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Signed RHP Doug Fister to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. [5/18]

Despite two miserable seasons in Washington and Houston, I pegged Fister as the 37th-best free agent in a weak class this offseason. That’s the power, and value, of being able to consistently throw 160-180 innings per season. Despite an obvious move toward the down slope of his career, the crafty right-hander has the potential to at least be a replacement-level hurler if he can rediscover his once-masterful command.

But instead of taking a contract at the start of the season, Fister bided his time, perhaps looking to find himself a contender. But is that team the Angels? The Halos have had a, let’s say creative, pitching staff this season. The team currently has five starting pitchers on the disabled list: Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano, and Alex Meyer. That leaves a rotation filled out with unexpected names like J.C. Ramirez and Daniel Wright; there’s no question that a healthy and viable Fister could slot in without too much trouble between all the busted wings.

Though the Angels have a history of supporting another dude getting by with velocity in the mid-80s, it’s not hard to imagine that Fister could slip into a Weaver-esque performance spiral unless he can pick up another tick. But the newest Angels' pre-season PECOTA projections put him on a 4.72 ERA as a regular starter, which would be an improvement over what they’re likely to get from Daniel Wright, who has an ERA over 9.00 at Triple-A Salt Lake.

While getting into MLB shape, Fister should spend some time in the minors, and his contract is laden with performance incentives whether he throws in the rotation or in the bullpen. If starting doesn’t work out, the bullpen is likely a bad situation for Fister—it seems like his stuff wouldn’t play up enough in limited innings—but is it a worse situation for him than being out of the game and in retirement? Is it a worse situation for the Angels than running out Brooks Pounders in the fifth inning once in a while?

Probably not on both counts. And if it turns out that Fister has a few good starts left in him, this is one of those moves that will cost little and give Billy Eppler and Mike Scioscia just a little less heartburn this summer.

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Claimed LHP Tommy Milone off waivers from Milwaukee Brewers. [5/7]

Signed RHP Neil Ramirez to a one-year contract. [5/16]

Coming into this season, the only sure thing in Queens was that the Mets actually, finally, for once had enough pitching depth to weather even the roughest of injury storms. Seven starting pitchers, a shallow but solid bullpen … no problem. Flash forward almost eight weeks into the season, and the state of the Flushing rotation is dire indeed. Things were so bad that the team had to pillage Milone from the surging Brewers, and snap Ramirez off the scrap heap after two separate DFAs this year.

A homer-prone, strikeout-averse lefty, Milone was a near-perfect example of the Twins’ pitching philosophy during his time in the Twins Cities. That is to say, he wasn’t all that good. Yes, you can usually rely on him to make something between a dozen and two dozen starts in a given season, but with a DRA often above 5.00 you always wish that someone else was taking the mound every fifth day.

He got off to a sketchy start with the Brew Crew, and things haven’t been much better in three starts with the Mets. Appropriately, he’ll miss his upcoming start on Saturday due to injury—or a fake injury to mask a benching for ineffectiveness—putting the Mets in roughly the same position they were in prior to snagging Milone: a bad one.

Meanwhile, Ramirez has a short history of missing bats, missing the strike zone, and missing time due to injury. Behind his mid-90s fastball and slider combo is a litany of fly balls, many of which leave the yard with alacrity. Like nitroglycerin, he is extremely volatile and sometimes necessary, and under the pressure of a flailing Mets bullpen he is extremely likely to combust.

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