Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ultimate baseball league: Seattle Mariners

Hey, Félix Hernández might actually get some run support. The first four spots in the all-time Mariners lineup includes four likely Hall of Famers, which raises the question of how in hell they never won a pennant during the years from approximately 1995 through 2002.

(Short answers: pitching, playoff baseball is a crapshoot and who cares, it was 10 years ago.)

King Félix leads a starting rotation that is relatively strong for a 35-year-old franchise, even with Randy Johnson needed elsewhere.

  1. RF Ichiro Suzuki,* 2004 (8.1). This was about the point (the 262-hit season) when he went from foreign curiosity to living legend. The last great singles hitter is about two-plus seasons away from 4,000 hits combined for NPB and MLB, four seasons away from three thou in North America.

  2. 3B Edgar Martinez, 1992 (5.9). The most beloved Mariner will become the first DH in the Hall of Fame one of these days. Nineteen ninety-two was Gar's best hitting season (.343/.404/.544 slash line) while he was a position player, so let's use it to keep the DH spot open. It is either that or use either David Bell, Russ Davis or Jim Presley and no one wants that.

  3. CF Ken Griffey,* 1996 (9.7). As Poz put it, Junior "was so much to watch that he he probably inspired to people to think he was better than he was." Saying Griffey inspired people to think he was better than Barry Bonds would have been more to the point. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2016.

  4. SS Alex Rodríguez, 2000 (11.0). The only debate is which A-Rod season to use. How did he not win MVP for leading a thoroughly mediocre Mariners team to a playoff spot in '00?

  5. 1B Alvin Davis,* 1984 (5.6). Typically associated with Bill James' concept of young players with old player skills. Davis on-based .380 career, more than decent considering his era.

  6. LF Mike Cameron, 2001 (6.4). Three-time Gold Glover slides left on the defensive spectrum, since nobody puts peak-value Griffey in an outfield corner. This also takes care of the Mariners' eternal vacuum in left field. Cameron has never made enough contact to an elite player, but he's always been a treat to watch.

  7. DH Ken Phelps,* 1986 (3.7 oWAR) / Richie Sexson 2005 (3.9).

    "They kept saying, 'Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps.' " The irony of that is the Seinfeld-ized George Steinbrenner's baseball people were clearly in the right. Phelps was 31 in 1986 when he finally got a regular swing in the majors; he wore out right-handed pitching. He and the lefty-mashing Sexson would form a good platoon.

  8. 2B Harold Reynolds,# 1989 (4.2). Three Gold Gloves, good at getting on base, occasional boundary issues.

  9. C Kenji Johjima, 2007 (3.4) / Dan Wilson, 1997 (3.3). A pair of good catch-and-throw types can decide which starting pitchers to work with. Wilson caught 190 of Jamie Moyer's career starts.
  • RHS Félix Hernández, 2010 (6.0). Fingers are crossed that he did not waste the best 250 innings of his pitching life on a 101-loss team. Becomes the ace since Randy Johnson is needed elsewhere.

  • LHS Jamie Moyer, 1999 (5.7). Last threw a fastball in Babe Ruth league, but one of the all-time survivors.

  • LHS Mark Langston, 1988 (5.6). The best pitcher the Mariners had until the guy who came from the Expos in exchange for him (the kicker is the Randy Johnson deal was not a blunder, since 6-foot-10 pitchers aren't sure things). Langston probably should have never left Seattle, but the team had some cheapskate ownership.

  • RHS Mike Moore, 1985 (5.6). Power pitcher who started the trend of Mariners pitchers being a big part of World Series-winning staffs.

  • RHS Freddy García, 1999 (5.0). The six degrees of García include being traded for Randy Johnson and mentoring his compatriot, Hernández. Probably should be given the 2001 Cy Young (he had a 3.05 ERA that season) retroactively).

  • RHS Scott Bankhead, 1989 (4.2). Must have known how to pitch, since he was generously listed at 5-foot-10.
  • 2B José López, 2008 (3.9). Once had more home runs in a season than bases on balls. That is difficult to do!

  • OF Tom Paciorek, 1981 (3.9). It is arguable Paciorek had the best season by a Seattle left fielder during a strike-shortened season. That does not say much for the club, does it?

  • INF David Bell, 2001 (3.1). In the mid-aughties the Philies had Chase Utley and Placido Polanco and couldn't figure out that one of them should bump Bell off third base.


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Anonymous said...

Jay Buhner.