The Boston Red Sox are one of several clubs evaluating Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Mike Fiers as the non-waiver July 31st trade deadline fast approaches. The 33-year-old Fiers threw a no-hitter back in 2015 with the Houston Astros after being traded by the Milwaukee Brewers a month earlier and has seen his career go through peaks and valleys, but more often than not he can be counted on to put in six-plus innings of work and keep his team in the game.
Boston got a first-hand glimpse at the right-hander on Saturday in Detroit when he shut out the Sox to earn the win over 6.1 innings of work allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out six. Fiers has now tossed a quality start in five straight outings, across which he’s spun a 1.62 ERA with 24 strikeouts in and six walks in 33.1 innings. The Tigers’ right-hander owns a 3.49 ERA with a 1.95 BB/9 and a respectable 1.243 WHIP for a righty who generates the lion-share of his outs through contact.
Fiers signed a one-year deal with Detroit after struggling with the World Series champion Astros a year ago, but through his career he has relied on his two-seamer, the sharp 12-6 curveball and a nasty changeup that generates the majority of his swing-and-misses. He’s logged 111 innings through his first 19 starts of the season and has pitched deep into games, something the Red Sox have failed to get from the back-end of their rotation.
Boston could use a solid No. 4 option for the rotation, much like a year ago when they brought in the veteran Doug Fister to log innings and he wound up starting Game 3 of the ALDS. Fiers offers more upside than Fister at this stage in his career, but the attack and approach by both pitchers is very similar. Outside of Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello, Boston has struggled to yield much results out of the back-end of the rotation.
Eduardo Rodriguez is on the disabled list with a significant ankle injury, Drew Pomeranz is scheduled to start tonight in Baltimore assuming they play and Steven Wright is still on the shelf as well. Adding Fiers would give Boston a rock-solid option out of the No. 4 spot in the rotation while Manager Alex Cora can continue piecing it together with the final rotation spot between Pomeranz, Wright, Brian Johnson or Hector Velasquez.
Boston will have to compete with the Oakland Athletics in the race for Fiers so it appears, but it shouldn’t take a ton as far as assets to acquire the veteran right-handed starter who is on a rental deal with a rebuilding Detroit team. Make the move, acquire a solid starter to sure-up the back-end of the rotation to help your already best team in baseball at 71-31 get even better through the last two months of the regular season.
Fiers is scheduled to pitch next on Friday against Cleveland in what could very well be his last start for the Tigers with the trade deadline next Tuesday.