Ever since the offseason began, many people had believed that the Washington Nationals would add a high profile starting pitcher. Now we know who that pitcher is: Doug Fister.
Fister had a strong season for the Detroit Tigers in 2013, as he had an ERA of 3.67, a record of 14-9, and a WHIP of 1.308. Fister also did not give up the long ball often, only giving up .6 HR/9.
Fister’s ability to keep the ball in the park is a dramatic upgrade over previous fourth starter Dan Haren, who gave up 1.5 HR/9 during the 2013 season. However, Haren only had 1.6 BB/9 while Fister racked up 1.9 BB/9. Also, Haren is more prone to striking out the opposing hitter, having a strikeout rate of 8.0 K/9, compared to Fister’s 6.9 K/9.
The fact that Fister is not anything close to a strikeout pitcher may strike fear into the hearts of Nationals fans, recalling the shaky defense the team possessed last season. Fortunately, Fister keeps the ball in the ball park, something that cost Haren multiple games in his one year tenure as a National.
Also, Fister’s durability should be noted. Over his four and a half year career in the major leagues, Fister has not sustained a serious injury that has caused him to miss a significant chunk of time. As injuries wreaked havoc on the back end of the Nationals rotation last season, a durable pitcher could be key coming down the stretch.
Over the last four seasons, Fister’s WHIP has gradually increased. However, a shift to the National League should end this trend as Fister now has the opportunity to face the pitcher instead of the designated hitter.
On the surface, this trade appears to be a good move for the Nationals. The Nationals did not give up any pieces that could not be easily replaced, and Fister is the only proven player who was moved in this trade. Hopefully for the Nationals, this trade provides them with a starter better than his role as the fourth man.
This appears to be just the beginning in regards to moves General Manager Mike Rizzo will be making this offseason. The Nationals appear to be finished in the starting pitching market, but now need a utility infielder, as they traded away switch hitting Steve Lombardozzi. Also, the team is in pursuit of left handed relief pitching. And who knows, maybe Rizzo will bring Robinson Cano to Washington.
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