Milwaukee Brewers: Doug Fister a low cost option for the rotation?

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Doug Fister
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Doug Fister /

Doug Fister was surprisingly effective for the Boston Red Sox in 2017. Now he’s a free agent and in need of a rotation spot. The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to bolster their rotation. Could Fister make sense if the Brew Crew misses out on the big names?

Doug Fister will turn 34 before Opening Day 2018. He’s pitched for four teams in the past four seasons. He may also end up as one of the biggest bargains of the 2017 free agent class.

How did 2017 go for Fister?

Well, he signed with the Los Angeles Angels in May and never pitched for them. Fister signed late after holding out for a Major League deal during the off season. He tossed three games for the Angels Triple-A affiliate before going on waivers.The Boston Red Sox needed a starting pitcher, and claimed Fister after he triggered an out clause in his contract.

Fister made 18 appearances for the Red Sox including 15 starts. In 90 1/3 innings, Fister posted a 4.88 ERA. He struck out 83 and walked 38. He managed to throw a one-hit, complete game in August against the Indians. More impressively, he made a post season start for the Red Sox.

Why would the Milwaukee Brewers want Fister?

The peripheral numbers show that Fister was more effective than his actual numbers. His xFIP shows that he pitched more like a 4.18 ERA pitcher than a 4.88 ERA pitcher. Fister’s HR/9 was below 1.00 for the first time since 2014, and he racked up impressive strikeout totals for a guy who has never posted a K/9 over 8.00 before. His velocity and movement was back to pre-2015 numbers.

How much will Fister cost?

Doug Fister played for $1.75 million last year. He’ll likely get a raise over his 2017 salary, but a one-year deal at about $5 million is probably the top of the market.

If the Milwaukee Brewers miss out on Lance Lynn, Jake Arrieta, and Yu Darvish, they could look to low cost options like Chris Tillman and Doug Fister. The Brew Crew needs to add a starter or dip into their Minor League system until Jimmy Nelson is ready to return in the late summer.

Next: Is Chris Tillman a worthwhile reclamation project?

Signing Fister will likely be viewed negatively, but he’s capable of gobbling up innings. The Milwaukee Brewers could have used an innings eater last April and May when they chewed through their bullpen. A signing like Doug Fister could prevent the bullpen from being overly taxed early in the season.