[Editor's Note: This is the first piece by our newest contributor, Jen Mac Ramos! Please welcome her to the Beyond the Box Score team!]
Late Monday night, the Nationals and the Tigers announced a trade: the Nats would acquire Doug Fister in return for three players -- minor-league pitcher Robbie Ray, utility player Steve Lombardozzi, and reliever Ian Krol.
Right off the bat, this sounds like a complete steal for the Nationals.
Ray, Lombardozzi, and Krol doesn’t sound like the type of package that should net a team Doug Fister. It also doesn't sound like the appropriate package to appease Tigers fans. However, with the way the 2014 projected rotation appears on MLBDepthCharts.com, the Tigers' rotation will include Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly -- five pitchers that had a combined 22.9 fWAR in 2013.
Fister joins a rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Ross Detweiler, a combined 15.4 fWAR rotation in 2013 if you include Fister's 4.6 fWAR. Over the next two seasons, Fister's expected fWAR is at 8 -- a solid addition to the Nationals' rotation.
In the long term, Ray, Lombardozzi, and Krol could easily combine for five fWAR over the next few seasons. They are all young players and under team control for a while -- Robbie Ray is the only player of the three who has not played a major league game, and my guess is that he will start 2014 in AAA Toledo with the potential to be a mid-season call up. As a result, the Tigers will be saving on payroll without a high risk of losing any 2014 wins -- thanks to the move of Drew Smyly to fill in Fister's spot in the rotation.
The Tigers' rotation for 2014 is still very much above the average because it includes Verlander and Scherzer, but if Porcello or Smyly can combine to add one extra win in addition to Lombardozzi's and Krol's (hopefully positive) contributions, it just about evens out without a large difference in total fWAR. The Tigers didn't seem to gamble too much with this trade, as they appear to have rotation options ready.
So while this trade favors the Nationals a bit more, it's not a lost trade for the Tigers. There is the potential there, but results might not be immediate.
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
Jen Mac Ramos is a contributor for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow her on twitter at @_jenmac.