Astros Rumors: Team Considering Doug Fister for Rotation

ehuysman78
Aug 3, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (33) throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (33) throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Recent Houston Astros Rumors Have Them Exploring Signing Doug Fister, According to Nick Cafardo.

The latest Houston Astros rumors have them looking for that guy for the fifth spot in the rotation, but have fallen short of the top and mid-level starting pitching free agents. They have been rumored to have had some interest in Yovani Gallardo but haven’t been able to pull the trigger to sign him. Today at the Bloggers’ Round Table at Astros FanFest, Mike Elias mentioned that they are not opposed to losing the first round pick to sign a free-agent. “We are not opposed to signing a free agent that will cost us a draft pick, it’s a penalty when it happens, losing a pick is not desirable, but we are aware of the value of that pick. If we feel like the free agent acquisition can offset the value of losing the draft pick it’s ok.”

One remaining free-agent who could be an option without losing a pick is right-hander Doug Fister, who pitched last season in the Washington rotation. Why is he still available? The 31-year-old pitcher is coming off a down season in Washington, but he would have received a big time contract should he have been more successful in 2015. Fortunately for the Astros, he is still available for a lower price tag for the 2016 season. According to Nick Cafardo, “The Astros have been exploring the possibility of Fister to round out their rotation.” He went on to say that the Astros are looking to fill the rotation on a budget; Fister could be the guy.

However, Quinton McCracken did say that when they are looking at free agents, they don’t want to stop the young influx by just signing any guy. What I think he meant by that is that any guy that they sign will be someone who would be valuable to the team and worthy of blocking some of the younger talents on the team. The sign of a good team is being able to have the depth necessary to withstand a devastating loss to a pitcher or hitter and not miss a beat. To get Fister on a one to a two-year deal would be good for the Astros to give minor league arms more time to develop and be ready when needed.

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

A pitcher like Fister as the fifth starter could be a good asset to have to solidify the five starters, so they don’t have to depend on a rookie so early in the season. Despite the rocky season in 2015, Fister was a top of the rotation guy in 2014 winning 16 games with a 2.41 ERA with the Nationals. Should he rediscover his 2012-2014 form, he could be the piece to make this rotation one of the top rotations in baseball, instead of the 12th right now as we wrote here: Where does the starting rotation stand?

2014 Stats: 16-6/ 2.41 ERA/ 98 strikeouts in 164 innings/ 24 walks.

2015 Stats: 5-7/ 4.19 ERA/ 63 strikeouts in 103 innings/ 24 walks.

As you can see, Fister is not a strikeout artist, as he averages 86-87 MPH on his fastball according to Fangraphs. Part of his success in the past has stemmed from his tall frame, as he is 6’8” tall. He velocity dipped in 2015 a little, and you could also notice a drastic difference in his left on base percentages as he dropped from 83.1% to 72.1% in 2015. There was a drop in velocity across the board with his pitches as Fister struggled with elbow issues in 2015. How healthy is he right now, is this the reason that he is still available?

“We are not opposed to signing a free agent that will cost us a draft pick, it’s a penalty when it happens, losing a pick is not desirable, but we are aware of the value of that pick. If we feel like the free agent acquisition can offset the value of losing the draft pick it’s ok.” – Mike Elias.

Could Fister become the Colby Rasmus signing this year? He could be a one-year find that helps the Astros get to the playoffs, but most likely be looking for at least a two-year deal. However, he could accept a one year deal to build his value back up, and then cash in on a multi-year deal next offseason. If you want me to make a prediction, I would say at this stage of the offseason, they could get him for a two-year $22-24 million dollar deal.

He is a control pitcher by nature, imagine what could happen when Brett Strom gets his hands on Fister. Strom was credited with helping Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh bounce back from tough starts to their careers. However, this creates a logjam that could hurt Dan Straily or Scott Feldman. Straily is out of options and Feldman would have to be converted to the long relief pitcher. Quinton McCracken said today at the Bloggers’ Round Table that Feldman’s injury hurt the Astros at the time, so the team still sees value in him.

Next: Houston Astros: A.J. Reed ranked as top 1B prospect

This type of signing would also affect minor leaguers such as Michael Feliz, Chris Devenski, Brady Rodgers, and Joseph Musgrove. But, as I mentioned earlier, just because they aren’t in the rotation at the start of the year does not mean they won’t have a big impact on the 2016 season. I like the idea of signing low on a pitcher like Fister because his upside could put the Astros over the top. If he fails, the Astros will have other options ready to roll.

**Stats from Fangraphs**

facebooktwitterreddit