As first reported by Chris Cotillo, Doug Fister has been traded to the Washington Nationals for Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray, and Ian Krol. What could this mean for the Braves and the NL East in 2014?
Doug Fister was underrated last year with the Detroit Tigers because of being behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Fister had an impressive year even when being shadowed behind the two aces. Fister posted a 14-9 record with a 3.67 ERA.
What impresses me about him is his size and movement on his pitches. His 6-8 stature and an over the top throwing motion makes Fister hard to figure out. His fastball has incredible movement, and his devastating 12-6 curveball is almost unhittable. The Red Sox saw this in the postseason this year, but Fister has one noticeable flaw. It seems like Fister keeps his fastball up later in games, where it can be easier to hit.
Doug Fister fits perfectly behind Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez in Washingon. This could bring up big problems for the Braves next season. There is no doubt in my mind the Nationals will be in the race with Atlanta next year, and the NL East pennant may come down to the wire. With all the starting pitching Washington has and if they can stay healthy, the Nationals could make a late season surge to first place.
Let’s face it, would we all be surprised if the Braves blew the NL East in the last month? I sure wouldn’t. September could come down to starting pitching and the Nationals as of right now have the better staff, pending a big move by the Braves. We will see if Strasburg and Gonzalez can stay healthy, but getting Fister could be a substantial upgrade from Dan Haren and propel them above the Braves.
Could the Braves match the Nationals though? Personally, I truly believe that trading for John Lackey will benefit the Braves in the long run. His clutch performances are just what the Braves need. I wouldn’t go as far as to trade David Price, but just a solid clutch pitcher. Another option could be Ricky Nolasco (Signed with Twins on a 4 year/$49MM deal), or maybe even a Bartolo Colon or Bronson Arroyo. It seems like the front office is banking on their young pitching, which is understandable.
Maybe I’m being too negative. Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves won 96 games last season without getting huge numbers from the Upton brothers. Personally, I place a heavy focus on pitching, and I think Atlanta is one starter away from being the most dominant team in the NL, along with the Dodgers. All I’m saying now is, watch out for the Nationals in 2014.