By: Jeff Riger
Tonight will be a night that Tigers pitcher Robbie Ray never forgets…
The 23 year old will toe the rubber for the first time in his Major League career and there will be plenty of eyes watching and judging. Ray was the reason Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski traded away the very reliable Doug Fister in the off season. Ray is a lefty, he was dominant in 6 games with the Toledo Mud Hens and now he will be throwing in replacement of Anibal Sanchez who is on the 15 day DL with a massive blister.
“I’m excited, I don’t know if I’m anxious” Ray said on Monday. “I wasn’t really expecting it (his MLB debut) this early in the season but it’s still exciting.”
Most Tigers fans weren’t expecting Ray this early either.
When Dombrowski announced that Fister was being traded away, most fans were beside themselves with anger. The main reason for that anger was the belief that Ray would not make an impact this season on a team that had World Series expectations. Well he’s here, which could mean that he’s been better than expected or that Detroit simply doesn’t have anything better currently.
The starter was just like the fans in the fact that he was stunned when he learned that he had been dealt. “I was shocked, I didn’t think I was going to get traded” Ray Said.
As well as the season has gone so far for the Tigers, people continue to bring up the Fister deal as not only something they don’t understand but also don’t like. Even though Fister hasn’t pitched a game yet for the Washington Nationals as he is recovering elbow inflammation, fans won’t let it go, nor should they. I believed the deal was brutal at the time as well.
However Dombrowski has proven to be correct more times than not when making transactions. It’s easier to pick out the moves that didn’t work considering that list is so much shorter than the ones that did. Even recently, Dombrowski has seemed to have worked his magic with the acquisitions of Joba Chamberlain, Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler, all who have seemed to have worked out early. Also the players that left in the offseason haven’t exactly gotten off to the best starts early in the year.
But, it’s how Ray fares as to how fans will judge Dombrowski’s most controversial deal of his tenure. If Ray works out, fans will forgive, forget and once again praise a very good GM. If Ray struggles, fans won’t hesitate to yell at the top of their lungs “I told you so!” Heck, I’ll probably be one of them.
Does Ray already pitching in the big leagues mean the trade is already a good thing?
It’s not fair to judge Ray later tonight in his MLB debut and it’s definitely not fair to allow his performance to mold your impressions of the trade.
But we all know “being fair” doesn’t matter. Tonight is a big outing for Ray, but it seems like it’s a bigger one for Dombrowski in the “court of Tiger fans opinion.”
What do you think? Any chance you don’t think the Fister deal was the worst of all time?