Astros: Is Mike Fiers a bargain?
By Cody Poage
Pitching is at such a high premium nowadays. And the Astros need to examine both internal and external options to get the best value.
When you examine the Astros 2016 rotation, there was much disappointment. Ineffectiveness and injuries were common. Thankfully, the Astros only paid roughly $15.8 million to their starters. That is much cheaper than some other franchises that have the same end goal.
However, that price tag is figured to go up with arbitration eligible players on the roster. And one such player that is due a raise is Mike Fiers.
Per MLB Trade Rumors outlook on the Astros, Fiers is projected to $4.3 million via the arbitration process. And that could be a bargain when you consider the market for starting pitchers.
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Of course, Fiers isn’t meant to be one of the Astros top starters. His 2016 season was serviceable, but a far cry from the type of production that is normally desired from a starter.
11-8 W-L, 4.48 ERA, 4.43 WHIP, 10.0 H9, 7.2 SO9
However, Fiers was never brought to Houston to be one of the team’s top pitchers. He is here to provide quality innings. That expectation though was forgotten when Astros top three starters either pitched ineffectively or injured. The desire for the 31-year old to step up became even more glaring as the season progressed.
But whenever you have a starter capable of giving you 160-180 decent innings then you don’t run them off without a solid backup plan in place. And until the team has their other starters step up, then it may be best to hold onto Fiers until proven otherwise.
Don’t forget that he is locked up under team control till 2020. And while his salary won’t be cheap going forward, the Astros have plenty of salary. You are also talking about the same franchise that gave Scott Feldman a generous salary for three years. They should have room for Fiers’ anticipated salary for at least one season.
Next: Astros Offseason: What if Jason Castro Already Rejected a Deal?
The upcoming offseason will have a major impact on the Astros rotation. Whether another starter is signed or acquired via trade, Fiers standing with Houston could change. Or not.
**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference**