New Washington Nationals pitcher Doug Fister was aware of the "rumors going around," as he put it Tuesday, that he or AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer might be traded by the Detroit Tigers.
So while Fister said there's a "world of mixed emotions" about leaving the familiarity and friendships with the Tigers and being "thoroughly excited" about joining the Nationals, he was prepared for Monday's four-player swap.
"Just like when I pitch, I try to stay on an even keel and to really just keep things as even as possible," Fister said on a conference call with reporters. "So not trying to get too high, too low, too excited, too anything."
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that when he and Tigers counterpart Dave Dombrowski began trade talks last month, three Detroit starters' names were mentioned: Fister, Scherzer and Rick Porcello.
"We originally kicked the tires" on that trio, Rizzo said Tuesday.
After the GM meetings, though, "we turned our focus mostly towards Doug Fister," Rizzo said.
"We really had identified Doug as our primary acquisition target as far as starting pitchers go," Rizzo said during a conference call with reporters. "We thought he was an undervalued asset."
The 6-foot-8 Fister, a right-hander who is 29, will be under team control for the next two years. He went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA last season.
"It's a good day in the Nationals' office when the sabermetricians and the scouts in the field see the players in the same way. It makes things much easier for me. That's what we had here," Rizzo said. "We feel we've got a good defensive infield. Him being a 55-percent groundball guy, I think he'll flourish with that."
Noting that a sinkerball is his main pitch, Fister agreed that his style should mesh well with what he called "a great defense" in Washington.
"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 zeros on the board for our offense to get out there and swing it," he added. "I want to use our defense, utilize the talent that we have out there."
In Monday's trade, Detroit got utility player Steve Lombardozzi, left-handed reliever Ian Krol, and lefty pitching prospect Robbie Ray — a trio Rizzo called "palatable" to part with.