When the Doug Fister trade was announced, the whole city of Detroit raised their hands in a collective exasperation. No one ever wants to see a veteran pitcher who has had so much success over the past few seasons leave, but those three no-name prospects that the Detroit Tigers got in the trade is about to fall to two thanks to a crafty left-handed pitcher named Robbie Ray.
Striking out five Florida Southern batters in two innings may not pop out at you, but the power in his arm will. The Tigers haven’t had very much luck with left-handed pitchers over the past decade, having all righties in the rotation last year and famously having Phil Coke in the bullpen as a left-handed specialist … which is like having me as a slam dunk specialist.
Now the Tigers are sitting a lot prettier in the bullpen with the addition of Ray, so much so that it has allowed other lefty bullpen reliever Drew Smyly to finally be a permanent fixture in the starting rotation where he belongs. Dave Dombrowski may not be as crazy as everyone thought he was the moment the trade went through.
Now with moveable prospects and effective lefty bullpen help, the Tigers are in a stronger position to compete not only in the regular season, but also in the postseason. The Tigers’ starting rotation is going to be dominant with or without Fister, but now the Tigers finally have the balance that they have so badly needed. That’s the type of balance you see from championship teams.
Ray is going to be the difference-maker in this once thought to be negative deal.