Chance Ruffin is named

Mike Snow · August 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Imagine waiting 18 days before your parents gave you a name. I trust Chance Ruffin’s parents didn’t wait that long to give him a name, but the Tigers and Mariners did. (Then again, when you’re 18 days old, how much do you care? Chance Ruffin is 22, so he’s probably all kinds of annoyed that nobody wanted to give him a name. I suppose they can say it’s his own fault for waiting until the signing deadline last year to put that name on a contract.) Anyway, Ruffin is now officially the player who was to be named later from the Fister-Pauley-Wells-Furbush-Martinez trade.

Ruffin comes straight into the bullpen, taking the place of Aaron Laffey, who has been designated for assignment. Laffey has looked pretty bad lately, and the team seems to have soured on him. This leaves them without a left-hander in the pen (Ruffin is right-handed), but Laffey wasn’t really a lefty specialist, and lefty specialists are overrated.

Guys who now figure to be part of the bullpen to start off 2012, based on the current roster: Ruffin, Brandon League (if he isn’t traded), Shawn Kelley, Josh Lueke, maybe Dan Cortes. There’s enough flexibility that some low-cost spring training invites could work their way in, but the existing base is enough that nobody should have delusions that signing free-agent relievers is a big priority for the offseason.


20 Responses to “Chance Ruffin is named”

  1. lubin_cuban23 on August 17th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Analyze the player please

  2. mrb on August 17th, 2011 1:50 pm

    I wasn’t given a name until I was at least one month old. My birth certificate (issued 27 days after the day I was born) has a blank spot where my first name should be. At the time, my dad wanted to name me “Leon”, my mom wanted to name me “Davis”. Neither won.

  3. Mike Snow on August 17th, 2011 2:03 pm

    Analyze the player please

    He could turn into the next Jeff Nelson.

  4. tylerv on August 17th, 2011 2:04 pm

    Analyze the player please

    Lueke’s job

  5. currcoug on August 17th, 2011 2:19 pm

    Analyze the player please

    A poor man’s Huston Street…or a Josh Fields who actually throws the ball over the plate.

  6. jordan on August 17th, 2011 2:21 pm

    He could be a solid closer at some point. He has a lot of upside, but I can’t get too excited about a RP. I was really hoping for Smyly.

  7. Brantid on August 17th, 2011 2:29 pm

    Has the chance to be a very good relief pitcher. Ranked #8 of Detroits remaining prospects by MiLB. Was a sandwich round draft pick (#48) just last year.

    Everything I see says that this is a great pickup, but it also has to be viewed in the context of the entire trade….we got Wells, Furbush, Martinez and Ruffin for Fister and Pauley. I like Fister and Pauley, but that is a good haul.

  8. EricL on August 17th, 2011 2:31 pm

    Here’s what Keith Law had to say about him before last year’s draft:

    (Keith Law…on where Chance Ruffin projects at the next level) I’m not sure that he ever projected as more than a back-end starter when he was in the rotation, so the move to the pen may have created an opportunity for him by demonstrating that he has value in a short relief role. He’s got a good curveball that he can use more frequently in relief, whereas a starter he’d have to pitch off his fastball, which would probably top out as fringe-average working every fifth day.


    Also, there was a rumor floating around before last year’s draft that the Reds were going to take Ruffin with the #12 overall pick.

    I think Ruffin will effectively replace Pauley.

  9. currcoug on August 17th, 2011 2:42 pm

    Ruffin was selected at #48 in 2010…the same year that Taijuan Walker was taken by the M’s at #43, with Castellanos going next to the Tigers at #44.

    It would have been interesting to see if the Mariners would have taken Castellanos or Ruffin…if Walker was already off the board. Castellanos is currently the Tigers’ top hitting prospect (3B).

    By dealing Fister/Pauley, the Mariners now have the #43 and #48 players taken in the 2010 draft.

  10. lamlor on August 17th, 2011 3:02 pm

    Is Ruffin better than Laffey? Yes. Was he the best prospect we had to chose from of the 3? I doubt it, but he was the closest to the majors. I think he was taken for the same reason we drafted who we did with the 2nd overall pick and that was because they were both the safest choice at that point and time (with talent as well).

    I just never get all that excited over RP’s. I never wanted Jack to sign Fields. I would have rather had the pick back (Trout was taken one or two picks after the pick we would have had if we didn’t sign Fields). RP’s can be found each year w/o much expense. Just look at our pen this year, our best setup men were Wright, Pauley, and Laffey for most of the 1st half of the year. Not exactly top end guys, but they did their jobs.

