Re-examining the Doug Fister Trade

Nearly exactly three years ago, the Mariners traded Doug Fister along with David Pauley to the Detroit Tigers for Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Francisco Martinez, and player to be named later. The player to be named later turned out to be Chance Ruffin. So what happened to all of these players? Where are they now?

Doug Fister

Doug Fister has accumulated 16.6 WAR and has developed into one of the best pitch to contact pitchers in the league. With a career K/9 of 6.20, he has established himself as a top pitcher by boasting one of the lowest BB/9 in the MLB, a very presentable HR/9, and an above average groundball percentage. He has turned out to be one of the best #3 starters in the MLB and has helped to make the Nationals’ rotation one of the best and deepest in the league.

David Pauley

David Pauley at the time was in the midst of a very solid season in which he was over-performing and had an ERA of 2.22 at the time. He’s currently playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. We should be very familiar with the team, as former M’s Roy Corcoran and Ryan Langerhans are also playing for the team. To make matters worse, former Houston Rockets superstar Tracy McGrady is pitching for the team. Tracy McGrady! Basketball player!

Casper Wells

The Friendly Ghost enjoyed a good 2010 debut with the Tigers and played in 36 games. He then enjoyed a 1.4 WAR season with the Tigers and Mariners in 2011. After a disappointing 2012, he was designated for assignment by the M’s on March 31, 2013. And then DFA’d again about two weeks later. And then DFA’d less than two weeks later after that. Then traded to the White Sox for cash. Then claimed off waivers from the Sox for a PTBNL after being DFA’d. Then outrighted off the roster from the Phillies. He signed a minor league deal with the Cubs and was released from the AAA club last month. Quite the career path. Once the Friendly Ghost, he is Mr. DFA. On a positive note, he did get to pitch in a game. On a negative note, he gave up five runs.

Charlie Furbush

Quite possibly the best thing to come out of this trade is one of the greatest name swap in the history of sports. Fister for Furbush. Over his career, Furbush has been a pretty solid LOOGY (lefty specialist or Lefty One-Out Guy). Typically, you’ll see a LOOGY come in and face one lefty batter, get him out, and then get pulled for a righty. In the past, Furbush was utilized in more of this role but has faced more righties. Over his career, he has 132.0 IP against righties and 90.1 against lefties. He boasts a triple slash of .210/.284/.284 against lefties with a .257 wOBA and 2.09 FIP and 2.84 xFIP. Against righties he owns a .252/.332/.452 triple slash with a .339 wOBA, 5.07 FIP, and 4.23 xFIP. The difference is easy to tell. Probably the most eye opening thing about his stats is that he’s given up 24 dingers to righties as opposed to 3 to lefties. He also has the same amount of strikeouts (113) against lefties despite the fact that he has pitched 41.9 less innings against them. Furby is the lone survivor of the package we received from Detroit.

Francisco Martinez

Detroit’s number four prospect in 2011 was the main piece in the trade. Here’s what a 2013 scotuing report had to say about him:

“Don’t confuse him with that Dominican F-Mart from the other coast. The Venezuelan Francisco Martinez is a real five-tool player with boundless raw ability and one of the biggest upsides in the Mariner system today. After coming over from Detroit in midseason 2011, he raked AA pitchers over the coals in Southern League Jackson, posting a great .310/.326/.481 line and knocking three homers in his 33 games before coming back to earth. In 2012, he looked overmatched enough to earn a temporary demotion, but expectations should be tempered: he’s still very young. Martinez has near-plus speed and a cannon arm, with no big holes in his game, though his fielding is probably below average and he could use a little more patience at the plate. Another year of AA looks likely, with a cup of coffee possible later in the year. Meanwhile, he’ll try to polish up his shortcomings and wait for an opportunity to shine.”

Baseball Prospectus had this to say in 2012:

“Martinez was the highest ceiling piece in the trade that sent Doug Fister and David Pauley to the Detroit Tigers last July. He has an exceptional swing path with hands that work well and a rapidly improving idea at the plate. His long arms and natural strength leave some scouts to project above-average power but that has yet to materialize in games. He is a plus runner and a plus thrower but his instincts at third base have left scouts wondering if he is destined for an outfield corner where his athleticism may play better. Though he’s already spent an entire year at Double-A, Martinez will repeat the level in 2012 at just 21-years old. He could reach the big leagues sometime in 2013.”

Francisco Martinez went on to do absolutely nothing in the minors. Originally a third baseman, he was moved to centerfield and then switched back and forth between the two. He never made it past AA. Still only 23 years old, we traded him back to the Tigers for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Chance Ruffin

I wanted to save the best for last just to illustrate how badly we lost this trade. At the young age of 25, Chance Ruffin has “voluntarily retired” from baseball as of two days ago. As if someone is forcing him to. Once a first round pick, Ruffin is now out of the league and with his wife and newborn kid at home in Austin, Texas. Should he choose to play again, we have the rights to him. That being said, if he ever chooses to play again I don’t want the “rights” to him. Ruffin was both a reliever and starter during his career and he was equally bad at both. He also looks like a worse version of Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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