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Nationals Acquire Doug Fister for Lombardozzi, Krol, Ray

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Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - The Washington Nationals have acquired right-handed starting pitcher Doug Fister through trade with the Detroit Tigers, the team announced Monday evening.

The deal brings Fister – a young, bonified starter with playoff experience and 14 wins in 2013 – to Washington in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, 25, left-handed pitcher Ian Krol, 22, and minor-league pitcher Robbie Ray, also 22 years-old.

In 33 games (32 starts) in 2013, the 6-foot-8, 29-year-old Fister went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA.

He also ranked among American League leaders in home runs allowed per 9 innings (0.60 – 2nd), ground ball-to-fly-ball ratio (2.17/1 – 3rd), walks per 9 innings (1.90 – 4th), wins (14 – tied for 8th), strikeout-to-walk-ratio (3.61/1 – 9th), and quality starts (22 – tied for 9th) in his last three season with Detroit.

Fister went 32-20 with a 3.29 ERA in two-plus seasons (Aug. 2011-2013) with the Tigers.

He was 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight postseason games (7 starts) with the Tigers, who won six of Fister’s seven playoff starting assignments.

“This is an exciting day for the Washington Nationals,” GM Mike Rizzo said. “We feel we’ve added a talented, young veteran to our starting pitching corps. Doug is battled-tested through playoff experiences, and the depth he brings to our staff is exceptional. We are thrilled to welcome him aboard.

While Nats fans are right to be leery of phrases like “best on paper” after the way the 2013 season unfolded, adding Fister to a starting rotation which already includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez could give them the best rotation in baseball, on paper.

Every deal comes at a price.

For the Nats, securing one of the best middle-rotation guys in Major League Baseball means losing Steve Lombardozzi, a respectable hitter and valued utility player in the field. Lombo hit .264 with five home runs and 50 RBI in two-plus seasons in Washington. His team-best 13 pinch hits ranked second in baseball last season, and he filled in all over the infield.

They’re also parting ways with Ian Krol, the gas-throwing prospect who was nothing less than a pleasant surprise when he got the call-up last June, as the Nationals’ bullpen was struggling to remain healthy. Krol went 2-1 with two holds and a 3.95 ERA in 32 appearances as a rookie, and with a 1.32 WHIP and 7.24 strikeouts per nine innings, he was reliable.

But Robbie Ray, likely a pivotal piece in the deal, could prove to be the biggest steal for the Tigers in time. Ray, a 12th-round selection by the Nats in 2010, is a hard-throwing lefty who threw 160 strikeouts between Potomac (Single-A) and Harrisburg (Double-A) in 2013.

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