That “mid-level prospect” is now the #1 starting pitching prospect in the Tigers system, and is nearly MLB ready. Guys like that are not easy to acquire, and if he pans out the Tigers will win this trade long term.

      Besides that, the deal was all about reducing payroll. They got 3 minimum wage players with many years of control back in exchange for a player that was 2 years away from free agency, and that was replaceable by players already on their roster, since they had 6 quality starting pitchers at the time.

      It’s not a great deal in a pure value sense, but the Tigers were clearly limited by a very tight budget this off-season. They cut all the salary they could and still had their payroll go up due to contract bumps. They did what they needed to do while still getting a young pitcher back that is expected to fill Fister’s role as the #3-#4 pitcher long term.

      Anyone that thinks that Dave Dombrowski doesn’t know what he’s doing, or that this was one of the worst trades in years, are just showing their ignorance about Dombrowski and the Tigers situation in general.

  2. 0vercast 1 year ago

    I have a feeling Correia is soon to be overpaid by some fringe-competitor NL team looking for an ‘innings-eating’, mediocre, veteran SP. I suspect he’ll be traded to that team by midseason.

    • Sky14 1 year ago

      He seems like the most obvious candidate to be traded to clear a spot for Gibson. Hope he performs well enough to get something decent back in return. Eventually Meyer and May will need a rotation spot too.

      • 0vercast 1 year ago

        I’m hoping Gibson steals that number 5 spot in the rotation, but I think it will likely be Deduno. I wouldn’t mind seeing Worley begin to earn his keep in the 5 spot either.

        • ea19 1 year ago

          Im guessing that it will be Deduno. He has good movement, but he needs to control that movement to be successful. Hope Gibson bounces back as it will be his 2nd year after Tommy John surgery. I don’t know what to think of Worley right now…..major disappointment last year. Maybe he will bounce back also

  3. Unassisted Triple Play 1 year ago

    The reality of the situation is that the tigers did not get a market value return for Doug Fister. Now if they take the stance of feeing up salary like most have viewed this move, then I guess there can be some justification. Either way I like this deal for the nationals and I don’t really think it’s all that close.

    • NoAZPhilsPhan 1 year ago

      Although most articles keep emphasizing the financial aspect according to DD in the Rosenthal story one of the other main reasons was to make room for Drew Smyly in the rotation. They have all RHSP and wanted a southpaw. They didn’t want Drew spending another year in the pen making the transition to fulltime starter even harder.

      • pastlives 1 year ago

        They literally should have released Porcello instead of making that trade, if their main goal was opening a rotation spot

        • NoAZPhilsPhan 1 year ago

          But that leaves a LH hole in the bullpen. The logic is Ray, as a southpaw, will fill Smyly’s spot

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            You mean Krol fills Smiley’s spot. Ray is in Toledo this year.

          • NoAZPhilsPhan 1 year ago

            Sorry I forgot to type eventually

        • Mr Pike 1 year ago

          Statistically Porcello was almost the equal of Fister last year and is 5 years younger.

      • Unassisted Triple Play 1 year ago

        Well this makes DD’s explanation even more puzzling. You’re saying what he is not. If they did this to free up a rotation spot fine, say that but that doesn’t mean you should settle for less than market value on a very reliable and proven rotation piece. Nationals win the trade even though both sides believe they can justify it.

  4. Hoosierdaddy92 1 year ago

    While the Fister trade really bothers me to this day as a Tigers fan, I am just going to trust Dombrowski’s history here. When he traded both Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson and received the unproven Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Max Scherzer and seemed like Daniel Schlereth was the highlight, I was livid. Turns out we received a Cy Young winner, a Gold Glove CF with 6 years of team control, and a great bullpen arm. Just gonna trust DD knows what he’s doing.

    That said, if teams were “so hesitant” to surrender young pitching, why was DD so eager to part with his proven young pitcher?

    • pastlives 1 year ago

      Lol what how was Schlereth ever the highlight of that trade

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        Actually, he’s not far off from the thinking at the time. The “experts” said Max was probably a set up guy at best because of his unrepeatable delivery and Jackson was a minor league strike out machine who probably wouldn’t hit in the majors. Phil Coke was Phil Coke. Schlereth had the most upside.

        • Hoosierdaddy92 1 year ago

          exactly what I was referring to. Daniel Schelereth seemed the safest bet to make an impact of the 4.

        • FunkyTime 1 year ago

          Jackson was the Yankees #1 prospect at the time and along with Scherzer was definitely considered the key to the deal at the time. But yes, each player had concerns about them.

