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Fister “excited” about trade to Nationals

Dec 3, 2013, 6:32 PM EDT

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Doug Fister has been traded before, so he wasn’t shocked when he got the call from Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski last night. It also helped that Fister’s new club, the Nationals, boasts one of baseball’s best rotations and has visions of competing deep into October next season.

Here are some highlights from Fister’s conference call with reporters this afternoon…

Q: What was your reaction when you heard about the trade?
“There were some rumors going around that we were both kind of being out there and we were both just gonna see how things played out. Finally last night, the phone call was made and things were working out the way that things had worked out. I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to too many of the guys back in Detroit yet, but I’m definitely excited to be on the hunt for D.C. I’m looking forward to getting out there, getting going in spring training and being ready. I’m excited.”

Q: How excited are you to join this pitching staff?
“Coming from Detroit, obviously we had a great staff. It was such an honor to be a part of the staff that we had there with Scherzer and Verlander and everybody else. But coming in to D.C. now, it’s going to be the same thing with Strasburg and Zimmermann and Gonzalez and Detwiler. All those guys, I’m looking forward to being in there. They’ve all got quite a bit of experience, they’ve all got great stuff and I’ve heard that they’re great teammates. It’s one of those things that I’m definitely looking forward to being a part of and being able to be surrounded by such terrific pitchers.”

Q: Were your immediate emotions sad to leave the Tigers or excited to join the Nationals?
“It’s definitely a surprise when you get the phone call that lets you know you’re being traded. But it’s always, you’re a world of mixed emotions. There’s friendships and brotherhood and everything that I’ll be leaving, but I’m thoroughly excited to be heading to the Nationals. It’s one of those things that I’ve come to realize that I want to know a lot of guys in the league and have some experiences to play in the NL, play in the AL and be able to have those experiences and be able to have the relationships that we have. I’m looking forward to being able to get to know those guys.”

Q: Have you heard from any of your new teammates yet?
“I’ve had a couple welcoming text messages and phone calls from the guys. Ian Desmond was one of the ones this morning. I’ve got LaRoche’s phone number to get a hold of him, too. These guys are definitely welcoming me with open arms. It’s definitely a family atmosphere already. I’m definitely looking forward to meeting these guys in person. I don’t really know too many of them on a very in-depth level. I’m looking forward to that opportunity. There’s some great individuals over there who make up a great team. I’m definitely looking forward to that opportunity.”

Q: How do you anticipate the change of leagues to affect you?
“When I’m up on the mound, I’m going to do the same thing and try to get hitters out. I know that obviously things are a little different having to face pitchers and having to hit ourselves. I’m excited to be able to grab a bat again and work on my swing. I don’t think that that’s going to change anything of my pitching style. I’m still going out there trying to pitch to our defense. Look at the defense that will be playing out there day after day after day. I think we’ve got a couple Gold Glovers and a runner-up. Again, it’s something for me, I’m coming in looking at it as, I’m blessed. I’m blessed to have a team that is on the rise and right where it needs to be. It has a great defense, a great offense. I’d be foolish not to use them. I’m looking forward to having that defense.”

Q: Has it been your goal to increase your groundball rate every year?
“It’s definitely a bullet point in my pitching perspective. I’m going out there trying to induce groundballs, induce bad contact as early in the count as possible. My job is to get through seven innings and keep zeroes on the board for our offense to get out there and swing it. If I can get that done, that’s my main focus. If I can get past that, that’s icing on the cake and I’m excited about it. But it’s one of those things, I want to get groundballs. I want to use our defense, utilize the talent that we have out there. That’s always been one of my main goals. For me, I’d be foolish not to attack that way. My main pitching sequence is a sinker. I try to attack with that.”

Q: Have you made a concerted effort to prevent runners from stealing on you?
“That is definitely a focal point, especially in bullpen sessions and spring training. If I can work on things, work on timing, work on the mixing up of my delivery to where I can make it a second-nature type feeling that I don’t have to think about during the season, that’s my goal. I want to be able to control the running game and help the catcher out as much as possible. Obviously, there’s still fast guys that want to take a chance and obviously there were stolen bases last year, but I want to limit it as much as possible. I want to give our team the best chance to win as possible and that’s one little thing that can turn into a big thing.”

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Welcome to the Nats, Mr. Fister. Enjoy yourself, pitch well, take advantage of those ABs, and help get the team back into the playoffs.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      What he said!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Can we call him Mr. Fr.?

      Fresh fact: he once mistook his wife’s identical twin for his spouse. Yes, Mr. Fr. kr. sr.
      Pr. off, too.

      I’m here all week!

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    MLBTradeRumor’s second-day take on the trade:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/12/timing-is-everything-in-the-doug-fister-trade.html#disqus_thread

    • NatsLady - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      Ha! Just read that article and was about to post the link. In-depth and raises some good points re: Krol, Mike Morse, and how Rizzo got Fister for assets acquired at minimal cost. The main point (as I see it) is that teams overvalue their own prospects and Fister was undervalued by Detroit.

      Rizzo has shown he collects prospects (especially pitching prospects), trades them in clumps for major league players–and that he’s not afraid to deal (or non-tender) fan favorites.

      • Sonny G 10 - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:00 PM

        –and that he’s not afraid to deal (or non-tender) fan favorites.. Amen to that NatsLady. I saw that when he traded Willingham and especially Adam Dunn.

