Doug Fister turned the trick of surviving with a sub-90 mph fastball for several years, but it appears the jig is up, as the right-hander is coming off a 32-start campaign with career-worst numbers in the fantasy-relevant categories of ERA and WHIP. He hasn't carried a strikeout rate higher than 5.7 K/9 since 2013, but the escalated homer rate of the past few years was joined by a sudden proclivity for the free pass, as Fister's walk frequency jumped more than two full percentage points from his previous high (set in his rookie year) to 8.0 percent. He has morphed his delivery over the years but has been known to employ some weird angles, so perhaps he can correct the walk issue with an adjustment, but his theoretical upside is fading quickly into the rearview mirror. Rostering a subpar strikeout pitcher who eats innings carries a heavy cost in the modern game of high strikeouts, and Fister is unlikely to make up the difference with impeccable ratios.
The Mets expressed interest in signing Fister, but he's insisting on a major-league deal, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. New York appeared interested in Fister for organizational depth, but the right-hander's reluctance says the Mets didn't have a guaranteed job in mind for him. He may be worth a fantasy pickup if he does find a significant role, but his shaky skills make even that plan tenuous.
Fister was not extended a qualifying offer by the Astros on Monday, making him a free agent, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Fister had his fair share of struggles this season, posting career-worsts in ERA, WHIP, and BB/9, leading the Astros to part ways with him. The 32-year-old at least has proven to be fairly durable, so he could still latch on with a team in need of a veteran rotation presence.
Fister (12-13) lasted just 1.1 innings and allowed five runs on five hits, including a home run in a loss to the Mariners on Wednesday. He also struck out two and walked one. The loss means Fister will finish winless in his final seven starts, five of which he took the loss. He hasn't won since throwing seven shutout innings at Pittsburgh on Aug. 22. At that point, he was 12-8 with a 3.59 ERA, but over his final seven starts, he posted a 10.54 ERA. That sour ending leaves him at 12-13 with a 4.64 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 115 strikeouts in 180.1 innings.
Fister (12-12) dropped his fourth straight decision after allowing seven runs on eight hits -- including two homers -- and two walks with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings in Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Mariners. Fister struggled again on Sunday, failing to complete five innings for the fifth time in his last seven starts. The 32-year-old has faded badly down the stretch, with a 7.85 ERA and 1.85 WHIP dating back to August 11. He'll look to improve his 4.45 ERA and 1.41 WHIP -- both career highs -- in a friendly home matchup against the Angels on Friday.
Fister allowed three runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts over five innings in a no-decision Monday against Texas. Fister managed to complete five innings for the first time since August 22 against Pittsburgh, but the results are still far from encouraging. Fister owns a brutal 6:8 K:BB over 17.1 innings over his past four starts and only managed to avoid his fourth straight loss thanks to extra innings. Injuries to Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers may mean Fister has to stay in the rotation through season's end, but he can't be making Astros management confident with his recent performance.
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