The clock to spring training is ticking and ticking loudly, especially for those many free agents who have yet to find employment for the upcoming season.
The wait is a cruel one, right-hander Doug Fister said, and he should know. The off-season came and went a year ago without anyone signing him to a contract, so he was going to strike quickly this off-season.
His name might have been the first off the board when the Texas Rangers signed him to a one-year deal worth $4 million way, way back on Nov. 28. They traded for Matt Moore on Dec. 15, and that stands as what could be the final move for the 2018 rotation.
They know, as does everyone who follows baseball, that the best pitchers of this free-agent class remain available. The Rangers and Yu Darvish want to reunite, yet are currently destined to finish millions of dollars apart.
Any of the top guys would make the rotation better, but Fister and Moore believe the group assembled has a chance to beat the low expectations some have for them without the big-name addition.
“There’s a huge upside,” Fister said. “Everybody’s got great potential, and having that experience of being in certain situations and experiences, it comes into play throughout the season.
“Sometimes it’s not the flash of a radar gun. Sometimes it’s not something spectacular. But routine is routine, and you’re going to go out there and get outs. That’s what the pitchers on our staff have shown to do.”
Fister and Moore took part in a Rangers Caravan stop at the Kroger on Lamar Boulevard, just a few miles from Globe Life Park. They will be on hand this weekend for the Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Awards Dinner on Friday and Fan Fest on Saturday.
They are also planning to arrive at spring training a few days before pitchers and catchers are to report Feb. 14. Moore spoke of a new energy he is feeling to be with a new team after a dreadful 2017 with San Francisco.
While Fister is a soon-to-be 34-year-old entering his 10th season, Moore is still only 28 and has logged only four full seasons. He missed all but two starts in 2014 to have Tommy John surgery and made 12 starts in 2015.
Moore’s confidence hasn’t been shaken by what happened last season, when he went 6-15 with a 5.52 ERA in the National League. He believes that the coveted prospect who shut out the Rangers over seven innings in the 2011 ALDS and wowed with his upside is still in him.
“I don’t feel any different than what I have in the past,” Moore said. “Last year, it was there at times. I still believe in myself as much as I ever have. Going into this season, especially with a new club and some new energy, I think it’s a great opportunity.”