July 7, 2011. That date was this year’s MLB trading deadline. At the time, three teams were embroiled in a tight race for the AL’s Central division
My hometeam, the Detroit Tigers were allegedly in talks with acquiring Rockies ace and 2010 stud, Ubaldo Jimenez, and I crossed my fingers we could pull it off.
Fate had the upstart Cleveland Indians landed him and I could already see the storyline of how the Tigers could’ve gotten the complimentary ace to Verlander that could eventually put us over the top.
Instead of Jimenez, the Tigers quietly and humbly took in a relatively unknown pitcher from the lowly and cellar dwelling Seattle Mariners named Doug Fister.
At first glance, Fister’s name/stats/reputation is unassuming and to me the whole move was a kin to Danny Glover receiving Celie instead of Celie’s sister in “The Color Purple.”
Well we all know how well Celie turned out, and Fister had a Celie-esque type year for the Tigers.
His 3-12 record was the equivalent of Celie not being able to read but since his Tiger acquirement, Fister has read opposing batters very well, posting a resurrecting 8-1 record in Detroit to improve to 11-13.
What seemed as just a novelty and vain move to pacify Tigers fans (i.e. management making an effort) has materialized into the trade deadline move of the year.
I’ve seen the tall (6’8″) pitcher’s stats improve as the proof is in the boxscore pudding. He’s consistently put up high strikeout to walk numbers, and if you get 4-6 hits off of him, you had a good day. His m.o. coming to Detroit wasn’t that of a power pitcher, but he’s rallied several 7, or 8 punchout games.
Fister and the Tigers overall have a tough test against the Yankees. Everybody who knows me knows I love the Tigers and Yankees, and the Yanks lineup is nothing to sneeze at.
Yet I still have faith in the Tigers with that said, and Doug Fister will be a big part of that. He’s a legitimate #1 starter in a #2 role. At the end of this series however, Detroit will be in on the winning podium like the ’68 Olympics throwing up their Fists, Tiger style, no panther.