The All-Time Mariners team has five future hall-of-famers on the roster. Six, if you count the manager.
The other day my friend mentioned that Justin Smoak could end up being the best Mariners first baseman of all-time. Naturally, this led to me think of who really is the best Mariners first baseman of all-time. And this led to me creating an All-Time Mariners 25-man roster. I decided to focus on individual seasons to make the exercise a little easier.
Check it out after the jump.
Note: WAR numbers and UZR numbers are taken from Fangraphs.com
Catcher- Dan Wilson (1996)
Dan Wilson did not put up daunting offensive numbers when he played catcher for the Mariners. However, consistency counts for something. Wilson played 1,237 games as the Mariners catcher, the most ever. In 1996 he made his one and only All-Star appearance, and ended the season with a career best line of .285/.330/.444.
1st Base- Alvin Davis (1984)
Tino Martinez’s 1995 has a solid case, but I don’t think it beats “Mr. Mariner’s” 1984 rookie season. Davis holds the MLB record for most consecutive games reaching base to start a career, with 47. He took home the American League Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.
2nd Base- Bret Boone (2001)
Harold Reynolds may be the more famous second baseman in the franchise, but he did not come close to matching Boone’s 2001 season. Actually, no second baseman in history has even come close to putting up Boone’s 2001 offensive numbers. Boone put up a monster line of .331/.372/.578 while playing elite defense. He also led the league in RBIs with 141.
3rd Base- Adrian Beltre (2006)
Perhaps 2004 was just an anomaly, or Beltre was just hampered by the new setting at Safeco Field, but he never found the success in Seattle that he found in 2004 as a Dodger. However, Beltre’s 2007 was the best season by a Mariners third baseman ever. He put up a batting line of .268/.328/.465 and posted a 4.9 WAR. These numbers may not jump out to you, but Beltre posted an 18.7 UZR that year, good for fourth in the MLB.
Shortstop- Alex Rodriguez (1996)
It was a close call between A-Rod’s 1996 season and his equally incredible 2000 season. But I give the edge to 1996 because his raw numbers are slightly better. He won his one and only batting title, leading the American League with a .358 batting average to go along with his OBP of .414 and slugging percentage of .631. He also led the league in doubles with 54 and total bases reached with 379.
Left Field- Phil Bradley (1985)
I wish I could cheat and put Jay Buhner here, but Buhner played only 11 games at left field in his 14 seasons as a Mariner. Bradley was an All-Star in 1985 and posted a line of .300/.365/.498 with 26 homers. He also was a threat on the basepaths, stealing 22 bases (his career high was 40).
Center Field- Ken Griffey Jr. (1997)
You could take your pick from 1996 and 1997 Griffey and it would not make that much of a difference. 1997 Griffey posted a monster line of .304/.382/.646. He led the league with 56 home runs, 147 RBIs, and 23 intentional walks.
Right Field- Ichiro (2004)
This was a no-brainer. In the spring training of 2004, hitting coach Paul Molitor and manager Bob Melvin stressed the importance of on-base percentage and being more selective at the plate. Ichiro started the month of April hitting .255 and posting an OBP of .309. After that, they told Ichiro to just go back to what he was doing before and forget their advice. This turned out to be their best advice. Ichiro set the all-time single-season record for hits with 262, and finished the season with a line of .372/.414/.455.
Designated Hitter- Edgar Martinez (1995)
If Edgar Martinez did not exist in 1995, then Safeco Field and the Seattle Mariners might not exist either. Martinez led the league in batting average at .356, as well as an OBP at .479 and OPS with a mark of 1.107. In the division playoff series against the Yankees, Martinez hit .571/.667/1.000 in five games, reaching base 21 times.
Kenji Johjima (2006)
For a relatively young franchise, 2006 Kenji is all this team has available for a quality back-up catcher. Dave Valle did not have one season that matched Kenji’s 2006 in his nine seasons as a Mariner.
Jay Buhner (1996)
He didn’t play the most inspiring defense, but he hit for enough power to be a good player regardless and was a fan favorite. He finished 1996 with 44 home runs and 138 RBIs, but only led the league in one category: strikeouts, with 159.
Franklin Gutierrez (2009)
Mike Cameron might be mad about this, but you can’t ignore Guti’s ridiculous 31.0 UZR in 2009, the highest since the stat has been recorded. Who comes in second at center field? None other than Mike Cameron with an 11.0 UZR in 2009.
Harold Reynolds (1989)
Reynolds had arguably his best season in 1989, hitting for a league average rate while providing excellent defense at second base. Reynolds is likely more famous now for his work on ESPN than for his years as the Mariners’ second baseman.
Omar Vizquel (1992)
When people discuss the best gloves ever by a shortstop, Vizquel is usually one of the first names to come up. 1992 was his best year at the plate with the Mariners, but with Vizquel it’s never been about his bat.
John Olerud (2002)
Though a strong argument could be made for Tino Martinez’s 1995, Olerud makes the cut in large part because of his glove. Though his best seasons were had elsewhere, the Interlake high school alum posted a 4.8 WAR in 2002.
Randy Johnson (1995)
1995 marked the first Cy Young season of five for his career. He gave up only .5 home runs and struck out 12.3 batters per nine innings, leading the league in both categories. He also led the league with a 2.48 ERA and 294 strikeouts.
Felix Hernandez (2010)
King Felix’s 2010 is not as impressive as the Big Unit’s 1995, but he did lead the league in innings pitched, ERA, and hits allowed per game; allowing only seven per nine innings. He also posted a 6.2 WAR and took home a Cy Young Award at the end of the season.
Mark Langston (1987)
Before he was traded for Randy Johnson, Langston put together two solid seasons for the Mariners at the mound in 1987 and 1988. In 1987, Langston led the league in strikeouts with 262 and also took home a gold glove for his defensive efforts.
Freddy Garcia (2001)
Garcia posted his best FIP at 3.48 and also posted a respectable 3.05 ERA in 2001, leading the rotation of the team with the most wins in a season in baseball history.
Jamie Moyer (1999)
1985 Mike Moore and 1990 Erik Hanson statistically have put up better numbers than 1999 Jamie Moyer. But I’m guessing manager Lou Piniella would prefer the consistency and reliability of Jamie Moyer.
Honestly I could be perfectly content with just inserting the 2001 bullpen. However, 2006 J.J. Putz is the best Mariners closer of all-time. And it ends up that the 2001 bullpen does end up making up the all-time bullpen, just that Sasaki, Rhodes, and Nelson’s best individual seasons came in different years.
J.J. Putz (2006)
Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000)
Arthur Rhodes (2002)
Jeff Nelson (1995)
Mike Schooler (1989)
Manager: Lou Piniella
It is well-documented that since baseball managers use by and large the same strategies, they do not really make that much of a difference on the field, as long as they don’t do anything incredibly stupid. With this said, Lou Piniella is entertaining (watch above video), and loves baseball. Therefore, he is the manager of this baseball team.