3:29pm: Fister did indeed exercise his opt-out, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. He’ll be on release waivers for the next 48 hours and will then have the opportunity to sign on with another team once he clears. While Fister could technically be claimed off release waivers, any team doing so would have to be comfortable paying him at the pro-rated $1.75MM salary he agreed to with Anaheim, and other clubs may prefer to aim for a lower rate once he clears.
2:40pm: The Angels have released veteran righty Doug Fister from his minor-league deal, per a club announcement. Today was the date for his opt-out opportunity, so it appears likely that the Halos elected not to add him to the MLB roster and instead granted a request that he be returned to the open market.
Fister, 33, had a promising first outing at Triple-A, but his two more recent starts haven’t been as successful. In total, he has a 4.02 ERA with 10 strikeouts and five walks through 15 2/3 innings against minor league opponents.
That showing evidently wasn’t enough to motivate the Angels to clear a roster and rotation spot for Fister. At this point, perhaps, there wasn’t much upside to such a move. It’s now been three years since the right-hander was an above-average contributor in a big league rotation, and his fastball velocity has taken a notable dip in recent years. Last year, Fister was able to make 32 starts last year for the first time since 2013, but wasn’t very effective (4.64 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 45.3 percent ground-ball rate) with the division-rival Astros.
Of course, that’s not to say that he won’t draw interest. There were reportedly five clubs that at least kicked the tires on Fister last time around — the D-backs, Mets, Giants and Blue Jays were all linked to him as well last time in free agency — and there are plenty of clubs that could use depth options in the rotation. While it’s possible that a pitching-needy team (e.g. Twins, Orioles) agrees to plug Fister directly into the rotation, the majority of interested parties figure to be eyeing arrangements similar to the one from which Fister just opted out in Anaheim.