Dave Dombrowski also found a way to sign Anibal Sanchez and bring him back to Detroit after a strong stretch run and post-season in 2012.
The trio has garnered many of the headlines this off-season, especially during the club's recently completed caravan and TigerFest. Yet, the Tigers playoff runs each of the last two years may not have been possible without one of Dombrowski's most successful trades since taking over as President, CEO and GM in 2002.
The deal to bring Doug Fister to Detroit in 2011 was not greeted with much fanfare. In fact, no one predicted Fister would actually pitch better than Verlander the final month of 2011.
Fister is not a loud, look-at-me, type of personality. During the caravan, he seemed to blend into the background. Yet, his contributions to the last two playoff runs have been front and center.
Fister is 8-2 with a 1.73 ERA in the last two Septembers combined. When it mattered the most, he was as dominant as anyone down the stretch.
The last two seasons overall, only Verlander (2.52), Jared Weaver (2.59), Jeremy Hellickson (3.02) and David Price (3.04) have a lower ERA than Fister (3.12).
Examining the trade to this point, it appears the Tigers have gotten great value for the pieces they gave up. The Tigers parted with outfielder Casper Wells, pitchers Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin and third base prospect Francisco Martinez.
Here is a look at the production the Mariners received in return:
Casper Wells SEA 93 games (.228-10-36 .302 OBP)
Charlie Furbush SEA 48 games (5-2 2.72 0.95 WHIP)
Chance Ruffin TACOMA (AAA) 50 games (0-5 5.99 1.557 WHIP)
Francisco Martinez JACKSON (AA) 95 games (.227-2-23 .315 OBP)
Furbush has blossomed into one of the better left-handers in the American League, but overall the trade at this point is clearly tilted in the Tigers direction. When you factor in the importance of the games in which Fister has pitched, the trade has yielded far more than many Tigers fans anticipated.
Martinez still has plenty of upside and Ruffin is a former first round pick, so the jury is still out at this point, but for the time being, count this deal as one of Dombrowski's best. It looks even better when you consider Fister is only 28 and under team control through 2015