(in response to a MLBTradeRumors’ piece entitled, ‘Tigers Still Successfully Adapting Long After Peralta Suspension‘, which praises Dave Dombrowski’s offseason maneuvers).
Here are two players’ 2011-13 combined stats:
*3.15 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.14 WHIP and 3.37 K/BB
*3.30 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.18 WHIP and 3.75 K/BB
One of these players, who only had two years of team control left, netted Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi. The other one, who also currently has two years of team control left, only netted Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and Robbie Ray.
Does it really matter who is James Shields or Doug Fister?
The point is, while Dave Dombrowski might be a good general manager, the Fister trade was bad. Very, very bad. And considering the free-agent contracts being handed out to pitchers half as productive as him this offseason (i.e. Jason Vargas’ four-year, $32 million deal), Fister being dealt for a bench player, a young reliever and a “prospect” who MinorLeagueBall’s John Sickels characterized as someone who “could develop into a number three or four starter if all goes well,” is unacceptable.
For a very similar–if not eerily identical–pitcher, Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman acquired one of the game’s best hitting prospects (turned starting MLB outfielder) and a middle-to-high rotation pitcher, who will likely be handed a full-time slot once David Price is traded.
Friedman, who is perennially working within a tight financial situation, always seems to find a way to get the best return out of his increasingly expensive “stars.” And while Dombrowski might have been looking to quickly slash payroll (perhaps to rationalize the eventual signing of 39-year-old closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal), subtracting a 4.1 win player (and a team-controlled one, no less) and only receiving at best 1.0 wins back, is not how a smart front office operates.
That is not to say that good general managers can’t sometimes make bad trades. Yet with such an unequivocally thick move, it’s perplexing as to why Dombrowski hasn’t been subject to a unanimous excoriation.
Oh, and Fister is two years younger than Shields too.