On Monday it looked like the big trade news was going to be the Washington Nationals acquiring Doug Fister from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for three prospects. The move could turn out to be a steal for the Nats.
Fister changing leagues to join two ace pitchers will turn the top 4 starters for the Nationals into an intimidating group. Fister will be well accustomed to being the forth starter under the radar as he was in that same role in Detroit.
Behind Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann, Fister will have a lot of advantages against other forth starters in the National League. With the move Washington arguably has one of the best four-man rotations now in the NL. Washington was one of the major disappointments last season, and with this move they will look to get back to the postseason where pitching is key. On paper, it looks like the Nationals won this trade going away.
However, late Monday night the little engine by the bay, the Oakland Athletics, landed their new closer. The A’s got Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.
The move confirms that Grant Balfour will be wearing a new jersey next season closing out games. In that giant ballpark in Oakland Johnson could find great success. Johnson has a heavy breaking ball that will not travel well through the Oakland night, and it could be a great weapon late in games for the A’s. Baltimore may look to Weeks now as their everyday second baseman, but do they now become players for Balfour’s services?
Earlier, Oakland also signed Scott Kazmir who had a great comeback season a year ago. The trade for Johnson makes the A’s winners in the deal and Kazmir a solid complimentary piece. Oakland is continuing to find a way to get the job done out by the bay.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.