    But when you look at the entire trade as mentioned above, Ruffin with the others equals a good deal.

  11. lamlor on August 17th, 2011 3:25 pm

    Just watched the press conference with Hultzen & Miller. Two very likable and intelligent kids. Of course we need them to play well, but it is also nice to see some real thoughtful and appreciative kids joining the organization.

  12. spokaneman on August 17th, 2011 4:22 pm

    I don’t think there was any choice that the Mariners had, lamlor. I never saw it anywhere written in stone that the Ms had a list of guys to choose from, my interpretation is that this was always the guy in the trade, it just couldn’t be announced as such for obvious reasons. The only thing that was confirmed was that the PTBNL was one of the Tigers top 3 picks from last year’s draft, which is completely different from ‘a choice of one of the Tigers top 3 draft picks’.

    It feels like this was a throw in of sorts, much like we threw in Lowe to Texas last year for Lueke, here we threw in Pauley for Ruffin. Seems people on the internet made such a big deal about this because of the perceived chance at Castellanos or Smyly, which was never actually a possibility.

  13. Mike Snow on August 17th, 2011 4:31 pm

    I don’t know about written in stone, but it was definitely written in the papers that they had a list to choose from. Here’s the Seattle Times (in this case Mason Kelley, so not Stone):

    The Mariners will spend the next three weeks evaluating a pool of three players before deciding which one completes the deal. Zduriencik wouldn’t release the names of those players, but said they are all in the minor leagues, and he described the pool as “significant.”

    “The group of players we can select from, we like all of them,” Zduriencik said. “We think that, when we narrow it down to the exact guy we want, this is going to be a good player. That was an important part of this deal.”

  14. lamlor on August 17th, 2011 4:33 pm

    It was stated at the time of the trade (by Jack himself per reports) and ever sense that M’s had the choice of 1 of 3 players. It was never really confirmed that it would be a rookie, but the fact of the ‘PTBNL’ tag made it obvious it was a player from last years draft waiting for the 1 year rule to expire. It was most likely Ruffin, the SP, and the catcher all drafted last year.

  15. lamlor on August 17th, 2011 4:34 pm

    Thanks Mike Snow. You beat me to it.

  16. TomC on August 17th, 2011 4:44 pm

    Nice additional piece to the trade. If he turns into the next Jeff Nelson, it is a great trade, otherwise just a very good one.

    I amazed the Tigers used a relatively high draft pick on a reliever, however. I am equally appalled that we did the same thing with Fields a few years ago. It seems to me the best course of action is to build your bullpen from spare parts and later round draft picks.

    To illustrate: the 2010 Rolaids Relief Man Award winners were Rafael Soriano of Tampa Bay and and Heath Bell of San Diego. You can quibble if they were in fact the best relievers in the game but they were at least close to the best. According to Soriano’s WAR was 2.4 and Bell’s was 2.5. By comparison Mariner cast-offs Russell Branyan and Yorvit Torrealba had 2.4 and 2.5 WARs, respectively. I can’t imagine wasting a top draft pick for a top-end potential contribution of Yorvit Torrealba.

    * by the way, Aardsma’s 2010 WAR was 0.9 and Brandon League’s 2010 WAR was a flat 0.0.

  17. Liam on August 17th, 2011 4:55 pm


    Did the Mariners get a list to choose from just in case Ruffin blew out his arm between when the deal was made and today?

  18. KiWiNiNjA on August 17th, 2011 4:57 pm

    You never know, it could have been Ruffin plus two other players who weren’t from the 2010 draft.

  19. Mike Snow on August 17th, 2011 5:11 pm

    Did the Mariners get a list to choose from just in case Ruffin blew out his arm between when the deal was made and today?

    I would take Zduriencik’s statements at face value that the list was a real choice. There’s little reason not to give yourself more time to make a more informed decision.

    If it had been decided for good and they didn’t want Ruffin to get injured, the Mariners could have simply had the Tigers hold him out of action. Drew Pomeranz hadn’t pitched since the trade deadline when he was named as the last piece of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal (which everybody knew he was going to be).

  20. lubin_cuban23 on August 18th, 2011 10:50 am

    Awesome thanks Mike! Keep up the great work! I know very little about a lot of prospects mainly because I work so many hours in Minor League Baseball lol very ironic

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