Even by unbiased commentary, the Nationals’ acquisition of Doug Fister from Detroit worked out in favor for Washington. Either there is something we don’t know about Fister, or the Nats got a great deal in the trade. (My completely impartial and dispassionate hope is that this is another “Smoltz Moment” for the Tigers)
In 2013, the Nats acquired Dan Haren to be the fifth starter in a rotation that was already one of the best in baseball. Haren wasn’t expected to be the second coming of Nolan Ryan, but to at least give the Nats quality innings and match up well against other teams’ #5 pitcher. He ended up as a major disappointment, to say the least. Haren had his worst season ever, pitching an abysmal 4.67 ERA while allowing 28 HRs and 31 walks. The fact is, Haren was probably never a good acquisition, having been in a slide since 2009. (Of course, the optimists last year, myself included, counted him as a good candidate for improvement based on his past numbers—we were just wrong)
Compare that to Fister, 14-9 last year with an ERA of 3.67 and only 14 HRs, and 44 walks – walks are a constant in his career, he is a guy who rarely pitches a 1-2-3 inning. Additionally, Fister pitches more innings that Haren, giving the bullpen more staying power, this is something that can definitely help us down the stretch, when Clippard and Soriano need every inning they can to get rest for a playoff run.
In fact, if you look at the chart below, based on 2013 numbers, Fister fits right in with the Nationals rotation, and Haren looks like the odd man out. This is a quality addition—one that should equal wins in 2014.
Of course, as we all know, the Nats biggest problem is not going to be pitching this year but run support (see Stasburg’s W-L record). But putting in place a great starting four as well as leaving in place a great bullpen gives the Nationals a path to a stellar season. Can’t wait to welcome Fister to the starting line up, and can’t wait for Spring Training!