It’s time to reflect on now-free agent Mike Fiers and his time with the Astros.
The offseason is here, which means that baseball decisions must be made. Performance or business reasons. Regardless of the rationale, decisions must be made. The Astros are familiar with such decisions.
Unfortunately for Mike Fiers, the Astros made a decision that essentially ends his time in Houston.
To recap from the beginning, Mike Fiers was the other half of the Astros’ return from a trade deadline deal with the Brewers in 2015. It’s not a trade that aged well for Houston.
Not well at all.
Carlos Gomez was the primary prize in this deal for the Astros. The thought was Gomez would provide a jolt to a Houston team that jumped out to a surprising start in 2015. Fiers was acquired as pitching depth, which is something all contenders desire every season.
Ironically enough, Fiers outlasted Gomez by more than a calendar year in Houston. Indeed, an unexpected development.
Despite the ending, Fiers was important to the team’s success since his arrival. For example, his no-hitter of the Dodgers shortly following the trade to Houston. The first no-hitter in Minute Maid Park history. Good times.
Fiers also performed admirably in the middle of the 2017 season.
From May 20th through July 21st, a stretch of roughly two months, Fiers started twelve games and threw 72.1 innings. In those twelve starts, Fiers posted a 2.51 ERA and 3.21 FIP along a 25.2% strikeout rate. He also kept his home run-to-fly ball ratio at a manageable 7.6%. For context, Fiers posted an 19.2% home run-to-fly ball ratio for the entire season. Fiers obviously had a home run problem for most of the season. Except for two months.
Overall, the former Brewer and Astro had a rather absymal 2017. He finished the season with a 5.22 ERA and 5.43 FIP. Fiers also finished with the sixth-highest home run-to-fly ball ratio. And he lost his job in the starting rotation twice. Plus, he was not included on any postseason roster.
However, the right-hander gave the team quality innings at a time when Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton were on the disabled list. He and Brad Peacock were the one-two punch in the rotation. Fiers actually led the team in innings pitched with 153.1 on the season. This was the same team that just won the World Series one month ago!
The handwriting was on the wall in regards to Fiers’ eventual departure. As you may recall, he threw at the head of former teammate Luis Valbuena during a bad start against the Angels. Fiers would be suspended for five games, and he wouldn’t throw another pitch for the Astros after that. It was quite the memorable ending for not the right reason.
Fiers, to his credit, took the news gracefully.
General manager Jeff Luhnow also complimented Fiers on his work in Houston since 2015 and the impact he had specifically during the summer.
Here’s to you, Mike Fiers, from Climbing Tal’s Hill. You will always have fans in Houston, and thank you for the memories and contributions. Best of luck to you on the next stop in your career.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs**