Thursday, January 28, 2016

Astros sign Doug Fister

Breaking news this morning as the Astros have apparently reached an agreement with free agent pitcher Doug Fister on a 1-year deal for $7m. Word is Fister could make up to $12m with bonuses and incentives.

Fister will be 32 next week (February 4) and comes without costing the Astros a draft pick (unlike, say, Yovani Gallardo). From 2011-2014 Fister was one of the best pitchers in the game: 51-38, 3.11 ERA/1.16 WHIP in 750.2IP.

But he took a step back in 2015, his second year with the Nationals, allowing 120H/48ER, 63K:24BB in 103IP - a 4.19 ERA/1.40 WHIP, mainly as a result of his Hits/9 increasing by 2.1 from 2014 to 2015. That 4.19 ERA was backed up by a 4.55 FIP and a 4.46 xFIP. 

Fister has had volatile peripherals throughout his career. His impressive 2014 (2.41 ERA) outperformed his FIP by a run and a half, helped by a .262 BABIP - the lowest of his career. He doesn't generate a ton of groundballs (by Astros standards) at 44.6% and relies on location, what with the 86mph Fastball he threw almost 70% of the time in 2015, which was down from 87.9mph in 2014.

He'll obviously slide into the rotation which, as of now is Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Fiers, and Feldman. Feldman is in the final year of his contract and could slide into the bullpen as a long man/spot starter. Or that could be Fister. Who knows? 

Fister fills what I suppose was a need, even if it's a You Can Never Have Too Much Pitching need. The top Astros' pitching prospects are at least a year away, so Fister serves as a reclamation project/stopgap until guys like Francis Martes are ready to contribute. 

Does the deal blow my skirt up? No. But he's (in the fantasyland that is Baseball Economics) a low-cost/short-term solution for a perceived need.

But this does make me laugh every. single. time.