Late Monday evening, the news broke that the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers made a major deal that sent starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Nationals in exchange for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and Robbie Ray. Immediately, there were tears of joy in Washington and cries of outrage in Detroit.
Initially, many believed that Washington got too sweet of a deal because they didn’t have to give up any notable players to acquire one of MLB’s best pitchers. While giving up Lombardozzi was an emotional loss for the franchise and its fans, losing him won’t make or break their season. When the deal was first reported, many around Washington assumed that Mike Rizzo had given up either Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen because the Tigers need some bullpen help.
When it was confirmed that Rizzo gave up neither Clippard nor Storen and rather Krol and Ray, Tigers fans became even more upset with the deal and Nats fans rejoiced even more. Many writers and bloggers around MLB have proclaimed that Detroit got a bad deal. However, when we look back on this deal a year or two from now, I believe that we’ll look at it as an even trade.
While the Nationals didn’t have to give up an arm and a leg now, they’ll feel it later on down the road. Lombardozzi is an underrated utility man who can play nearly any position on the diamond and is a solid bat off the bench. Where Washington will feel it more, however, is in the losses of Krol and Ray.
Both left-handers were two up and coming pitchers in the Nationals’ organization. Krol broke into the majors in 2013 and put together a solid 27.1 innings of work over 32 outings with a 3.95 ERA and 22 strikeouts. He may be rough around the edges, but there’s plenty of potential in him.
For Robbie Ray, he’s been a top-20 prospect for the Nationals since joining the team in 2010. Like Krol, he oozes potential after going a combined 11-5 at single-A and double-A with a combined 3.36 ERA and 160 strikeouts. One person inside the Nationals’ organization said that he’s a hard-throwing left-hander that can already reach 97 on the gun. Like Krol, there’s plenty of potential and the sky’s the limit.
In Washington, they get a pitcher that’s going to help them win right now. In Detroit, they get a slue of players that are going to benefit them a little bit further on down the road. While initially it may seem like a lopsided trade in favor the Nationals, the Tigers didn’t get that bad of a deal in the long run.