We’re still a few days away from the official beginning of the annual baseball Winter Meetings down in Orlando. Already though, the Detroit Tigers are making a bevy of moves to their 40-man roster.
Reports are that Detroit has agreed to terms with free agent starter Mike Fiers.
The Tigers' one-year deal with Mike Fiers is for $6 million, according to @jcrasnick.
— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) December 8, 2017
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 8, 2017
Mike Fiers: “I’ve got to thank the Astros for trusting in me, trading for me and having me pitch those 2 ½ years there. But it definitely sucks leaving those guys, who you built great relationships with and bonded with for so many times throughout the year.”
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 2, 2017
Fiers, 32, has spent the last two-plus seasons with the Houston Astros following a 2015 trade from the Milwaukee Brewers that also sent outfielder Carlos Gomez, part of a six-player deal, to the Space City. He pitched pretty effectively down the stretch for the Astros that season, registering a 3.32 ERA in 10 games (nine starts), helping the team reach the playoffs for the first time since 2005 when they reached the World Series.
Fiers and the Astros were victorious in this year’s Fall Classic. However, things have not been as smooth for the former 22nd round selection since the trade. After compiling a 4.48 ERA in 31 outings for Houston in 2016, Fiers continued to raise his ERA, posting a 5.22 in that department this past season in 29 games pitched.
Fiers was one of nine arbitration-eligible players for the Astros this offseason and he was the only one that Houston did not tender a contract to, making him a free agent. For his career, he carries a 4.15 ERA in 141 total appearances, having never pitched more than 180 innings in any single season. His guaranteed salary of $6 million is just a shade above what he was projected to make in arbitration.
The signing of Fiers gives the Tigers a very affordable rental option to plug into the rotation for 2018. Should things get rough as a starter, Detroit could always demote him into a bullpen role, or worse, simply let him go and swallow the small salary. While his time as a reliever is limited throughout his career, it’s not completely foreign to him. Best case scenario is that Fiers is performing adequately for the Tigers deep into the summer, enough to make him a tradable asset. It’s a low-risk, semi-high-reward free agent acquisition to a rotation that has a ton of uncertainty heading into spring camp.
Important to know that if Fiers is with the club for the entire season, Detroit could retain him beyond 2018 as he as one more year of arbitration remaining.
With the signing, the Tigers now have a full 40-man roster heading into next week’s Winter Meetings down in Orlando, Florida. The addition of Fiers comes days after the team announced signings of five players to their 40-man roster for next season, including free agent outfielder Leonys Martín to a major league contract.
Fiers in his career has accumulated multiple noteworthy accolades throughout his career. In May of 2015 (as a member of the Brewers), he tossed an immaculate inning — nine consecutive pitches, all strikes, all three at-bats ending in strikeouts — against the Dodgers. He then joined the no-hit club when he twirled his first career complete game, allowing no hits, ironically against the Dodgers again.