The latest rumors indicate that the San Diego Padres are in the Doug Fister sweepstakes. How likely are they to bring him aboard for 2017?
For the San Diego Padres, veteran pitching seems to be at the top of the list wish. Previously expressing interest in seasoned starters Jered Weaver and Jake Peavy, the team feels the need to strengthen the rotation for 2017.
Fister has been in the major leagues for eight seasons, spending time with four different clubs. Now a free agent, the 32-year-old has a lot of options even after a bit of a down 2016 in which he went 12-13 with a 4.64 ERA.
Fister has proven to be a versatile pitcher, succeeding under various different circumstances. Drafted by Seattle in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, the right-hander quickly ascended through the ranks of the minor leagues and found success shortly after being called up to the bigs in 2009.
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But Fister was forced to adapt when traded to Detroit in 2011, and traded again to Washington three years later. After two seasons with the Nationals, Fister became a free agent and elected to join the Houston Astros for 2016. After one season in the lone star state, the native of California is back on the market.
The Padres could use Fister as a second or third starter, which would ease the burden several of the club’s young starters would have to shoulder if a veteran was not signed. Fister could provide the consistency the Padres need and serve as a leader of a young rotation.
There are negatives to signing Fister however, such as his decrease in velocity and increase in walks.
Between 2015 and 2016, Fister’s innings increased by 77 and 1/3, allowing him to strike out 62 more. The only problem is, the 32-year-old walked 62 in 2016 as opposed to 24 in 2015. This increase of 158% in walks far surpasses his increase of 83% in strikeouts, indicating a possible decline in command.
But overall, signing Fister for a one year, $5-6 million contract would be reasonable for both sides. After making $7 million last season, Fister is in for a slight decrease in pay. Still, the benefits he could bring to a rotation seeking one more formidable arm could easily outweigh the cost.