Red Sox

Doug Fister leaves Red Sox to sign with Rangers

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Doug Fister leaves Red Sox to sign with Rangers

BOSTON -- Doug Fister’s short time with the Red Sox brought revised mechanics, improved velocity and enough success to warrant legitimate interest elsewhere.

The right-hander has agreed to a major-league deal with the Rangers, pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the agreement told NBC Sports Boston.

Fister, entering his age-34 season, had a 4.88 ERA in 15 starts and three relief appearances for the Sox during the regular season. What’s not reflected in the ERA are increases in both his velocity and strikeout numbers. He fanned 8.3 per nine innings, up from an average of 5.6 per nine innings in the three seasons prior.

MORE: Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

The Sox are pursuing power hitting and lefty relief help, but apparently feel content with their collection of potential rotation rams.

“I don’t think that’s a main priority for us this winter time, starting pitcher,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in mid-November. “Because I think we like our starting pitching. However, as the winter progresses, if somebody’s out there that makes sense to add, I wouldn’t say that we definitely would not do it, but I’m comfortable where we are.”

Fister had a poor showing in his Game 3 start in the Division Series, lasting 1 1/3 innings. Nonetheless, the Sox coaching staff was a significant help to Fister, allowing for at least the possibility someone else now will benefit from the hard work they put in to assist Fister’s own diligence. Among the suggestions was a move to the first-base side of the rubber, helping to alleviate some physical stress in his delivery. That idea came from recently promoted pitching coach Dana LeVangie.

“Working on the sinker depth, working on getting the curve ball spin right and then you know kind of just reacting to how the league is this year,” assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister said during the year. “It’s been harder on sinker ballers in general, just because guys are going all or nothing with their approach. So he has been working on different strategies to kind of evolve himself in how he mixes and how he attacks the zone, and now kind of the final thing is working on getting some depth on the changeup like he had in years past.

“It’s been impressive to watch him work, to watch him try and pitch competitively while also making all these adjustments, because he went in a very different direction last year in Houston. And unwinding that, while also trying to get back to some of his strengths -- while also trying to add something new -- it’s been fun to watch him, and it’s really good to see him have success. Because he’s a pitcher who was extremely successful at one point, who is still very talented, has an athleticism and a range of motion you don’t usually see in a 6-foot-8 guy. And so there’s a lot of talent there, a lot of things to work with, and he’s put in the time.”

Fister didn’t make his first major-league start of the year until June, when the Sox claimed him off waivers from the Angels, who had him at Triple-A. Fister proved a worthwhile, low-risk pick-up, and in many ways that remains his profile as a free-agent signee.

“I’m very -- I don’t want to say content, but if my career stopped right now at this point, today, you know I can hang my hat on knowing I've done everything I could to have a successful career,” Fister said in August when asked if he worried his career could be over prior to joining the Sox. “Maybe there’s some people out there that wanted to, needed to see it or I needed to prove it to somebody. But I have always felt that I still had what it takes to be a starter and I still feel that. You know, I’ll feel that ’til the day I hang up my cleats. Even if I’m in the bullpen. Either way, it’s fine. I’ve got have it in my heart that I know I can go out and get a big league hitter out at any point.”

Fister had a 2.79 ERA in a seven-start stretch from July 31 to Sept. 6, holding opponents to a .194 average in that time.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should Red Sox consider trading Devers for Machado?

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should Red Sox consider trading Devers for Machado?

0:23 - Should the Red Sox consider trading Rafael Devers for free-agent-to-be Manny Machado? Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich debate if it would be worth it for Boston to give up their young third baseman for a half-season of Machado.

4:57 - With the win over the Mariners on Sunday, the Red Sox are 49-24  and in a virtual tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Eduardo Rodriguez had another great outing on Sunday and is now 9-1. Merloni and Drellich discuss Rodriguez continued success on the mound.

8:12 - In his past seven starts, David Price has a 2.64 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP. Merloni and Drellich talk about how Price has been dominant since coming back from carpal tunnel and if he can continue this type of pitching. 

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Three homers and Eduardo Rodriguez power Red Sox past Mariners, 9-3

Three homers and Eduardo Rodriguez power Red Sox past Mariners, 9-3

 

SEATTLE - The Red Sox' offense showed why it is one of the best in baseball.

Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts all homered and the Boston Red Sox routed the Seattle Mariners 9-3 on Sunday.

"Today we did an outstanding job finishing the game and we got the W," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We are a good team. We know how to play the game and we turn the page really quick."

Devers' 11th homer of the season capped a five-run, two-out rally in the third against Seattle starter Mike Leake (7-4).

"They were making it tough today," Leake said. "They weren't giving me any breaks today."

Andrew Benintendi and Bogaerts began Boston's rally with a pair of singles. J.D. Martinez drew a nine-pitch walk to load the bases before Mitch Moreland drove in two with a single to centerfield, his first hit of the series, and Devers followed with a blast off the Hit It Here Cafe in right field to give Boston a 5-0 lead.

"Anytime you can put up a five-spot in the inning, you are happy with it," Moreland said. "That was a good inning for us."

The Red Sox pulled away in the seventh against right-handed reliever Chasen Bradford, who gave up three runs and two homers while getting two outs.

Bradley Jr. sent Bradford's first pitch over the centerfield wall for his fourth home run this season. Benintendi hit his third single of the game with one out before Bogaerts put Boston ahead 8-2 with a shot into the bullpen in left centerfield, his 12th of the season and fourth of the series.

Facing former Red Sox left-hander Roenis Elias in the eighth, Benintendi extended Boston's lead to 9-2 with a sacrifice fly to center.

The Sox have hit three or more home runs 10 times this season, and are 36-7 when scoring five or more runs.

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his sixth straight win in as many starts, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out nine. Rodriguez (9-1) has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his starts during his winning streak, and the Red Sox are 13-1 in Rodriguez's starts this season.

"It was really good," Rodriguez said of his start. "All of my pitches were working. It was really great."

The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs for the heart of their order against Rodriguez in the fifth, but managed just one run. Jean Segura cut Seattle's deficit to 5-2 with a fielder's choice, but Seattle's rally was cut short following back-to-back fly outs from Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz.

"He had to work for it that fifth inning but he limited the damage," Cora said. ". He did a good job. Good fastball. He was more aggressive in the strike zone."

Cruz hit his 17th home run of the season in the fourth, sending a 3-2 fastball from Martinez 442 feet to the upper deck in left field to trim Seattle's deficit to 5-1. Cruz has homered five times in his last nine games.

In the eighth, Ryon Healy doubled down the left field line, scoring Cruz to make it 9-3.

The Red Sox improved to 18-5 in series finales, and have won five consecutive day games on the road.

UP NEXT
Red Sox: Chris Sale (6-4, 2.75 ERA) takes the mound as the Red Sox continue their road trip against the Twins on Tuesday. Sale has allowed just one run in each of his last two starts and has nine starts this season allowing one or fewer earned runs.

© 2018 by Associated Press.