In case you missed it, the Washington Nationals on Monday became the latest team to fleece a general manager in a deal involving starting pitcher Doug Fister. The Nats acquired the 6'8 right-hander in exchange for minor-league starter Robbie Ray, MLB reliever Ian Krol and utility man Steve Lombardozzi.
Ray was rated as Washington's No. 5 prospect by Baseball America, but he's a year removed from exhibiting worrisome command issues and posting an ERA in the mid-6s in High-A. He probably represents the Tigers' best shot at someday winning this trade. Krol, while still only 22, flamed out as a starter a couple of years ago -- though partially due to an injury that cost him almost the entire 2011 season -- and doesn't appear to have an extremely high ceiling as a big-league reliever. And Lombardozzi? A switch-hitting utility infielder with a career line of .264/.297/.342, he's essentially Jonathan Herrera, but four years younger.
So, what would the Rockies' equivalent be for this package?
Though he's two years older and throws with the opposite arm, Chad Bettis is similar to Krol. Bettis was impressive in the minors as a starter early in his pro career but was derailed by an injury. He's still finding his way back and could have a future as a viable starter, but Bettis looks destined to be a reliever and, quite frankly, profiles much better in that role.
We already established that Jonathan Herrera is a solid comp for Lombardozzi, but age can't be ignored. Thus, D.J. LeMahieu, who has the ability to play three infield positions and might even be worth his weight in the outfield if given the opportunity, might represent a better equivalent, though I think he's more valuable than Lombardozzi.
The tough one to nail down is Ray. He has the potential to either be a mid-rotation starter or simply just "a guy." So, is he closer to Eddie Butler, or is he more in the mold of Tyler Anderson? Or maybe even Tyler Matzek? Drew Pomeranz? I think Ray is somewhere in between, and the Rockies don't really have a prospect like that. However, they do have a guy at the big-league level in Tyler Chatwood who is close. Chatwood, though solid a year ago, looks like he could still develop into something better, and the Tigers would have the benefit of a guy who has been conditioned to pitch in baseball's toughest environment.
So, Bettis, LeMahieu and Chatwood for Fister. Would you have done it? Keep in mind, Fister is only 29, ranks ninth in fWAR among MLB pitchers over the last three seasons and boasts tremendous ground-ball numbers. On the flip side, also keep in mind that I pretty much ignored handedness with those three players.
Comment with your thoughts and/or alternative suggestions. Or tell me I'm an idiot. You know ... things like that.
The Rockies non-tendered Mitchell Boggs but offered contracts to the rest of their arbitration-eligible and pre-arb players, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Also included is an update on Justin Morneau, whom the Rockies are still apparently pursuing rather aggressively.