The Texas Rangers filled one of the voids in their rotation, making veteran Doug Fister a Ranger. It’s not an earth-shattering move, but could be a smart one.
The desire for most Texas Rangers fans is to bolster the rotation with top tier arms and be a legitimate World Series contender. Sometimes it’s the smaller moves that are the most effective instead of the headline-grabbing moves.
Last offseason, the Rangers added Andrew Cashner on a low-key, one-year deal. He The move was beneficial for both club and player. Cashner was the Rangers most effective pitcher and he set himself up for a decent raise.
The Doug Fister signing is a lot like the Cashner signing last season. Cashner was a veteran pitcher who had success previously, but had slipped in recent years. Fister is in that same exact situation. Here’s three reasons to like it:
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Low Risk/High Reward
Doug Fister wasn’t brought to Arlington to be a front-line starter. He was brought in to be another option for the rotation, primarily on the back end as a fourth or fifth starter. The cost is the most attractive thing about this deal.
For $4 million in 2018 and a club option for 2019, this could end up being a steal. If he finds his form closer to his 2014 self, the Rangers will have gotten the signing of the offseason. If he flops, it only cost $4 million, and you’re not too inclined to keep him in the rotation, or on the club for that matter. This is the ultimate “low risk/high reward” signing.
The low cost also essentially doesn’t even eat into offseason spending. That still leaves a good chunk of change to go after more pitchers and hopefully an outfielder.
It’s a Lot Like That Charlie Morton Signing
Nobody wants the Houston Astros to fail more than Rangers fans. They have, however, been one of the smarter clubs in last couple of seasons with the moves they’ve made, including finding value in guys that don’t stand out.
Before the 2017 World Series, Charlie Morton was only known once as a top Atlanta Braves prospect and a mediocre starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates that never really lived up to the hype. Houston snagged him early last offseason, and he became what every team really needs: a solid veteran pitcher who could either pitch in the rotation or out of the bullpen.
Listen, no one is saying that Fister will duplicate what Morton did for the Astros. If he could regain his form however, or close to it, he could be a pitcher that helps solidify the back end of the rotation, which has been a revolving door recently. He also could play a similar role that Morton did for the Astros if the Rangers make the playoffs.
The Rangers Aren’t Done
The reactions on Twitter and social media from this signing is comparable to an armageddon of some kind. The perception has been that this is the move the Rangers are making and that’s it.
Winter Meetings are still two weeks away. It’s very early in the offseason. The Rangers aren’t done. There are multiple reports stating they are very involved in the starting pitching market. The two names they have been tied to the most are Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. Either of those pitchers would be fine additions to the Rangers rotation.
There’s also that Shohei Ohtani guy the Rangers are very involved in.
Not every signing the Rangers make is going to light up headlines. Be cognizant of what each move is. This is your classic “low risk/high reward” signing. And if Fister lights it up in 2018, Jon Daniels will look like a genius and nobody will be complaining.