A month after they first drew a connection to free agent right-hander Doug Fister, the Mets are still considering signing the 33-year-old, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. New York was among four teams to watch Fister throw last week, joining the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Angels, reports Cotillo, who adds that the Giants also took a recent look at him.
The Mets’ rotation is in far worse straits than it was when they were eyeing Fister in early April. Ace Noah Syndergaard has since landed on the disabled list with a partially torn right lat, and he’s unlikely to return until after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo still haven’t pitched this year as a result of elbow problems, and Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler have logged subpar results. In the Mets’ view, Harvey also hasn’t been a model member of the organization behind the scenes, evidenced by the three-day suspension he’s currently serving.
The other four teams targeting Fister have also seen their rotations deal with injuries. Two of Toronto’s top starters, Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ, are on the DL. Arizona lost Shelby Miller to a season-ending elbow injury last month, leaving it without an obvious solution to team with Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin. Los Angeles is without two of its starters, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs, both of whom are on the DL. Lastly, San Francisco’s ace, Madison Bumgarner, will sit out until at least midsummer thanks to a dirt bike accident, and fellow starters Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Matt Cain and Ty Blach have recorded mediocre to poor results in the early going.
Like the Giants’ starters, the soft-tossing Fister hasn’t been all that effective of late. Once a legitimate middle-of-the-rotation arm (if not more), Fister produced like a back-end type with the Nationals and Astros from 2015-16, posting a 4.48 ERA and a 4.68 FIP in 283 1/3 innings. Further, whether he signs a major league deal or a minor league pact, Fister will surely need some time to tune up at the lower levels before potentially contributing in the big leagues this season.