Mike Fiers rebounded well from a rough 2017 and could help the San Diego Padres.
Patrick Corbin is with the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox have now brought back Nathan Eovaldi, taking two of the top free agent pitchers off the market and leaving the San Diego Padres looking elsewhere for rotation help.
The Padres haven’t been connected to Mike Fiers, but should he be a target for AJ Preller? Fiers is coming off one of his best seasons as a major league pitcher, going 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA and an impressive 1.18 WHIP across 30 starts with the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics. For the first time in his career, Fiers gave us less than 2 BB/9 IP.
If Fiers had such a successful 2018 season, why did Oakland decide to non-tender the starter, especially when they need starting pitching and also non-tendered Kendall Graveman? Per Julian McWilliams of The Athletic (subscription required), the relationship between Fiers and the A’s broke down after Oakland insisted on using their opener strategy to close out the season.
Other reasons for not receiving a contract from Oakland could include his expected 2019 salary of just under $10 million through arbitration and the difficulty in evaluating his effectiveness. While his ERA sat at 3.56, Fiers ended the year with a 4.75 FIP. Fangraphs credited him with a 1.4 WAR, however, Baseball Reference said he was worth 3.7 wins above replacement, showing the difficulty in evaluating Fiers.
At 33, Fiers can help bridge the gap and bring a veteran right-handed presence to the rotation, something this current San Diego team is missing. If it helps, he seems to love pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is 4-1 in five career starts, including a shutout, 10-strikeout performance back in 2015. He struck out 8 and limited the Dodgers to one run on four hits in a start this past season.