By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) - When the Detroit Tigers traded away center fielder Austin Jackson and starter Drew Smyly at the deadline this season to acquire high-level starter David Price, many fans wondered if losing Jackson and Smyly could have been avoided had the Tigers simply kept Doug Fister, who recorded a 2.41 ERA in 25 starts for the Washington Nationals this season.
In return for Fister, the Tigers received young starter Robbie Ray, reliever Ian Krol and infielder Steve Lombardozzi (since traded), none of which figured prominently in the outcome of this season.
But general manager Dave Dombrowski defended the trade in his end-of-the-season press conference Tuesday.
"I don't regret the deal," Dombrowski said. "It was a situation at the particular time that we were making a move. Our starting pitching was not our downfall this year, particularly early in the year, and then really what it came down to when we made the Price acquisition, it was more of a situation where - it was kind of two-fold, but really at that point there, [starter Justin] Verlander was not the Verlander from the year before, so we felt that we needed to do something to kind of help ourselves at the top of the rotation, and that's what ended up taking place at that particular time.
"But when you look at the five starters we had early in the season, they pitched very well for us," Dombrowski said. "I know that Ray wasn't ready, but we still like Ray as we go forward."
His claim that he didn't regret the move was met with derision by many on Twitter.
Verlander recorded a 3.46 ERA in 2013, and that season was characterized at the time as a difficult one for him. Following offseason surgery, Verlander struggled through his worst statistical season since 2008, finishing the year with an ERA of 4.54.
Price started the season well and was the hottest pitcher in the game when the Tigers acquired him, but Price was not particularly consistent over 11 starts for Detroit, five times allowing one or zero earned runs and four times allowing four or more earned runs.
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