The New York Yankees might need to improve, but they don’t have many holes. Unless they make a major trade that shakes up their roster, their only obvious opening is second base. That said, they could be on the starting and relief pitching market and might even surprise some by spending Mark Teixeira's money a year before his $180 million contract comes off the books.
So, as Wallace Matthews and I do every year in our helpful way, we are advising Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees’ front office with our feature: “Spend Hal’s Money."
Today’s candidate: Doug Fister
2015 numbers: 5-7, 4.19 ERA, 15 starts (25 games), $11.4M
Opening Day age: 32
Pros: He had the sixth-best ERA among starters in 2014. Besides 2015, Fister has been a very solid No. 2 or 3 starter for four of the past five seasons. If it weren't for a year in which he was demoted to the bullpen, Fister would have received a qualifying offer and had a first-round pick attached to signing him.
Fister is going to turn only 32 on the eve of spring training. He is young enough that it is hard to believe he is already finished. In fact, his 4.19 ERA was actually better than Michael Pineda's 4.37.
Cons: Fister was so bad, he was lifted from Washington's rotation. If you look at the reasons the Nationals were such a disappointment, one was because of Fister. With the pressure of free agency, Fister threw awfully, which perhaps wouldn't bode well in terms of coming to the Bronx.
The Verdict: I would go after Fister. He could be a very nice reclamation project, which I'm sure a lot of teams believe. With the Yankees' seeming disinclination to spend big on the top of the pitching market and the their hesitancy to give up draft picks, Fister makes a lot of sense.
The addition of Fister could allow the Yankees to be a little freer in the trade market, as he, at the least, should provide depth with Masahiro Tanaka, Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Adam Warren.