Detroit Tigers: Doug Fister Makes Sense as Hypothetical Depth Piece
By Ben Rosener
Detroit Tigers starting pitchers look set for another strong season in 2017. However, the club could use some depth. Doug Fister makes sense as a hypothetical depth piece.
Detroit Tigers fans remember Doug Fister well from his time in the Motor City.
The veteran starting pitcher joined Detroit at the trade deadline in 2011 and stayed with the franchise through the end of the 2013 campaign.
Detroit initially acquired Fister in a lopsided trade with the Seattle Mariners.
Then general manager Dave Dombrowski flipped prospects Francisco Martinez and Chance Ruffin, as well as Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells, to Seattle.
Fister would go on to post an 8-1 record with a 1.79 ERA in 70.1 innings down the stretch in 2011, making an instant impact.
He struck out 57, while only walking five walks.
Overall, the veteran went 32-20 with a 3.29 ERA and a 3.20 FIP in 70 outings (68 starts) for the Tigers. In his time in Detroit, Fister also logged a 9.8 WAR.
The former Tiger would go on to pitch for the Washington Nationals for two seasons, before latching on with the Houston Astros last season.
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In 32 starts, the right-hander logged 180.1 innings, a 1.1 WAR, a 4.64 ERA and a 4.75 FIP. Never a pitcher to rack up strikeouts, Fister punched out 5.7 batters per nine innings with the Astros.
Fister is currently a free agent and would make a lot of sense as depth piece for the Detroit Tigers.
This is all speculative and hypothetical mind you, but the fit is there.
Comerica Park Numbers
Despite the relative struggles in Houston last season, Fister does carry an excellent track record in Detroit’s home stadium.
In 35 starts at Comerica Park, Doug Fister is 18-10 with a 3.18 ERA.
Those 35 starts have spanned 23.2 innings, and have also included 180 strikeouts compared to just 44 walks.
If he could find that form again, Detroit would be in excellent shape form a rotation standpoint.
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The main reason there is a need for someone like Fister is because of Detroit’s depth.
Over the past two seasons, the Tigers have done a solid job of improving the team’s depth.
As of now, Detroit’s reserve starting pitching options include Warwick Saupold, Buck Farmer, Chad Bell and Myles Jaye.
However, adding Fister would bring a proven presence to the Detroit organization.
During his second season in Washington, the veteran starter moved to the bullpen for 10 games. Despite an overall ERA of 4.19 on the season, Fister was effective pitching in a relief role.
In 17 innings, he allowed just six walks and four earned runs while punching out 15.
He could potentially fit into Detroit’s bullpen situation as a swingman should Anibal Sanchez struggle.
Another Familiar Face?
If Fister signs with the Tigers, it would represent the fourth member of the 2012 American League pennant winning team to rejoin the organization.
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Utility man Omar Infante, catcher Alex Avila and pitchers Adam Wilk and Collin Balester joined the team as free agents in the offseason, while fellow backstop Bryan Holaday signed with the organization before the beginning of the regular season.