Why Doug Fister Will Be Difference-Maker for Washington Nationals in 2014

Will Grooms@w_grooms94Correspondent IDecember 4, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 24: Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning of the game on September 24, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Entering the 2014 MLB season, the Washington Nationals have shored up their starting pitching rotation by acquiring Doug Fister via trade from the Detroit Tigers for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, relief pitcher Ian Krol and prospect Robbie Ray (according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports).

The 29-year-old right-hander will prove to be a prudent addition to a strong nucleus of starting pitching at the top of the rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann—all three of whom are experienced pitchers who have pitched at least one season with 15 or more wins. 

Fister is the Nationals' third experiment in as many years for the fourth spot in the starting rotation, following disappointing tenures from Edwin Jackson and Dan Haren. 

Fister is unique from his predecessors, however, and uses a versatile range of pitches to get outs. Between his sinking fastball, cutter and changeup, Fister is a ground ball pitcher. The infield will be given lots of opportunities to improve from its 24th-best .982 fielding percentage in 2013. 

The former Detroit Tiger is just as excited to be a National as Nationals fans are to have him. 

Fister looks to build upon the best season of his career in 2013 in which he won 14 games and posted a career-high 159 strikeouts (stats via Baseball-reference).

Dan Haren, whose position Fister will be assuming, recorded a 10-14 record to go with a 4.67 ERA in 2013. Edwin Jackson, who manned the fourth starting pitching spot in 2012, posted a 10-11 record with a 4.03 ERA.

Fister brings to Washington a career 3.53 ERA and 3.46 strikeout to walk ratio. The Nationals will improve with Fister because they've never had a number-four starter that's been as efficient throughout his career.

What Fister also brings is very steady control of his pitches. In 2010, Fister ranked third in baseball for lowest walks per nine innings ratio (stats via Baseball-reference). 

The most important thing, however, that Fister provides is experience in the postseason. Fister has pitched 48 career postseason innings, more than any active Nationals pitcher, striking out 37 batters and posting a 3-2 record (stats via Baseball-reference). Perhaps the threshold that kept the high-potential Nats from postseason success has now been breached by way of acquiring an experienced veteran.

Who got the better end of the deal? Let your voice be heard.