Despite a fairly successful resume, Doug Fister remains the most high-profile free agent starting pitcher on the MLB market. However, recent reports have indicated that interest is picking up for the right-hander.
Doug Fister had trouble garnering major league contract interest this past offseason, but recently teams’ interest has spiked with the amount of starting pitcher injuries.
According to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, five teams were on hand to watch Fister throw last week. He also specifically mentions the Mets, Giants, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Angels as the clubs that remain interested in potentially signing the 33-year-old.
It remains to be seen whether any of these ball clubs or perhaps one that was not mentioned by Cotillo will step up to the plate and sign Fister to a major league contract that he’s been looking for.
Teams are probably concerned about Fister’s 2016 season, when he pitched to a 4.64 ERA. However, Fister’s 3.1 walks per nine rate is potentially more of a concern considering that it was a one point jump from two seasons ago. This is seriously discouraging for a pitcher that doesn’t strike out hitters at a high rate and needs quality control/command in order to get hitters out because of his lack of pure dominant stuff.
There does remain plenty of starting rotation spots available because of the predictable amount of starting pitching injuries. Here are five teams that I think Fister best fits given their starting rotation situations.
Coming into this season, many expected the Blue Jays rotation to be a pillar of what looked to be a solid ball club. However, with injuries to Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays roster remains a bit in flux. Once Sanchez and Happ return from injury, the Jays will once again have one of the best rotation in MLB.
Sanchez is set to return sometime next weekend, even though Rotowire staff states that the Jays will “take more precaution” moving forward because this is his already his second stint on the disabled list in this young MLB season.
J.A. Happ starting throwing last week, but he’s somewhat far away from returning to game action, so there is still a spot open for Fister to jump in the rotation right away if they sign him.
The Blue Jays got off to a very slow start, but still have enough talent to turn around their season once they get healthy. This means that Fister should be an option for the front office given that he has a solid track record and may steady the Blue Jays starting rotation.
In Toronto, Fister won’t have as much pressure given that Stroman, Estrada and to some extent Liriano all can carry the rotation in this recent injury situation.
Thus far, the D-Backs have used Zach Godley and Braden Shipley to fill out the starting staff, but the team may be on the lookout for a veteran arm instead.
It also should be noted that the term does have Archie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings in the pen, but it seems that the club would rather use him in a versatile relief role rather than have him pitch every five days. This does make some sense given that Arizona’s bullpen is below par on MLB standards (shout out to Fernando Rodney still amazingly holding on to the closer’s position).
Like in Toronto, Fister would have very little pressure on him given the recent performances of some of the starters ahead of him. Zack Greinke is off to a much better start than he was a year ago. Robbie Ray’s ERA is beginning to match his peripheral numbers and Taijuan Walker has shown flashes of his high potential.
This would help Fister slot right in. I assume he would also like the fact that he’s pitching in the National League West, which would almost assuredly help his performance and allow him to go back on the market a year from now and sign much earlier.
Minnesota is one of two teams on this list that wasn’t mentioned as a possible landing spot in Chris Cotillo’s original reporting. However, when looking at the roster, it looks pretty clear that he would slot in fairly well.
At the moment, the Twins’ two top starters are pitching very well. Ervin Santana may be one of the more sought after trade pieces come July and Hector Santiago is proving that the Twins front office may have gotten the best of that deal they made to send Ricky Nolasco to Anaheim.
However, apart from these two, the starting staff remains in flux. Phil Hughes is just not a very good starting pitcher and Nick Tepesch is probably more of a bullpen arm than a starter at this point.
Prospect Adalberto Mejia started the season in MLB, but was sent back down to develop a little more after running into some troubles.
Kyle Gibson is probably the biggest disappointment for the Twins franchise as the right-hander has just fallen off a cliff since his solid 2015 campaign. He was just demoted to Triple-A.
Signing Fister wouldn’t only be a move to remain competitive, but if her performs at least somewhat admirably, Minnesota could deal him a few months for now, which would make for quite a shrewd move. The Twins are not expected to compete for a playoff spot this season, so signing Fister may be a good fallback option for the ball club.
Miami made a decision this past winter to prioritize improving their already solid bullpen, while pretty much just trying to fill out their starting rotation with a few low-key veteran options.
It is a popular craze among the MLB world, but the team still brought in a decent buy-low candidate in Edinson Volquez and I would say overpaid for a middle of the road starter in Dan Straily.
However, it was on free agent prize from 2015, Wei-Yin Chen too lead the group after he posted career worst earned run average last year.
The rotation started out the season in decent fashion, but in recent days the club has been struck by the injury bug. Miami was just forced to place Chen on the disabled list with a tired arm after designating Volquez to the same fate earlier in the week due to blisters in his throwing hand.
So what once seemed like a reasonable match for Fister, looks like an even better fir given these recent transgressions.
Fister can act as a steady veteran influence for a team that is relying on the likes of youngsters Adam Conley and Jose Urena to eat a lot of innings. Both have talent, especially Conley, although he’s struggled for the most part thus far.
Miami also likes the depth in the minor leagues that many other MLB organizations have in order to get through these tough medical times.I’m sorry but the likes of Justin Nicolino, Odrisamer Despaigne and Vance Worley shouldn’t get anyone excited.
The room is there, the fit is right and Doug Fister definitely could wind up a Marlin over the course of the next few weeks.
Jeez… what did the Mets do the baseball gods? After overcoming a bevy of injuries to the starting rotation en route to a wild card berth in 2016, the Mets have once again ran into the dreaded injury bug. But this time, the team is not even close to in as good of a position to fight through it as they were last season.
In perhaps a development that will shift the course of MLB, the Mets could have to place Noah Syndergaard on the 60 day DL, which would leave the team without one of MLB’s best hurlers.
In addition, Seth Lugo and Steven Matz remain working toward rehab, but even they still have a long way to go. Even though our friends at Rising Apple just wrote about how a late May return may still be possible for the two pitchers.
Not to mention of course the incredibly confusing Matt Harvey suspension debacle, which highlights Harvey poor performance over the past month.
So who do the Mets have left after these rash of injuries? Well they still do have deGrom, who is pitching like the ace he is. They have Robert Gsellman, who has seemingly come back to earth of a scorching hot of the 2016 MLB regular season. Oh and don’t forget Zack Wheeler, who’s remained surprisingly healthy after his difficult injury history (fingers crossed).
The rest of the options are uninspiring to say the least. Rafael Montero and Adam Will aren’t serious MLB starting pitchers, and I’m skeptical about how Tommy Milone will perform after the Mets just picked him up off of waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Terry Collins is going to need to fill a lot of innings with the injuries that have occurred in Queens and Doug Fister should remain an option to fill those shoes for the time being.
There’s not much better that’s available at the moment and the Mets would do well to get some structure in that starting rotation.
It’s been a difficult opening to the 2017 MLB season, but the Mets have talent, especially when all their players come back from the disable list. They shouldn’t throw the season away because they will get too far down the standings.
Fister is obviously not the be-end-all of solutions, but at this point the Mets would be wise to take a flier on a guy with an MLB track record.