Where Are They Now? (Part 2)by John Brattain
February 17, 2006
This week, the pitchers:
Ken Hill: A victim of the great fire sale of 1995, he was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for Kirk Bullinger, Bryan Eversgerd, and Da Rond Stovall. Hill didn’t last long there, as he was dealt a few days before the trade deadline to the Indians for David Bell, Rick Heiserman, and Pepe McNeal, where he helped pitch the Tribe to the Fall Classic (he was 2-1, 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings in the 1995 postseason). His stint in Cleveland lasted until the end of the season, when he filed for free agency and signed with the Texas Rangers. While in Arlington, he had his finest season (250.2 innings/139 ERA+), but the workload apparently derailed his career. He logged just 510.1 more innings until his career ended in 2001, while occasionally being better than league average. In July, 1997, he was dealt to the Anaheim Angels for Jim Leyritz and Rob Sasser, where he re-upped with the Angels through the 2000 season. From there he signed and was released by the White Sox, Devil Rays, Reds and Red Sox (he never played a game for either the Reds or Red Sox).
Pedro Martinez: Do I really have to go into detail here? The man’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. If you don’t know about Pedro, then you probably came to the Hardball Times thinking it was a porn site.
Jeff Fassero Fassero stayed in Montreal, where he enjoyed a superb season (231.2 innings/130 ERA+) in 1996 and even flirted with a no-hitter against the Pirates. Deemed too expensive for the Expos, he was dealt to the Mariners just after the World Series along with Alex Pacheco, for Trey Moore, Matt Wagner, and Chris Widger. He proved that 1996 was no fluke, winning a career-high 16 games while posting a 125 ERA+ over 234.1 innings, and followed that up with 224.2 inning/117 ERA+ season. However, his 690.1 inning workload over those three seasons, coupled with turning 36, spelled the end of his time as a top starter. On Aug. 27, 1999, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Adrian Myers, and that winter inked a deal with the Red Sox. In December, 2000, Fassero signed with the Cubs, who traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals for Jared Blasdell and Jason Karnuth (and re-signed with the Redbirds). He subsequently signed free agent deals with the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Giants, where he remains at age 43. Of note: Fassero is 3-0, 1.46 ERA in the postseason (12.1 innings).
Butch Henry: A promising career derailed by injuries (both knees, left rotator cuff). Henry was enjoying a stellar 1995 (126.2 innings/149 ERA+), when an injury cut short his season. He was waived, and the Red Sox claimed him; however, he didn’t pitch until 1997, when he posted fine numbers in limited work (84.1 innings/132 ERA+). Henry signed with the Mariners for 1999, after logging just 9 innings for the BoSox in 1998 (he managed 34 innings combined over his final two seasons) and was out of MLB at age 30, despite signing a contract to play for the Rockies in 2000.
Kirk Rueter: He was traded with Tim Scott to the San Francisco Giants for Mark Leiter, where he remains. Rueter has been a pitching enigma; he gives up more hits than innings, he doesn’t strike out many, his ERA is pedestrian, but somehow he racks up wins. Despite a below league average aggregate ERA from 1997 to 2003, he went 93-59. He pitched well in the 2002 World Series, with a start and relief appearance, posting a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings.
Mel Rojas: When Rojas jumped the Expos, his career jumped the shark. As an Expo, Rojas was 29-23, racked up 109 saves and posted an ERA of 3.04 (NL average: 3.96 ERA); after he left: 5-8, 17 saves, 6.35 ERA (NL average: 4.26 ERA). I remember predicting dire things for Rojas when he signed as a free agent with the Cubs. During his time in Quebec he had an odd split: He was terrific in night games, but for some unknown reason he was terrible in day games. As you all know, the Cubbies play mostly day games (at home anyway). Turned out that he sucked in Chicago (and everywhere not in Canada). The Cubs soured on him quickly and shipped him along with Brian McRae and Turk Wendell to the New York Mets for Lance Johnson, Mark Clark and Manny Alexander the following year. At the end of 1998, he was sent west for Bobby Bonilla and in April of the following year, he was traded with Dave Mlicki to the Tigers for Robinson Checo, Aposto Garcia and Richard Roberts. The Tabbies released him and he tried to recapture his Montreal mojo and failed. C’est la vie.
