Like they always are, the Yankees were looking to add pitching at this trade deadline. Their main focus was on Ubaldo Jimenez, but ultimately they didn’t land anybody. They either didn’t like what was on the market or the good pitchers that were available cost too much.
There were only five veteran starters dealt at the trade deadline, those were Jimenez, Erik Bedard, Edwin Jackson, Jason Marquis, and Doug Fister. The biggest name that was dangled to that was not involved in any trades was probably Wandy Rodriguez.
Among those pitchers the Yankees task was to find somebody who would be clearly better than Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon. Of the five starters Marquis can be immediately eliminated. Jackson and Rodriguez might have been better, but not considerably better to the point where it would be worth prospects to make a modest improvement.
Bedard’s injury history probably scared the Yankees away and they put most of their effort into Jimenez and other ventures.
Fister kind of flew under the radar it seemed though. It was probably because while his numbers are good, he doesn’t blow anybody away with overpowering stuff, his fastball averages just 89 mph, and he doesn’t have the big name that always seems to attract the Yankees. Instead what he does is uses pinpoint accuracy and effectively mixes his fastball with a strong changeup, curveball, and slider.
It might not be sexy to throw 89 mph and rely on control, but it is that control that makes him such a good pitcher.
He has pitched just 448.1 major league innings but has a BB/9 of just 1.7. Since the Tigers acquired him that number has been at a microscopic 0.6, he walked just five batters over 70.1 innings. By keeping all of those extra runners off the bases he has been able to maintain an impressive 1.06 WHIP this year.
The Yankees might have been scared away though because he doesn’t have a long track record, he has been in the league just two and a half years. There is also the fact that big part of his success has been a low HR/9 rate that would no doubt increase even a little as he moved from the spacious Safeco Park to the smaller confines of Yankee Stadium.
Of all the starters dealt or available on the trade market though, he may have been the best one to take a risk on. He makes very little money, barely over the league minimum, he is still just 27 years old, and he won’t be a free agent until 2016.
The cost for Fister was steep, but it wasn’t Jimenez steep. The Mariners were said to have been looking for a right handed bat. They eventually laneded a package of four minor leaguers from the Tigers including Chance Ruffin, a first round pick from 2010.
It could be that Fister didn’t impress the Yankees enough. It could have been that they didn’t like his price tag, or it could have even been that the Yankees and the Mariners can’t work together in trades because of distrust stemming from the nixed Cliff Lee deal a year ago. Any way, he was a solid option at the trade deadline that the Yankees did not follow through on.
His name wasn’t as sexy as Jimenez’s was, but the results have been far better (Jimenez had a 5.10 ERA in 11 starts with the Indians). The Yankees trade deadline could have been much better if they landed Fister.