Doug Fister retires
February 13, 2019
Former Mariner pitcher Doug Fister has retired from baseball, his agent said today. Reported by MLB.com, Fister's agent Page Odle described the decision as "100% family driven," noting Fister's desire to spend more time with his young children. There were several teams interested in Fister's services this year; according to Odle, Fister received Major League contract offers from multiple clubs over the winter.
A seventh-round draft selection by the Mariners in 2006, Fister was never thought of as a top prospect but climbed the minor-league ladder relatively quickly and made his Major League debut in August of 2009. He started ten games for Seattle that season, showing flashes of brilliance against the White Sox and A's but getting roughed up by the likes of the Yankees and Rangers. He would go on to be one of many in the "M's That Got Away" pantheon, undervalued by an incompetent regime and dealt away for table scraps only to excel elsewhere.
In his Mariner tenure, from '09 until he was traded in July of 2011, Fister was just 12-30 with a 3.81 ERA in 59 starts, but those were bad years for the M's; 3.81 was nothing to sneeze at with those clubs. Once surrounded by a solid lineup (one not constructed by Jack Zduriencik) and with a decent bullpen to back him up, Fister put up numbers more commensurate with his performance and ability—he finished 2011 with a sparkling 8-1, 1.79 mark as a Detroit Tiger after the trade. He would play two more years in Detroit before moving on to the Washington Nationals for two seasons, posting a 45-32 record and 3.38 ERA in those four years before becoming a free agent for the first time.
In exchange for Fister (and reliever David Pauley), the Mariners got four players from the Tigers' system, reliever Charlie Furbush and three guys without any value whatsoever. In Fister's absence, Seattle's starting rotation in 2012-2015 instead featured names that epitomize the "R" in "WAR," replacement-level pitchers such as Blake Beavan, Joe Saunders, Erasmo Ramírez, and Vidal Nuño.
Given the sorry state of the M's back then, Fister might not have helped a whole lot had he not been traded, and he definitely ended up a richer man in both bank account and baseball experience for being unappreciated here. It would've been nice to see him toe the rubber for the Mariners in the postseason instead of for the Tigers and Nats, but we all know that wasn't going to happen in the Jack Z years.
Still, it was sad to see Doug Fister traded in 2011 and it's sad to see him hang up his spikes in 2019. Best of luck in future endeavors, Doug. Maybe when the kids grow up you can reunite with your old teammate Ryan Rowland-Smith and talk Mariners on the radio and TV for us.