The Kansas City Royals are still looking at pitching upgrades. Doug Fister has reportedly received several one to two year offers. Could the Royals be involved?
At this point in free agency, the Kansas City Royals are likely looking at bringing in a reclamation project in order to bolster their starting rotation. There are certainly plenty of intriguing options available, with pitchers like Mat Latos and Doug Fister possibly available on a one year deal as they look to rebuild their value. Given the Royals ability to work wonders with those types of pitchers over the past few seasons, it is certainly a market worth looking into.
It appears as though one of these targets may have a new home soon. According a report by Buster Olney on Twitter, Fister has received several one to two year offers from multiple teams.
While Olney did not go into specifics, there are several teams that would seemingly be a great fit for Fister. Teams like the Pirates or the Royals, who have budgetary concerns and a track record of being able to turn these reclamation projects into gold more often than not, would be logical choices for a pitcher looking to rebuild his value.
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Obviously, there are a number of warning signs with Fister. His velocity dropped by over two miles per hour last season, leading to a difficult 2015 campaign. After being one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, Fister posted a 4.19 ERA and a 1.398 WHiP, striking out only 63 batters in 103 innings. As a starter, Fister posted a 4.60 ERA and a 1.419 WHiP, with his average fastball dropping down to 86.3 MPH in July.
The overall numbers are skewed a bit by Fister’s success in the bullpen last season. Although he was unable to regain his velocity, Fister did post a 2.12 ERA and a 1.294 WHiP. He also increased his strikeout rate from 5.0/9 as a starter to 7.9/9 as a reliever, showing that the ability is still there, even with the diminished speed on his fastball.
The question that the Royals, or any other team interested in Fister, need to ask is whether or not that time in the bullpen was a mirage. Is his decreased fastball velocity a sign that he is beginning to decline, or was he battling through an injury? Can he learn to pitch effectively if his fastball is still only in the mid 80s going forward?
Yet, even with those issues, Fister still had that excellent control he has been known for, walking just over two batters per nine innings. If he can continue that control, and learn to adjust his pitching style to match his diminished velocity, Fister could be close to the pitcher that he had been in years past.
Given the Kansas City Royals ability to find diamonds in the rough, they may be one of the teams to offer Doug Fister a contract. Even though there are warning signs, his solid control may help alleviate some of those concerns, especially for a team that has had a positive track record for bringing these pitchers back to their former glory.