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Astros rumors: Houston 'exploring possibility' of signing Doug Fister

Houston is still hoping to find a cheap starting pitcher to add to its rotation.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Houston is still hoping to add a free agent starter before the start of Spring Training, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.

Why this rumor makes sense

While Cafardo points out the Astros still want to add to their roster, he adds the club is "looking for a bargain at this stage." At this point in the off-season, that might be realistic.

Houston has been linked to Yovani Gallardo, but Cafardo notes Doug Fister could emerge as a more realistic target. Both are available free agents who will likely receive major league deals before the start of Spring Training.

Gallardo spent the 2015 season with the Rangers and could consider staying close to home and signing with the Astros.

The Astros are still in a position to add an experienced fifth starter to their rotation and there is plenty of time to get a deal done.

Fister, 31, is coming off of a down year with the Nationals and is reportedly seeking a two-year deal worth $22 million. That could be too much to ask for from the Astros, but Gallardo will almost certainly receive a larger deal.

With all of the big name starters off the board, the Astros could get the bargain they are hoping for. Adding another starter means Houston does not have to rely on its minor league depth so early in the season.

Why this rumor does not make sense

Although the Astros would likely benefit from the addition of another starter, the club likely has enough minor league depth to have success without another free agent signing.

Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh have appeared to bounce back from rough starts to their professional careers, and the Astros have depth in Scott Feldman and Dan Straily.

Straily is out of options and if another starter is added, Feldman might have to become a long reliever.

Though they could benefit from receiving more time to develop, Michael Feliz, Brady Rogers and Joseph Musgrove could emerge as major league ready in 2016. The Astros have a notable amount of starting depth, making an additional signing somewhat excessive.

Likeliness overall: 6/10

There is a good chance the Astros add another free agent starter this winter. But if they don't, their rotation should still have success.