Even after adding a top starter to complement Jose Fernandez, the Marlins are reportedly still considering additional starting pitching options. Miami has been linked to Doug Fister, who according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick is seeking a two-year deal that will come close to $22 million.
Free agent Doug Fister's reps are seeking a 2-year deal in $22M range, says MLB source. Potential bounce-back candidate.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 15, 2016
Fister is thought to be a bounce-back candidate and could have a notable amount of success with the Marlins in 2016. But the deal Fister is reportedly requesting might be unrealistic for the Marlins. Would Miami be open to paying Fister $11 million a season after he posted an ERA over four last season? Probably not.
Now that the Marlins have Wei-Yin Chen in the starting rotation behind Fernandez, there is arguably not as much of a need for another starting pitcher. Fernandez and Chen could be joined by Jarred Cosart, Tom Koehler and a starter within the organization who wins a job with success throughout Spring Training.
Miami could have multiple starters, including David Phelps, Brad Hand, Edwin Jackson, Adam Conley, Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino, compete for the final spot in the rotation. However, if the Marlins have a desire to give some of their young starting prospects more time to develop, and it appears that is the case, adding another veteran starter might be in the organization's best interest.
The Marlins have also been linked to Yovani Gallardo and Tim Lincecum, but both would likely expect a deal comparable to the type of contract Fister is seeking. Miami's payroll is expected to be between $70 and $80 million this season. If Fister is signed, that number instantly increases.
If the Marlins were to add Fister this off-season, they would have rotation stability at least through 2017. Chen cannot opt out of his current contract until after the second year, which would be the time Fister becomes a free agent with a two-year deal. Fernandez would still be relatively affordable and by signing Fister, the Marlins would be able to address other needs as necessary next winter.
Fister, 31, pitched to a 4.19 ERA and 4.55 FIP over 103.0 innings with the Nationals last season. He might not be the best free agent pitcher still available, but he will still likely receive the two-year deal he is seeking.
Miami probably will not pursue Fister given his asking price and lack of success last season. But if the club is still hoping to sign a starter, Fister should at least be considered.