The interest in Doug Fister is getting stronger considering the current market for starting pitchers. Last playing for the Washington Nationals, it’s more likely Fister ends up throwing for the Houston Astros, New York Yankees or Baltimore Orioles in 2016.
Fister had a rough 2015 because of an injury that limited him to just 15 starts and 103 innings. While he might have had better and higher highs than Yovani Gallardo since 2009, he has played in less than 300 innings over the last two years for the Nationals. Gallardo has pitched over 180 innings in seven consecutive seasons, so it’s a case of potential vs reliability, which has kept Fister as a third and fourth option for a lot of teams looking for a starting pitcher.
But the market is emptying out, which means Fister, at some point, is going to get a deal from someone. What kind of deal? He made $11.4 million last season for Washington, and while players usually move up in the world before hitting a certain age, Fister might have to settle for a bit less if it means getting more than one year on his deal. Something like $20-22 million for the next two seasons sounds about right, although it could change a bit, downwards or upwards.
One thing Fister makes sense at is not having to give up a draft pick for those signing him, unlike Gallardo. The Orioles, who might not be willing to spend even that much but would like to upgrade their bullpen, probably fear the $50 million price tag on Gallardo. The Astros could go here or there but are looking to sign someone, missing out on a few outside free agents this season while taking care of their own players. The Yankees haven’t made big free agency moves, more focused on trades, but could do something a little out of their blueprint, hoping to improve a rotation that might be protected by an excellent bullpen, but it would still be nice to feel they can put someone out there who can consistently give them at least six innings. In 2014, Fister had 164 innings in 25 starts, finishing with a 2.41 ERA, 1.079 WHIP and a fantastic 4.08 Strikeout/walk ratio. But that was 2014, and whatever he had going for him then might not return.