TODAY: The Athletics are also interested in Fiers, according to reports from the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky and MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, though there haven’t yet been any serious talks between Oakland and Detroit.
SATURDAY: Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers started against the Red Sox on Saturday, but he may find himself on Boston’s roster soon. With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nearing, the Red Sox are one of several clubs “evaluating” Fiers, Buster Olney of ESPN tweets.
Although Boston possesses the majors’ best record (69-30) and a five-game lead in the AL East, injuries have recently taken a bite out of its rotation. Mid-rotation arm Eduardo Rodriguez incurred “serious damage” to his right ankle last week, forcing him to the disabled list, and both Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright are currently on the DL with him. Pomeranz will return Tuesday, but he has been woeful in eight starts this year (6.81 ERA/5.37 FIP across 37 innings). Wright, meanwhile, has been battling left knee problems that have shelved him for the past month and will keep him out for the foreseeable future.
In the absence of Rodriguez, Pomeranz will join either Brian Johnson or Hector Velazquez and the high-end trio of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price to comprise Boston’s rotation. At best, the 33-year-old Fiers would be Boston’s fourth starter in Rodriguez’s absence, but he’d nonetheless provide the team a proven back-end option. A former Brewer and Astro, Fiers has generally been respectable since debuting in 2011, evidenced by a 4.10 ERA/4.31 FIP with 8.28 K/9 and 2.72 BB/9 over 141 starts (830 2/3 innings).
Fiers endured a difficult 2017 with the title-winning Astros, but he has rebounded this season with the Tigers after signing a one-year, $6MM deal in free agency. Through 111 innings, including 6 1/3 scoreless frames versus the Red Sox on Saturday, Fiers has worked to a 3.49 ERA with 6.65 K/9, 1.95 BB/9 and the game’s 17th-best infield fly percentage among qualified starters (12.7). On the other hand, some of Fiers’ other numbers aren’t so encouraging (39.4 percent groundball rate, 4.57 FIP/4.76 xFIP/4.49 SIERA), which is something the Red Sox and other teams will have to weigh when considering swinging a trade for him. In the event the Tigers do find a taker for Fiers, he could also be on the acquiring team’s roster in 2019 – his final year of arbitration eligibility.