Doug Fister: Steal of the Offseason?
By Kenneth Nash
The Rangers entered the offseason looking to rebuild a pitching staff that was one of the worst in baseball. One of the additions, Doug Fister, may have been the biggest steal of them all.
When Texas entered the offseason, priority number one was adding pitching to a staff that was among the worst in baseball. Texas was linked to top tier starters such as Jake Arrieta and former Ranger, Yu Darvish as well as second tier starters such as Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb. However, by the start of Spring Training, the Rangers had elected for the economically safe options to bolster the staff with Mike Minor, Doug Fister and Matt Moore. Minor, at just 30 years old, was coming off a solid year in Kansas City out of the bullpen and Texas saw potential as a starter. Moore was looking to reclaim former glory in San Francisco when the Rangers made a trade for the 28-year old lefty. Yet Doug Fister was possibly the most intriguing of any addition.
Call to the Pen
Fister, coming off his worst statistical season of his career, was a free agent added on a 1-year deal. The tall sinker-baller was a good depth signing to bolster a rotation headlined with Martin Perez and Cole Hamels, however expectations were that more quality starting pitchers would be added. As free agency wore on and only average moves were made Fister’s role increased in importance more and more. By the time Spring Training rolled around, Fister was expected to be a top end rotation guy for Texas especially considering the injury to Martin Perez.
During Spring Training, the 6’8″ righty made 4 starts as he sought out a return to his past form. Across those starts, Fister went 0-1 in 12.1 innings with a 5.84 ERA. He also struck out 8 while walking 2 batters. Not the most impressive numbers, but with Spring Training being so hard to gauge, Fister was slotted as the number 2 starter to open the season behind Cole Hamels. The veteran made his first start of the year against the defending champions Astros and put up an impressive performance for the Rangers first win of the year. Fister went 5 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. This outing was impressive and shed a light on the potential he could have for this team.
What makes Fister such a steal is not just his ability but also the price that Texas paid for him. The Rangers signed him to a 1-year, $3.5 million contract with an team option for a 2nd season. At this salary, Sportrac has him as the 83rd highest paid starter in baseball and of the Rangers starters to appear so far this year, only Bartolo Colon makes less. At this value, Fister has the potential to be an impact starter near the top of Texas’ rotation, at a low rotation price. Even though he may not be the big name signing that the Rangers were perhaps looking for or fans wanted, Fister may show himself to be one of the better moves made by this front office in awhile.
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Fisters’ second start will come Wednesday, April 4th against the Athletics. First pitch is set for 9:05 CT.
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