According to the latest speculation, the Seattle Mariners are interested in bringing Doug Fister back, but how realistic is it to expect the pitcher to return to the Pacific Northwest?
As per a recent report by MLB Network Radio, Seattle Mariners‘ general manager Jerry Dipoto has effectively stated he is done with making moves to improve the offense. He made his comments when addressing the recent trade, which brought in Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger.
Dipoto said: “This pursuit was about Jean Segura and finding that leadoff hitter…(and I) feel like Mitch Haniger is an every day outfielder.”
On the flip side, the Mariners will now need to find some pitching help, after moving Taijuan Walker to facilitate the trade. With this in mind, they are apparently looking to the past in their attempts to solidify the rotation.
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According to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, a source has confirmed Doug Fister as a name of interest. Fister was drafted by the Mariners in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, and pitched for them at the Major League level between 2009-2011.
It is arguable most Mariners’ fans would prefer to look elsewhere for pitching help. After all, the 32-year old is coming off a season when he recorded a career-worst 4.64 ERA in 32 starts for the Houston Astros.
Fister started 2016 well enough, before falling away during the second half of the season. He went 4-10 in his final 18 starts, while recording a 5.98 ERA.
In addition, the Merced, California native is typically a strong groundball pitcher. However, he has been around 45 percent in groundball induction during the past two years, which is around the league average.
As Dutton writes, some scouts believe Fister simply wore down as last season progressed, as a knock-on effect to being limited by injuries the previous two years. With this in mind, he could be perceived as an affordable risk in what is a particularly thin free-agent market for starting pitchers.
Overall, it is important to note the 6 ft 8 righty is not the Mariners’ main target for the rotation. In fact, going against Dipoto’s reputation, they are in no hurry to resolve the situation.
As Dipoto told Dutton: “I know we tend to move a little faster (than most clubs), but I don’t imagine that starting pitching is going to be something that we address before the Winter Meetings and, perhaps, not until January.”
What’s your take on the apparent interest in Fister? Would you be happy to see him return to Seattle, or would you prefer for the Mariners to give the pitcher a miss altogether? Share your thoughts in the comments section.