  3. Joe Seamhead - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    A right handler that holds runners and sees it as “one little thing that can turn into a big thing,” I’m knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door. Oh and I’m not going to ever see Steve Lombardozzi play left field for the Nats again? He’ll, just those two things alone might be worth five wins.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Dang, I hate sometimes hate auto correct, and I really dislike the no edit function here. I wrote,”Hell, just those two things alone might be worth five wins.

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    So, the Marlins sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia for three years for $21 million. Do you ever look at some of these reports and assume there’s a typo in there somewhere? Or a missing decimal point?

  6. nats128 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Wil “Who” Nieves to the Phoolies

  7. nats128 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    The Yankees love Red Sox free agents. Why would you pay almost $22 million a year for Ellsbury? Am I missing something?

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 4m
    Source confirms: #Yankees in agreement with Ellsbury, seven years, $153 million

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      I don’t think you’re missing anything. Look at his numbers. He’s had three years with an OPS+ over 100 and one of those was in a 33-game call-up. His 32 HR season was the only season in which hit more than 10 HRs. He’s a good player, sure. But a $153 million player? We’ll see.

    • David Proctor - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      That is absurd.

      • nats128 - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        These contracts are making the Jayson Werth deal look even better.

  8. philipd763 - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    With the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury to seven years and $163 million, it looks like the Yankees have closed the door on Robinson Cano and he’s on the outside looking in. Seattle has been rumored to be interested but would he play for that lousy franchise? Rizzo could surprise but that’s a lot of bucks so I would rather stay with Rendon at second base.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      I think it also means Carlos Beltran to Kansas City; it will be nice to have him out of the NL.

  9. philipd763 - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    I stand corrected, $153 million for Ellsbury with a $16 million option for year 8.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      With those kinds of numbers, plus-or-minus $10-15 million doesn’t really matter much.

  10. David Proctor - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Seriously, Nats 128. Everyone portrayed Werth’s deal as a massive albatross. I’m sorry, I’d rather have him for 7/128 than Ellsbury at 7/153.

    • nats128 - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      I think thats what I was sayin!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      But not Cano at 8/$200mm?

      Nahhh. too long, too much. right?

      Still. The dude rakes.

      • David Proctor - Dec 3, 2013 at 9:54 PM

        If I were assured that signing Cano wouldn’t get in the way of extending Desi and perhaps Harper and co.down the line,I’d give Cano whatever he wanted. But there’s a limit at some point to how much the Lerners will spend.

  11. Doc - Dec 3, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Cano is on the wrong side of 30, and only an average fielder that can get worse.

    • therealjohnc - Dec 3, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Actually Cano is a better than average fielder, whether you use the Mark I eyeball, Fangraphs or B-R as your milestone he varies between good and very good.

      • Doc - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        Good means average!

        Very good might not mean lately.

      • therealjohnc - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:37 PM

        Over the last two years Cano grades out as better than average (good) using either B-R dWAR, Fangraphs dWAR, UZR (although his UZR this season was pedestrian it was GREAT in 2012; defensive stats are fluky), or defensive runs saved. If you think that “good” = “average” you must be from Lake Wobegon.

        I watch a fair number of Yankee games; Cano is a good (as in, above average at the major league level) second baseman. Pedroia was a better choice for the Gold Glove, but Cano had a solid argument for his position as a GG finalist.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 3, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    I have been planning to go to bed early last couple of nights and baseball has not allowed me to do exactly that. Last night I found out Fister deal and kept looking at his numbers, reactions among other things and now this Ellsbury signing. Tonight has nothing to do with Nats but still pretty shocking. I think Boras did this to stick it to Cano and Jay-Z. Yankees pretty much drop out from Cano race and one of the strongest suitors gone, Cano may have to lower price or sign with a smaller market team (unless Dodgers make room which they magically always do).

    • nats128 - Dec 3, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      That is a very good point Faraz that this could have been a FU from Boras to Cano/JayZ.

  13. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    If you’re right about Scott Boras wanting to send a message to Robinson Cano (and his new agents), he still managed to get quite a contract for Jacoby Ellsbury. And, given that it takes two to agree on such a contract, the Yankees were amenable to sending that message.

    I will be surprised if Mr. Cano ends up signing with the Mariners. I’m sure they’ll offer a lot of money and years, but I’m not sure what else they can offer. They don’t seem to be on track to make a serious run in the next few seasons (or the next few after that).

    • nats128 - Dec 4, 2013 at 6:28 AM

      Eugene, yes, he did get him top dollar and the Yankees sent a message to Cano, the Yankee fanbase and a Seasons Greetings to the Red Sox.

      The reason I agree with Faraz that this was a Boras message to Cano and his new agent representation is that Boras always waits for his top players to sign until the Winter Meetings or after as he wants to see the bidding intensify.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        that’s what I am thinking too. usually Boras waits until next year to sign his players, sometimes as late as March.

        I think Boras and Yankees did this move to show up Cano who is asking for a lot of money. Then again Ellsbury wasn’t cheap either.

  14. Section 222 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    I just hope Cano stays in the AL, and I’m glad Ellsbury is staying there too. Gotta love it when Red Sox players go to the Yankees and vice versa.

  15. natsfan1a - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    “I want to be able to control the running game and help the catcher out as much as possible. Obviously, there’s still fast guys that want to take a chance and obviously there were stolen bases last year, but I want to limit it as much as possible. I want to give our team the best chance to win as possible and that’s one little thing that can turn into a big thing.”

    LIKE

    • scbilly - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      If he can coach up some of his teammates on that holding base runners thing, this could be the signing of the decade. And hearing that Desi was one of the first players to reach out to welcome him reinforces what we already know about his as a team leader. Get him extended NOW.

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