          But much like this one it was a move that was largely about saving money at the time, and I argued with many Tigers fans in defense of it. This one isn’t near the blockbuster that that one was, but if you don’t look at the money you’re unable to see the full picture.

          The Granderson trade was really what they got in return PLUS Victor Martinez. They wouldn’t have been able to afford him otherwise. Just like this trade is effectively Fister for Ray, Krol, Lombardozzi, and Joe Nathan.

          And anyone that knows the Tigers knows that closer was a much much much bigger need than a #4 starter. (Not that Fister is a #4 on any other team, but he was on the Tigers, behind Verlander, Scherzer, and the AL’s leader in ERA in Sanchez)

    • Mr Pike 1 year ago

      He considers 22 young. Not 30.

      • Hoosierdaddy92 1 year ago

        I get that, but it’s not like Fister has that much mileage on his arm either. It seems to me like a proven #2/3 starter would be worth more than a potential “young arm”

    • Paul Shailor 1 year ago

      Yea I am a Tigers fan and I think we lost the deal, but in DD I trust. Dude has missed a few times but generally gets the better end of a trade. I will trust his scouts. I actually feel better about the trade after he says they had a list of 15 pitchers and went out and tried to get one of them. That leaads me to believe he knew exactly what he wanted and went out and got it. Also the fact that all the others said no leads me to believe that the 15 pitchers were good.

    • FunkyTime 1 year ago

      Fister is 30 years old. That’s not young in baseball. It’s usually about when a player starts to decline.

      Highly ranked prospects that are nearly MLB ready are what is very hard to acquire. 6 years of team control at a cheap rate is a very valuable thing to a team operating on a budget.

  5. Mr Pike 1 year ago

    The wisdom of the trade will become evident in 2 years when the Tigers sign free agent Fister and still have Ray, Krol and Lombardozzi. Fister wasn’t traded for life. He’s just on loan.

    • teddy 1 year ago

      nah he wants to go back home, he will sign with a west coast team, my guess now is the angels or doddgers.

      • Mr Pike 1 year ago

        Actually, I think you’re right. My comment was to emphasize this was a rental. The nats did not trade for Fister. They traded only for the next two years of Fister.
        The days of the Wil Myers rip off are over thanks to the new found revenue in free agency. The other GM’s wised up. That’s why Price never moved.

        • TheRealRyan 1 year ago

          I’m curious, when does a player stop becoming a rental? It’s not like Ray came to the Tigers with a lifetime contract either. In essence, the Tigers only have him for a 6 year rental. I ask because up until the last year or two, rental players always referred to guys that were traded midseason and were set to become FA after that season. I’ve now seen people throw that term around for players who have 2 1/2 years or more of control left.

          I’m just curious how many years of team control does it take for a player to stop being a “rental” player?

          • Mr Pike 1 year ago

            DD got 16 years of team control and gave up 2 for basically the same money. You are right. They are all rentals, the lease is just longer on some.
            With Fister it’s two years. He wants to go back to the west coast and with the new tv money will have no problem finding team to sign with.

      • Jeffrey Smith 1 year ago

        He grew up closer to Oakland and San Fran, bit he already played on the left coast with a pathetic Seattle team…..he wants to play for a winning team even if it’s thousands of miles away from his home.

  6. twins33 1 year ago

    Correia has served his purpose for the Twins. Hopefully he’ll be decent enough to be able to trade by mid-season. His spot belongs to Gibson/Meyer.

  7. Baloo 1 year ago

    Please extend Hardy. If we let Davis, Hardy, and Wieters all walk, I will cry. One of them at least has to stay in Baltimore. Hoping Davis but he will command a huge contract if his numbers keep up this year. Hardy is probably best bet, or Wieters since there’s really no good backstops in the game if his numbers stay on the lower end like they have.

  8. Unassisted Triple Play 1 year ago

    If Kevin Correia repeats his 2013 season (I have no reason to believe he won’t) the Twins did quite well with this signee. When he signed in 2012 there were A LOT of haters but so far he’s proved more than worthy!

    • ea19 1 year ago

      SOOO many people were quick to rip the Twins for the Correia signing….because he was given a 2-year contract!! 2 years for only 10 million, which was a steal for his 1st year production!! I don’t know why fans try to predict future production because baseball is VERY unpredictable!! Hopefully he pitches well enough by the deadline, so he can be moved

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  10. NoAZPhilsPhan 1 year ago

    All I am doing is relating what was reported elsewhere since most articles and post pertain to the financial aspect.

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