MLB Hot Stove: Rangers reportedly add free agent Doug Fister to starting pitching mix

Heading toward 2018, there's little question the Rangers need to shore up their starting rotation. Sunday, news broke that they had agreed to a deal with free-agent starter Doug Fister. The free-agent deal is pending a physical, according to NBC Sports Boston

Surely the Rangers aren't done seeking starting pitching and Fister won't be their biggest splash, but he addresses depth concerns. 

Fister, 33, was 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings. His peripherals looked good, however, and his velocity increase helped propel him to a career-best strikeout rate (8.3 K/9). It's reasonable to believe Fister could succeed as a fourth or fifth type starter. 

Of course, the Rangers need more at the top of the rotation right now. Pending free agent Yu Darvish was traded in late July and Andrew Cashner has hit free agency. 

The obvious holdover candidates to anchor the rotation are Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, though neither were great last year and Perez was actually below average. Past that, there's A.J. Griffin (5.94 ERA last year) and Nick Martinez (5.66). There's been talk Matt Bush will have a shot at the rotation, too, but that's no sure thing. Prospect Yohander Mendez will get a crack as well. 

Walking through all of this, it's pretty obvious why Fister was signed. The Rangers need more arms that can survive a whole season in the rotation. 

To reiterate, surely they'll be looking to make a bigger splash -- maybe Shohei Ohtani or a lesser name like Alex Cobb -- but for now, Fister isn't a terrible signing at all. He adds depth in an area the Rangers desperately need it. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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