Mid-tier free agent starter Doug Fister and his representatives are seeking a two-year deal in the $22 million range according to a report by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
The fact that Fister hasn’t signed a contract yet is quite surprising when you consider the fact that Scott Kazmir has already received a three-year $48 million dollar deal from the Dodgers.
Kazmir is also a mid-tier starter that has the potential to provide a lot of value, and rotation depth. That is exactly what Fister can do for a team in need of starting pitching depth.
Granted, Fister didn’t have his best season in 2015. In fact, by many statistical measures it was the worst season of his career.
The 31-year-old right-hander went 5-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 25 games (15 starts) across 103 innings pitched in his second season with the Nationals.
I’m sure Fister would have loved to have his 2014 season be his free agent year. In 2014, Fister was one of the best pitchers on the Nationals staff, winning 16 games and compiling a 2.41 ERA in 25 starts across 164.0 innings pitched.
His strikeout rate and his velocity declined significantly last season contributing to his sub par performance on the mound.
Fister struck out just 63 batters in 2015 compared with 98 in 2014, and his BB/9 increased from 1.3 to 2.1. This all culminated in him going from a 4.5 win player in 2014 to a 0.2 win player in 2015.
Fister did miss some time with a forearm injury and was demoted to the bullpen in August.
From this perspective, I can see why teams are hesitant to sign a pitcher of his age. However, given how he pitched in 2014, he is a perfect bounce back candidate, and would be a bargain for many teams.
The native of Merced, California has been linked to the Marlins, Phillies, and Tigers this winter.
The Red Sox and Royals have question marks all over their rotations and would be logical fits for Fister. My colleague Josh Sadlock wrote a interesting piece on Fister and the Royals a couple of days ago.
In my opinion, Fister should take a one-year deal and reestablish his value on the open market in 2016. Fister has a chance to get more money next offseason because he will be a part of a relatively weak starting pitching class.