Fister lesson: Good arms can come cheap

Doug Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for the Tigers in 2011 after being acquired at the trade deadline. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Three years ago, the Detroit Tigers surprised folks with an under-the-radar trade at the deadline, when they plucked an unspectacular right-hander with average fastball velocity from the Seattle Mariners. That pitcher, Doug Fister, was attractive to the Tigers because of his athleticism, because his fastball moved and because -- and here was the part that really jumped out to officials with other teams -- he was cheap, with very little service time.

For some evaluators, that trade has become a model in how to avoid paying the big prices that are attached to David Price and Jeff Samardzija, among others, and that's why teams are combing through rosters, looking for gems similar to Fister. This is why the Arizona Diamondbacks have been contacted about 27-year-old lefty Wade Miley, who will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next winter, and who has just 34 walks in 105 1/3 innings this year.