Oct 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) throws against the Boston Red Sox in game four of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Sign Fister: Worry for the Atlanta Braves?

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.


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  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    Well, yeah – we’ve been saying it all off-season: the Braves need an Ace. All you have to do is look around to see that the pitching rich team teams are getting pitching-richer.

    I suppose you might say that the Giants/Dodgers/Cards/Nats don’t have room for David Price now, and therefore won’t be competing? Then again, that still leaves all of the AL except maybe Detroit or the Yankees (which includes the Rays themselves, since they could simply keep him).

    • Brandon_Woodworth

      I think you guys throw around the term ace too loosely. There are only maybe 7-9 true “aces”in the game.

      • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

        Acknowledged… in fact, I was probably raising the bar a bit higher about 7 weeks ago. But I’m not sure that Atlanta now has even a “#1″ — we have a bunch of guys that are in roughly the 2-4 category.

        • Sealift67

          229 hits in 209 innings, 44-50 lifetime W-L record;
          while the latter stat is of questionable import, and
          Fister shows excellent control and SO ability,
          I agree with you the term ‘Ace’ can be used loosely.
          The Nats were the division favorite heading into 2013.
          I don’t see a drop off for Atl coming into 2014.
          I’m looking to see what LaStella brings, and
          perhaps mistakenly, am seeing BJ ‘regress’ back to
          his career averages.

  • Brandon_Woodworth

    Some constructive criticism, Harrison;

    1. Rickey Nolasco has already signed with the Twins on a 4 year/$49MM deal.
    2 John Lackey is not a free agent.
    3. Neither is David Price.

    I don’t think Colon is an option. Colon pitched ace like last year, and the A’s just replaced him with, albeit a younger, pitcher who wasn’t as good last year for 2/$22MM. Colon also just saw Tim Hudson sign a 2year/$23MM deal, coming off an ok at best year than ended with an injury at 38. No way he settles for less than 2 years unless the AAV is north of the $11MM Kazmir and Hudson got. We didn’t bring Hudson back for what he got, we definitely wouldn’t take a gamble on a notoriously lucky 40 year old who has been tied to PED’s.

  • Lee Trocinski

    The Nationals were the favorite heading into the offseason. The Braves were lucky to win as many games as they did, and the Nats were unlucky. Now the Braves are not going to get better, and the Nats just did. It’s going to take some significant injuries to WAS to head back down to the Braves’ level. Braves are hopefully a 90-win team, but the Nationals should be back to 95+ wins in 2014.

  • rick staley

    Due to the fact that Uggla will be leaving town soon, his cost to the Braves for such a move has been estimated at $9 million per yr. X 2 ($18 mil.). Thus, either John Lackey or Kyle Lohse would be idea to help lead this young staff…imho.

    Landing a bonafide ace (Price, Shields, etc.) via trade remains very unlikely. So, Wren & Co. are probably eyeing Lackey’s 2-yr. commitment to the Red Sox @ an average of $8 mil. per yr. as the best route to go. Additionally, Lohse has 2 yrs. @ $11 mil. per left on his Brewers contract.

    In short, since Uggla is going to cost us $9 mil. in 2014 $ ’15 just to get rid of his poor results, Wren could use that extra $3 mil. per yr. of savings by trading for an economic nugget like Lackey to help off-set the costs of the 2014 Tomahawk 2nd Sacker.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      Full answer on today’s “Price of Pitching” column as to why those guys are gonna be very tough to trade for. Lackey in particular is going to be impossible for the same reason you want him behind a tomahawk: he’s cheap.

      Meanwhile, I sure hope we can find a new home for Dan… without spending terribly too much in the process.

      • Toppleprone

        totally agree. where is all of this Lackey talk coming from?? A guy had a great bounceback year and has a very team friendly deal. why on earth would the sawks deal him? makes no sense.

    • Toppleprone

      Have to sell the farm to get Lackey at that price. if you’re going to make a big splash in a trade go for a front end rotation guy like Price.

  • fireboss

    The Nats rotation of Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Fister and Detweiler is a formidable one and with the lefties in the mix a hard one for most lineups to deal with. They had issues this year because they lacked depth when injuries hit Werth, Haper and Zimmerman. If they fix that it will be a long year in Atlanta with two men striking out 360 times between. The problem really is that any move would have to be creative and cost effective. I don’t see that happening but I live in hope.

  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Yes, that rotation will be good, but let’s not forget that we roughed some of their “aces” up pretty good last year. Nothing is written in stone just because a team has a better rotation, so let’s prognosticate and forecast and project, but in the end – the baseball gods may have different plans.

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  • Toppleprone

    Braves need to make a move for a guy like Price before the clock runs out on these young arbitration guys. Go all in before these cheap young guys all walk.