Doug Fister has agreed to a major-league deal with the Texas Rangers, pending a physical, according to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. MLB free agency may have officially begun on Nov. 7, but only now has a free agent agreed to a major-league deal.
The deal is reportedly a one-year, $4 million contract that includes a club option for 2019. It includes a $3.5 million base for 2018 and a $4.5 million option for 2019 (with a $500,000 buyout). The $4.5 million in 2019 can increase to $7 million if certain escalators are met. Furthermore both seasons come with $500,000 worth of performance bonuses.
Fister, 33, was the final MLB free agent to sign last season when the Los Angeles Angels inked him to a one-year contract on May 20. The deal was worth a non-guaranteed $1.75 million with $1.25 million in incentives. It also included an opt-out and Fister was set to be released if he wasn’t in the majors by June 21.
He was not in the majors by that time and was therefore put on release waivers.
“I’m very — I don’t want to say content, but if my career stopped right now at this point, today, you know I can hang my hat on knowing I’ve done everything I could to have a successful career,” Fister said after being released by the Angels.
The Red Sox then claimed him on June 23. Fister made his first start of the season two days later and turned in a quality start.
Overall Fister struggled during 2017. He finished the season 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA, 1.384 WHIP, and 83 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings and 18 games (15 starts).
There was a silver lining in his 2017 campaign, however. Fister experienced an increase in both velocity and strikeouts. His 8.3 SO/9 was the best mark of his nine-year career.
“Working on the sinker depth, working on getting the curve ball spin right and then you know kind of just reacting to how the league is this year,” Red Sox assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister said in regards to Fister during the 2017 season.
“It’s been harder on sinker ballers in general, just because guys are going all or nothing with their approach. So he has been working on different strategies to kind of evolve himself in how he mixes and how he attacks the zone, and now kind of the final thing is working on getting some depth on the changeup like he had in years past.”
His career didn’t end in June and it’s not ending now. Fister has a spot with the Rangers and will look to make the most of it.