John Wetteland: Suffice it to say, Rojas’ superb setup work in 1994 made the decision to trade John Wetteland an easy one. But you’d think they could’ve gotten more from the Yankees than Fernando Freaking Seguignol for him in April 1995. I mean … honestly. Regardless, Wetteland enjoyed two happy years in the Bronx and copped World Series MVP honors in 1996 after saving all four victories. Later on, he parlayed that into a nice four-year contract with the Texas Rangers. He retired at age 33 when his contract ran out, and was recently hired as a bullpen coach with the Washington Nationals.
Jeff Shaw: Survived into 1995 with the Expos, but only until Aug. 28, when he was dealt to the White Sox for Jose DeLeon. At the end of the season he filed for free agency and signed on with the Reds, where he was anointed as their closer the following year, notching 42 saves in that role. In 1998, he was dealt to the Dodgers for Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes and saved a career high 48 games between Cincy and L.A. Shaw went on to save 104 more games for the Dodgers before retiring to spend more time with his family—he was 34.
Gil Heredia: Heredia stayed on for 1995 but, in January, 1996, signed with the Rangers and was released the following November. He returned to La Belle Province for 1997, but was jettisoned that June to the Cubs for David Jefferson and Saul Bustos. Again granted free agency, he hooked up with the A’s, where he pitched until his retirement in 2001. Heredia beat the Yankees’ Roger Clemens in Game 1 of the 2000 ALDS, but got only one out before coughing up six earned runs in the deciding Game 5.
Tim Scott: Scott went along with Rueter to the Giants in the Mark Leiter trade mentioned above, and was waived that October and picked up by the Reds, who released him two months later. He signed as a free agent by the Padres, who released him that May. From there he was released and signed by the Rockies, Mariners and Dodgers and was out of bigs for good at the end of 1997.
Gabe White: White pitched with the Expos in 1995. However, in December, he was traded to the Reds for Jhonny Carvajal. Due to the sins of Cincinnati he was sent to pitching hell in Colorado for Manuel Aybar in 2000, where he pitched amazingly well (274 ERA+ in 83 innings). The Rockies then shipped him back to the Reds along with Luke Hudson, for Pokey Reese and Dennys Reyes in December, 2001. At the 2003 trade deadline, he was sent to the New York Yankees by the Cincinnati Reds as part of a conditional deal; later re-signed with the Yankees. In June 2004, the Yankees traded him to (guess where? You guessed it) Cincinnati for Charlie Manning and cash. In January 2005, White signed with the Atlanta Braves.
Joey Eischen: (Takes deep breath) Didn’t last through the 1995 season. On May 23, he was traded with Roberto Kelly to the Dodgers for Henry Rodriguez and Jeff Treadway; at the deadline that year he was sent to the Detroit Tigers for (praise the Lord) Chad Curtis. After the 1996 season, Eischen was dealt with Cam Smith to the Padres for Willie Blair and Brian Johnson. During spring training, he was shipped to the Reds for Ray Brown. In February 1998, he signed with the Yankees and was released about six weeks later, and returned to the Reds, until released during spring training in 1999. A week later, he caught on with the Diamondbacks, who released him on July 1. Come December, he signed with the Tribe and was released from same toward the end of April. In July, he returned and later re-signed with les Expos and went with the club to D.C. Despite all that he didn’t pitch in the majors from 1998-2000 (exhales).
Denis Boucher and Heath Haynes: That season was their only in the bigs. Brian Looney (Boston, 1995) and Rod Henderson (Milwaukee 1998) both subsequently had brief major league stints, but neither pitched more than five more innings in the bigs.
Our good friend, and THT stalwart, John Brattain passed away on March 24, 2009. John was a prolific writer, whose work can also be read at Sympatico/MSN Sports and Baseball Digest Daily. John's work was also featured at USA Today, MLBtalk, ESPN Insider, Baseball Prospectus, The Baseball Analysts and The Baseball Journals. Never afraid to express himself in any medium, he was also a frequent radio speaker.