The Washington Nationals are still on the lookout for more starting pitching this offseason. Now, there are Nationals rumors connecting them to Mike Fiers.
Even though 2018 is coming to a close, there are bound to be several Washington Nationals rumors kicking around. The latest has them connected to free agent starter Mike Fiers, as the team looks to fill out its rotation.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Nationals are showing interest in the right-hander, along with the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, and San Francisco Giants. Morosi also relayed that the Nats are interested in Anibal Sanchez who is coming off a great season for the Atlanta Braves.
However, Fiers does appear to be the more reliable option of those two pitchers at the respective stages of their career. He would be a perfect fit as a number five starter in this rotation if the team can find another starting pitcher to be the number four.
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Fiers is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career, as he went 12-8 while posting a 3.56 ERA, splitting time between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics. However, before 2018, he had a few rough years with the Houston Astros with a 4.84 ERA and 4.91 FIP between 2016 and 2017, so the Nats may need to be wary of regression.
During his years with the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Fiers was known as a strikeout pitcher, posting a 9.1 K/9 in his first five seasons. But in his last three seasons, that’s dropped down to just 7.6 K/9 as hitters have slowly been able to make more contact against him in the zone.
He was able to have a fair amount of consistency last year, posting 15 quality starts in 30 starts, so would at least be able to give the Nats a shot in most of his starts. He would also not stand in the way of pitchers like Erick Fedde or Kyle McGowin is they continue to develop as hoped and prove they are ready for a full-time rotation spot at some point next season.
Fiers was non-tendered by the A’s at the end of November, making him a free agent after earning $6 million last season. It’s fair to think that he will be looking for a one year deal to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke, so perhaps the Nationals could offer him $4 million, and therefore make a $6 million saving on what they would’ve given Tanner Roark.
With the Washington Nationals potentially after two starting pitchers, Mike Fiers could certainly form one part of that equation. If so, the team could then delegate funds to improve either in the bullpen or at second base.