Robbie Ray Is Coming to the Bigs

by Jason Epstein

Remember last December’s trade between the Tigers and Nationals that sent Doug Fister to Washington while Detroit netted pitching prospect Robbie Ray, a reliever, and a utility player no longer with the club? Most commentators immediately after the deal was announced seemed to wonder what  Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski had been smoking when shaking hands on this deal.

For instance, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs persuasively asserted that trading Fister (career ERA 3.53; career xFIP: 3.68) per se wasn’t the scandal:

We haven’t seen a player this good get traded for this little in years, and it’s mystifying how Mike Rizzo managed to get Fister for this price. This deal put the Nationals right back in playoff contention, and it did so for such a low cost that I still haven’t found anyone who thinks the Tigers made a good trade. When a deal is universally accepted as a heist, you’ve done something very right.

Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans had a similar view but was a tad less restrained:

With all the talk of the extravagant prices on the pitching market this winter, and the millions of dollars and sparkling prospects it’s going to take for [Blue Jays GM] Alex Anthopoulos to do what he needs to do to fix his rotation, uh . . . how the hell did he not get in on Doug Fister? How did he not beat the offer the Washington Nationals were making for Doug Fister?

####, how did anybody not beat this offer? . . .

It’s just . . . for Fister??? A ####-you-not top starter in the Majors? 12th in WAR among starters this year by both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference?

Now comes word that we will soon get to see Dombrowski’s investment up close, as the 22-year old Ray, who has pitched well in his five starts at Triple-A Toledo, is slated to get called up:

The Tigers have announced that left-handed starter Robbie Ray will be recalled and make his Major League debut against the Astros next Tuesday.

As for Fister, he developed elbow trouble during spring training and isn’t slated to take the mound for the Nats until the day after Ray’s start. Meanwhile, Ray is likely to return to the minors after Anibal Sanchez comes off the disabled list in less than two weeks.

More here.

Right Field

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