Detroit Tigers' General Manager Dave Dombrowski has spent a good deal of time this winter talking about the decision to trade Doug Fister to Washington in return for 22-year-old lefties Robbie Ray and Ian Krol and 25-year-old utility man, Steve Lombardozzi. Just yesterday, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal quoted Dombrowski explaining how the trade made sense considering what the market for young major league-ready pitching was like this winter.
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo assured Rosenthal that it wasn't easy to let go of Ray, a 2010 12th Round pick who was the top-ranked lefty in the organization after the 2013 season according to Baseball America.
"'By no means was it painless,'" Rizzo said in the article. "'We're not pounding our chest on that one.'"
The Nationals are, however, pleased with the addition to their rotation they got in the 6'8'' Fister, a 30-year-old right-hander who was (14-9) in his fifth major league season in 2013, finishing the year with a 3.67 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 44 walks (1.90 BB/9) and 159 Ks (6.86 K/9) in 33 games, 32 starts and 208 2/3 IP over which he was worth +4.6 fWAR.
New skipper Matt Williams got his first look at the newest Nationals' starter in live BP today after watching Fister throw a few bullpen sessions as Spring Training began last week.
"He pounds the zone," Williams told a reporter who asked what was most impressive. "You notice he didn't throw with a screen because he doesn't feel comfortable with it. So we didn't let they guys know at the plate what was coming for protection for Doug because he didn't have a screen in front of him."
Doug Fister vs. Anthony Rendon, live BP: https://t.co/IDY4uuupjq— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 22, 2014
"But he just threw everything for a strike," Williams continued. "Continues to do that. Worked pretty fast. Got a lot of pitches in today. He likes that. He's been saying he likes to feel tired and work through the tiredness, so it was a good session for him today too."
Some reactions from the players who faced Fister:
Rendon smashed one of Fister's sinkers over the fence. Desmond hit one in the gap. Otherwise, air and grounders. Heavy sink, they say.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) February 22, 2014
Rendon took Doug Fister yard today, but he raved about the righty. "He's throwing from the sky and it's coming at your ankles."— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) February 22, 2014
As for his overall impression of the first day of live BP?
"Pitchers are way ahead of hitters," Williams said. "To be expected."
Though the sessions were interrupted by rain, the storm passed and the Nationals were able to get in the work they wanted to. "It was touch and go for a while whether we were going to get everybody through their lives sessions," Williams explained. "So we had to adjust from two fields to three fields, but got it done."
In addition to Fister and Gio Gonzalez throwing live BP, there were two young arms on the mound today. Sammy Solis, 25, and Matt Purke, 23, impressed in their first live sessions of the spring.
"Those guys are electric," Williams said. "Ball comes out of their hand really nice. You look at them as opposed to Doug, Doug's got command of the strike zone, those guys are working on that command, but it's electric."