MLBits: Astros Sign Fister, Yankees Sign No One, Pirates Maybe Extend, MLB New Duds

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MLBits: Astros Sign Fister, Yankees Sign No One, Pirates Maybe Extend, MLB New Duds

Chicago Cubs

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In addition to today’s notable, and odd, Rays/Rockies trade, there’s a bunch else to get into …

  • The Astros signed formerly quietly awesome pitcher Doug Fister to a one-year, $7 million deal with incentives that can take it up to $12 million (Chris Cotillo). The reaction to the deal, as far as I have seen, has been overwhelmingly positive, which makes me wonder if Fister was quietly awful in 2015. Not only were Fister’s results terrible in 2015 (4.19 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 4.46 xFIP), his peripherals were all trending in the wrong direction, his strikeout rate reached a scary 14.0% (even as his groundball rate fell), he was injured, and his velocity – which was already sub-90mph – fell markedly to just 86mph. At 32 years old in 2016, the odds that Fister continues to decline are much higher than otherwise. No, the Astros didn’t commit a ton of money, but I’m surprised it took that healthy of a Major League deal to get things done in the first place.
  • Ok, I’m probably being too tough on what is ultimately a very small deal. The Astros needed depth in the rotation, and I totally get the deal in that regard. And, hey, if they had the extra money to use as the free agent market dwindled, why not spend it?
  • The Yankees have done some interesting things this offseason – trading for Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman, for two examples – but there’s something they haven’t done yet: sign a big league free agent. Seriously. The New York Yankees have not signed a single big league free agent this offseason. And there were more quality free agents this offseason than any in recent memory! For more on this phenomenon, read this by Joe Giglio. It’s not like this has happened without reason – the Yankees spent a ton elsewhere in recent years – but it’s still pretty crazy.
  • Francisco Cervelli was fantastic offensively and behind the plate last year for the Pirates after he was given a chance to start full time, and now, just a year from free agency, he’s reportedly willing to extend with the Pirates for just three years and $39 million. Even with a short track record of success, that still seems like a huge bargain. I suppose the one mild hang-up would be his age (he turns 30 this year), but, as we’ve discussed before, it’s not uncommon for catchers to peak offensively a little later than most.
  • The Phillies have finally hired someone to head up their analytics department, and it’s going to be so hard not to make jokes, given their history of not always being forward-thinking in this area. The hire, Andy Galdi, is undoubtedly highly qualified, brilliant, and going to help. But, since he comes to the Phillies from Google, I can’t help but envision a board meeting …

“We need to get into those sabermetrics already.”

“Agreed. How should we do it? Where do we even find someone?”

“I don’t know. Just use Google.”


  • Thank you. But seriously, it’s an interesting move, and many analytics folks in the game today came from diverse professional backgrounds. This could wind up a perfect fit. Galdi does have previous experience in sports analytics, having worked for the NBA prior to Google.
  • The Nationals and Orioles have been fighting (intermittently with each other, intermittently with MLB, and intermittently with their RSN) about their shared TV deal for a long time, and it’s getting ugly again.
  • Jonah Keri is joining CBS Sports’ national baseball crew. Some may frame that as “Keri replacing Jon Heyman,” but I’m not really sure that’s what it is, because they don’t quite do the same thing. Both are really good at what they do – I’m glad to see Keri get a new, permanent baseball landing spot post-Grantland, and I also hope Heyman gets a permanent writing spot (outside of MLB Network).
  • MLB has unveiled new Spring Training jerseys and caps, which you can check out here. Gotta say, I’m impressed by Chicago, particularly one half (and, hey, how about clicking “Follow” on Baseball Is Fun on Twitter right there (and Bleacher Nation, if you aren’t already)):

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.