The hot stove season has been lukewarm at best so far. Sit tight, things should pick up in the coming weeks, especially as the Winter Meetings quickly approach.
The Rangers entered the offseason with a plan to focus on upgrading their abysmal starting rotation. While it wasn’t a move of the game-changing variety, the Rangers did manage to improve their starting staff on Sunday with a low-cost addition.
Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported that the club had reached an agreement on a one-year, $4 million contract with veteran right-hander Doug Fister. The deal reportedly also includes a club option for 2019.
Fister was left on the scrap heap last offseason after a pair of very disappointing seasons with the Astros and Nationals. He didn’t sign with the Red Sox until mid-May and didn’t make it back to the big leagues until late June.
After struggling to find his footing in his first month with the Red Sox, Fister settled in and posted a 2.79 ERA and 44/14 K/BB ratio over 48 ⅓ innings in a seven-start stretch from July 31 to September 6 before fading late.
All told, he registered a 4.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 63/38 K/BB ratio across 90 ⅓ innings.
It will be Fister’s fifth different club in the last six seasons, having toiled for the Tigers, Nationals, Astros, Red Sox and now the Rangers since the 2013 season.
Even when he was going well, Fister wasn't a very attractive commodity from a fantasy perspective, and a move to the hitter-friendly paradise in Arlington certainly isn't going to help his cause in 2018.
Despite the signing, the Rangers have made it clear that they are still in the market for more starting pitching help. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Sunday that the Rangers are showing “sustained interest” in free agent right-handers Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.
Nexen Heroes collecting MLB talent
Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported this week that the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization have signed ByungHo Park to a one-year, $1.4 million contract. A former MVP in the KBO, the 31-year-old hit a paltry .191/.275/.409 with 12 homers and 24 RBI in 244 plate appearances with the Twins in 2016 before spending the entire 2017 campaign stuck at Triple-A Rochester.
With his move back to the KBO, Park leaves $6.5 million on the table that he was still owed from the Twins over the next two seasons.
Yoo had reported earlier in the week that they had re-signed 29-year-old right-hander Jacob Brigham to a one-year, $650,000 contract. Brigham posted a 4.38 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 98/26 K/BB ratio across 144 innings with the Heroes in 2017. He may have attracted some interest if deciding to return stateside.
The Heroes also re-upped with former top prospect Michael Choice on a one-year deal worth $600,000. The Brewers’ sold the 28-year-old’s rights to the Korean club in July, where he went on to hit .307/.390/.653 with 17 homers and 42 RBI in only 201 plate appearances. If he can put up similar numbers across a full season in 2018, it could open up some doors for him back in the United States.
Quick Hits: Matt Eddy of Baseball America reported Thursday that the Dodgers released Jose Miguel Fernandez, who had been signed out of Cuba last offseason. He hit well in the minor leagues, slashing .306/.367/.496 with 15 homers and 65 RBI between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, but didn’t appear in a game after July 29. The club has not released any additional information on the cause of his release… The Marlins inked J.B. Shuck to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training where he’ll have a chance to compete for a spot as a reserve outfielder… Former Phillies’ pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, 34, was killed in a traffic accident in his native Cuba… Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Bryan Shaw has a pair of multi-year contract offers in hand, though it remains unclear which teams they are from… Mike Puma of the New York Post reported Saturday that the Mets are interested in a possible reunion with second baseman Neil Walker… Evan Gattis is expected to function as the Astros’ primary designated hitter in 2018… Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox have only “tepid interest” in acquiring Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. Cafardo notes that this could simply be gamesmanship by Red Sox’ president Dave Dombrowski… Cafardo also indicated that at least five teams (Brewers, Twins, Blue Jays, Rockies and Rangers) have contacted Scott Boras with interest in free agent right-hander Jake Arrieta… Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported Friday that Shohei Ohtani could be officially posted as soon as Friday. The Rangers, Yankees and Twins are able to offer the two-way star the most money, though the Mariners and Dodgers are also expected to be in the mix for his services… Despite reports to the contrary, Andre Ethier confirmed Sunday that he plans on continuing his MLB career in 2018. The 35-year-old is healthy and indicated that teams have already reached out to him this winter… The Brewers signed right-hander Michael Brady to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He has a legitimate opportunity to earn a spot in the Opening Day bullpen with the Brewers.