It came as a big surprise Monday night when news of the trade that sent Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi, relief pitcher Ian Krol, and a minor-league pitcher went public.

Time will tell whether this was a good trade or not, but this means that Drew Smyly will be the team's fifth starter come April.  And Lombardozzi replaces Ramon Santiago as the backup infielder.  Krol fills a need in a weak bullpen.

This trade does free up money to re-sign Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and/or AL MVP Miguel Cabrera to extensions, but I don't think team president Dav Dombrowski is done with player moves this offseason...Not by a long shot.

As for the Lions, they sure proved me wrong.  They  laid waste to the Green Bay Packers on Turkey Day, and now have the inside track to winning the NFC North and getting a home game in the playoffs.  Our gridiron heroes have a one-game lead on Chicago (really two because they have the tiebreaker) and have a huge game this Sunday in Philadelphia against the Eagles.  It's huge because of possible playoff positioning (a 3 seed versus a 4 seed).  Both the Lions and Eagles have identical 7-5 records as of this writing.

A huge week for Michigan State sports is on tap.  MSU Men's basketball hosts North Carolina in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Wednesday, the MSU Volleyball team plays Friday night in Lexington, KY against Ohio in the NCAA Tournament.  The MSU Men's Soccer team is in the Elite Eight this Saturday in South Bend against Notre Dame.  The hockey team opens Big Ten play for the first time against Number 1 Minnesota on Friday. 

And there's some game in Indianapolis you may have heard about...


That's all for now...this is Brock Palmbos, signing off.