The Texas Rangers have made the first move toward replenishing their starting rotation, agreeing on a contract with free-agent right-hander Doug Fister.
A person familiar with the move told The Associated Press that the completion of the deal was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because that process wasn’t finished.
The 33-year-old Fister is one of the first free agents to sign. He started 15 of his 18 games with the Boston Red Sox last season. He was 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA.
Fister joins a Rangers team looking to fill three rotation spots behind left-handers Cole Hamels and Martin Perez. Texas also is interested in Shohei Ohtani, the star pitcher-hitter from Japan.
The deal is for $4 million, with a base salary of $3.5 million next season plus potential incentives, and a club option for 2019 that includes a $500,000 buyout.
Fister was among the final free agents to sign last season, agreeing in May to a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He made three Triple-A starts before he was released and claimed off waivers by the Red Sox. He made his debut with Boston on June 25.
In 230 games over the past nine major league seasons with five different teams, Fister was 82-85 with a 3.68 ERA. His best season was with Washington in 2014, when he was 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 25 starts. He was 5-7 for the Nationals in 2015 before becoming a free agent, then went 12-13 with a 4.64 ERA in 32 starts for Houston in 2016.
Yu Darvish was traded by Texas to the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Tyson Ross was released in September, and the Rangers said after the season they wouldn’t make a $17.4 million qualifying offer for free agent Andrew Cashner, who is seeking a multiyear deal after going 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA in his only season in Texas.
Notes: The Rangers have received catcher Juan Centeno from the Houston Astros on a waiver claim. Centeno hit .231 with two homers in 22 games over three stints with the Astros, and was on their 25-man roster through the AL playoffs and World Series. He hit .311 in 65 games at Triple-A Fresno. He has appeared in 101 major league games, for the New York Mets (2013-14), Milwaukee (2015), Minnesota (2016) and the Astros.
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