Jeff Passan has something that makes no sense to me:
The presumed reason why Prince Fielder and Doug Fister were traded was so the Tigers could afford extensions for Max Scherzer. At the very least the Fister trade was based on the assumption that the Tigers’ pitching staff was strong enough to weather his absence. Because, hey, you got Mac Scherzer there.
Not that trading Scherzer while he’s at his most valuable is a bad move in a vacuum. He’s unlikely to ever be as good as he was in 2013 again and he is going to get expensive.
But if you’re thinking of trading him, why lose Fister first? That just seems nutty to me.
With Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury off the board, Shin-Soo Choo is the biggest name remaining in the free agent market. And it sounds like he could find a new home during this week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida:
Many have speculated that the Tigers could also be involved, though that’s not confirmed.
David Murphy recently signed a two-year deal with the Indians while Craig Gentry was dealt to the Athletics, so the Rangers have some big questions in left field. Michael Choice, who was acquired in the Gentry deal is one option, though it’s unlikely they’ll go that way. Choo would obviously address that need quite nicely, though it will take around $100 million to make it happen.
On a related note, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed to Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram that he met with the agent for Nelson Cruz today. However, he added that the team has likely already made their big offseason splash with the Prince Fielder deal. Sounds exactly like someone who could have something big cooking.
UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks are also in on Choo and remain “active on multiple fronts.”
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski was initially coy last week when asked if Miguel Cabrera would be moving from third base to first base following the Prince Fielder trade, but today he admitted that’s the plan.
No surprise, certainly, as Cabrera was banged up physically a lot this year and has long been stretched defensively at third base. He played first base almost exclusively from 2008-2011 before moving to make room for Fielder.
Nick Castellanos is now slated to be the Opening Day third baseman after the 21-year-old prospect spent most of this year playing left field at Triple-A. Castellanos previously played third base full time in 2010 and part time in 2011, and he’s considered one of the better all-around position player prospects in baseball. Despite being very young for the International League he hit .276 with 18 homers and a .793 OPS in 134 games this year before making his MLB debut in September.
UPDATE: It’s done. The Nationals just announced that prospect left-hander Robbie Ray will also be sent to Detroit. So it’s Fister for Ray, Krol, and Lombardozzi. Interesting.
Ray has really improved his stock as a prospect over the past year, but it’s surprising that the Nationals were able to acquire Fister without giving up a more significant piece. Put differently, many GMs are probably kicking themselves for not calling the Tigers.
8:28 p.m. ET: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Nationals are expected to send infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-handed reliever Ian Krol, and a prospect to the Tigers in exchange for Fister. We don’t know who the prospect is yet, but the return feels a little light at the moment.
7:58 p.m. ET: We have a significant trade on our hands here, as Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish is reporting that the Nationals have acquired right-hander Doug Fister from the Tigers. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal confirms that the deal is done. No yet word on who is headed back to Detroit, but there will likely be other familiar names involved. Drew Storen could be a logical part of a return package, though that’s just speculation.
The Tigers have talked about giving left-hander Drew Smyly a shot in the starting rotation next season, so the club was expected to field trade offers for their starters this offseason. However, most expected that Rick Porcello would be the odd man out, especially after the Prince Fielder trade cleared salary for a potential contract extension for Max Scherzer. Fister is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter after posting a 3.67 ERA and 159/44 K/BB ratio over 208 1/3 innings this past season. MLB Trade Rumors projected his salary to rise to rise to $6.9 million in 2014.
Fister is set to move from one impressive starting rotation to the next. He’ll join Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Ross Detwiler in Washington.
Following the blockbuster trade that sent first baseman Prince Fielder to the Rangers and second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers, everyone on the planet simply assumed that Miguel Cabrera would move over from third base to first base while prospect Nick Castellanos would take over at third. It makes sense, as Cabrera was becoming statuesque in the field due to a groin injury.
Not so fast. Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News, “We are not prepared to answer that question yet.” The question, of course, being “will Miguel Cabrera move to first base?”
Ostensibly, Dombrowski was unwilling to commit to the idea because the Tigers have various ways to amalgamate Cabrera, Castellanos, and Victor Martinez into their lineup, including ways that leave Cabrera at third base. But reports out of Venezuela say that Cabrera informed the organization that he is open to moving back to first base, which would presumably be less physically taxing and thus extend his career a bit longer. The Tigers are, after all, considering signing Cabrera to an extension before his contract runs out in 2015.