I’m not saying I expected something big to drop today – at least not any more than I’ve been expecting it any other day since free agency kicked off three weeks ago – but I’ve had my eyes glued to Twitter and my ears listening for the sound of my phone all day.
Source: Rangers to sign Doug Fister to a major league deal, pending a physical. Righty leaves the Red Sox, who helped him get back on track https://t.co/8uOAfWudix
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) November 26, 2017
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) November 26, 2017
Those are … things. They are, strictly-speaking, newsworthy to some fans of some teams somewhere in the continental United States (and probably six or seven people in Hawaii).
I offer them to you not so much because they merit immediate attention or discussion. Instead, it’s kind of just a “hey, I swear I’m paying attention” thing. And, of course, it underscores how freezing cold the freezing cold stove is right now. These are the things today. Ta-da.
There’s really not even much in the way of context to discuss about those two things. Ethier will (or will not) play next season at age 36 after having been a total non-factor in baseball the last two seasons. If he finds a team this offseason, it will be on a minor league deal, and it will not impact the market.
Fister, 33, has posted a 4.64 and 4.88 ERA the last two years after cratering with the Nationals. He managed to get himself a big league contract from the Rangers, but his presence in the very, very needy rotation there will not have any effect whatsoever on the markets for Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn.
OK, I guess the one small thing you could take away here is that Fister, despite his lack of overall success with the Red Sox last year, managed a $4 million guarantee, with some bonus potential and a club option for $7 million in 2019 (Cotillo). The Rangers are clearly betting on a massive spike in Fister’s strikeout rate in 2017 (21.2% – his career mark is just 16.4%) thanks to in large part to a 1 to 2 mph velocity bump (albeit up to 90-ish MPH). They are also reflecting the cost of pure innings eating depth – your best case, realistic scenario for Fister is “adequate fifth starter.” The price tag, then, sounds about right.