7:31PM: Fiers will earn $14.1MM in total, according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (Twitter link). The deal breaks down as $6MM in 2019, and $8.1MM in 2020.
Dec. 24, 1:02PM: The A’s have announced the deal (via Twitter).
Dec. 22:The Oakland Athletics are close to re-signing Michael Fiers, per the MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Fiers will earn between $14MM and $15MM over a two-year span (Twitter links). The deal is pending a physical.
The dollar amount makes sense for both sides, considering Fiers was non-tendered by the A’s at season’s end while being projected to earn $9.7MM through arbitration. With this agreement, the A’s save themselves a couple million on their 2019 payroll while getting a second season of control, and Fiers gets more guaranteed money.
Fiers came to Oakland in August in exchange for two PTBNL, who turned into LHP Logan Shore and RHP Nolan Blackwood. He then contributed reliable innings for the A’s down the stretch as they struggled to keep rotation arms healthy en route to a surprising 97-win season. Pitching in the spacious arenas of Detroit and Oakland last season, Fiers tallied his best year as a pro: a 12-8 record with a 3.56 ERA across 172 innings.
Fiers threw more sliders than ever in 2018, a pitch he has steadily woven into his repertoire since 2015. The increase in slider usage corresponded with a similar decrease in sinker usage, leading to elevated launch angles and more flyballs (43.2 FB%) – all of which could signal sustainability for Fiers’ 2018 success. His peripherals don’t scream drastic transformation, though he did lower his walk rate to a career-low 1.94 BB/9.
Morosi recently reported Fiers was being courted by the Reds, Nationals, Rangers and Giants, all of whom would have been a poorer fit for Fiers, save perhaps the Giants, given his past home run issues. The Oakland Coliseum seems a good fit for the 33-year-old, who is at his best when keeping the ball in the air, but at his worst when unable to keep the ball in the yard.
Fiers ill join an unstable cadre of rotation arms in Oakland, with Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Aaron Brooks, Paul Blackburn and Chris Bassitt being the in-house options for what’s sure to be another ragtag crew.