Last season, Doug Fister was a medium sized trade deadline acquisition by the Detroit Tigers. The move for him was dwarfed by several other moves in baseball — including a majorly disappointing move by the Indians for Ubaldo Jimenez — but the price was right as the Tigers sold high on middling prospects and the impact by Fister was even better. Fister gave a Doyle Alexander-type stretch run effort as he became the perfect sidekick to Justin Verlander. Additionally, he put less pressure on the now #3 starter Max Scherzer and #4 Rick Porcello and solidified the Tigers’ rotation.
2012 didn’t start so well. Marred by an irritating rib injury, Fister spent much of the first half of the season on the DL and didn’t get his first win until June 16th then waited until July 7th to get his second win. Despite nothing from their second most important starter, the Tigers remained semi-relevant in the first half of the season. If Doug Fister’s last few starts are an indication, the Tigers might become much more than relevant.
After a terrible start against the Rangers — who could give Cy Young fits — Fister has rebounded tremendously. He’s won three games in a row, and in his two starts since the All-Star break, Fister has shown signs of his late 2011 self. He’s 2-0 with just two runs allowed in 15 innings, allowing five hits while striking out 18.
While images of Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza dance in Tigers fans heads, a return to form for Fister might save the Tigers’ system their crown jewel — third baseman Nick Castellanos — who would definitely be a starting point for Greinke or Garza. It’s very likely the Tigers will still need a starter, as Porcello becomes more and more hittable. However, with a right Doug Fister, the Tigers wouldn’t need a top of the rotation type guy and a move for a much more affordable starter like Jason Vargas or Clayton Richard would keep the farm system relatively intact.