Six years ago when the Detroit Tigers acquired Doug Fister in a trade with Seattle for next to nothing, as a Jays fan I was extremely disappointed that Toronto didn’t make an effort (or at least more of one) to acquire the lanky, right-handed starting pitcher.
Throughout his career, Fister has almost always been underappreciated, despite being a quality starting pitcher with a career 3.60 ERA. He was underappreciated back when the Mariners traded him away for far too little…he was underappreciated while with the Tigers as he had to play fourth fiddle behind the likes of pitchers such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello. And now, at the age of 33, and coming off a season where he pitched 180+ innings for Houston, he still remains a free agent here in May.
One team that really needs to strongly consider signing Fister, is the Blue Jays. With the injuries to J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez, Toronto has already tried, without much success, replacing them with Mat Latos and Casey Lawrence. Just the other day, the Blue Jays had to dig into their bullpen and remove one of their top relievers, Joe Biagini, and insert him into the starting rotation. Anytime you have to go to your bullpen to fill a spot in the starting rotation, things aren’t looking good. Even with Biagini in the rotation, Toronto is still left with only four big league caliber starters until Sanchez or Happ are able to return. Sanchez’ return doesn’t appear too far off now, but as for Happ, we’ve heard he’s throwing a little, but who knows how much longer he’ll be on the shelf.
God forbid, but what if something were to happen to one of Toronto’s few remaining healthy starters? This is why the Blue Jays need more quality arms to fill these voids, and at the moment, they just don’t have them in the minor leagues. Toronto assumed that Happ, Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano, and Marco Estrada would remain healthy much like they did back in 2016, which is probably why they chose not to have much of a contingency plan in case one of those five pitchers were to go down to injury.
We can go through all the names under the sun when it comes to possible replacements in the Blue Jays organization for Happ and Sanchez…Mat Latos, Casey Lawrence, T.J. House, Mike Bolsinger, but given that Toronto is already behind the eight-ball in the standings, how many more chances can they afford to take on starting pitchers who can’t quite cut-it? Sure, what Fister can give you at the moment is an unknown as well, especially considering that he missed spring training and hasn’t pitched in a game situation since last September, but I’d still take my chances on him than I would on Latos, Lawrence, or any other pitcher in the Blue Jays farm system.