The Nationals have acquired starting pitcher Doug Fister from the Detroit Tigers in return for second baseman Steve Lombardozzi, relief pitcher Ian Krol and minor-league prospect Robbie Ray.
Fister, 29, posted a 3.67 ERA in 2013. In five big-league seasons split between Seattle and Detroit he has a 3.53 career ERA. That solidifies Washington’s starting rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler.
Fister is arbitration-eligible again this winter and under team control through the 2015 season. The 6-foot-8, 210-pounder made $4 million in 2013, which is a bargain for a starting pitcher with such numbers. That number will likely rise close to $7 million for next season.
Over the past three seasons Fister has a 13.3 WAR (wins above replacement), according to the stats web site FanGraphs.com. That ranks ninth in baseball over that stretch. Fister is fifth in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings (0.61) and ninth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.8/1) and walk rate (4.9 percent).
“This is an exciting day for the Washington Nationals,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “We feel we’ve added a talented, young veteran to our starting pitching corps. Doug is battle-tested through playoff experiences, and the depth he brings to our staff is exceptional. We are thrilled to welcome him aboard.”
Rizzo was not available to comment on Monday.
Fister has pitched over 200 innings the past two years. He has also appeared in eight playoff games with the Tigers, starting seven. He has a 2.98 ERA in 48 1/3 postseason innings.
The Nats had gone for one-year rentals to fill out their rotation the past two years. Edwin Jackson signed for $11 million before the 2012 season and Dan Haren cost $13 million last offseason. Jackson then signed a four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs last winter and Haren left earlier this offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Adding the durable Fister should soothe some lingering concerns about depth. Detwiler started just 13 games due to a back injury last season and Washington needed starts from a patchwork group including Taylor Jordan (9), Ross Ohlendorf (7), Tanner Roark (5), Nathan Karns (3) and Zach Duke (1).
Lombardozzi, 25, has spent the past two full seasons with Washington as a utility player and pinch hitter. A local product from Columbia, Md., he had 13 pinch hits last season, second most in the majors.
But he has not yet proven a starting-caliber offensive player with a .264 batting average in 705 at-bats and a .616 OPS with just 17 extra-base hits. Lombardozzi is primarily a second baseman, though with Washington he also filled in at third base, shortstop and left field.
Krol, 22, was the player-to-be-named in the three-team Michael Morse trade last offseason with Oakland and Seattle. The left-hander threw 27 1/3 innings for Washington in 2013 with a 3.95 ERA.
Ray, 22, split last season between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. He had a 3.36 ERA between the two in 27 starts. Ray was selected in the 12th round of the 2010 draft.