Wednesday, March 18, 2020

All-Time Teams: Mariners

Today we'll look at the only franchise that has not played in a World Series. Here's the All-Time Team for the Seattle Mariners:

Manager: Lou Piniella
Home: Kingdome

Leading off for the Mariners.. the Right Fielder.. Ichiro Suzuki

Pete Rose is considered baseball's Hit King, but Ichiro has more base hits at the highest levels of professional baseball. After collecting 1,278 hits in Japan "Ichi" had an historic debut season for Seattle -  winning the batting title, Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and AL MVP honors in 2001. In 2004, Ichiro led the majors with a .372 batting average and broke George Sisler's single-season hits record with 262. The ten-time All-Star and ten-time Gold Glove recipient stole 509 bases in his career, including a franchise-leading 438 for the Mariners. His 3,089 hits stateside gives him a professional total of 4,367 - that's 111 more than "Charlie Hustle."

Batting second for Seattle.. the Designated Hitter.. Edgar Martinez

Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez holds Mariners' career records for games played, offensive WAR, on-base percentage, runs scored, runs batted in, doubles, and total bases. Martinez earned seven All-Star nods, five Silver Slugger awards, and two batting titles in his 18-year career. He finished third in AL MVP voting in 1995 after leading the league in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, runs scored, and doubles. The award for the league's top DH (which he won five times) was re-named in Edgar's honor at the conclusion of his career in 2004.

Batting third.. the Center Fielder.. Ken Griffey, Jr.

Few players in baseball history have had the five-tool talent, Hall of Fame production, and transcendent popularity of Ken Griffey, Jr. "The Kid" was drafted first overall in 1987, made his debut for the Mariners as a teenager two years later, and shared an outfield with his father Ken Griffey, Sr. A 13-time All-Star, "Junior" won ten Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and unanimous AL MVP honors in 1997. His 630 career home runs are seventh on the all-time list, and he's first in Mariners history with 417 homers and 70.6 WAR. Three members of the BBWAA did not have Griffey on their Hall of Fame ballots when he was elected with a then-record 99.3% of the vote in 2016.

Batting fourth.. the Left Fielder.. Jay Buhner

Jay Buhner played just 16 games in left field but he'll have to move to the unfamiliar corner to make room for Ichiro, who succeeded him in right field for the Mariners. Buhner blasted 307 home runs for Seattle, the third-highest total in team history. Despite three consecutive seasons of 40+ home runs and 100+ RBI Buhner made just one All-Star team - in 1996, when he was also awarded his only Gold Glove. "Bone" finished fifth in AL MVP voting in 1995 and ranks among the Mariners' all-time top five in offensive WAR, games played, hits, runs scored, runs batted in, doubles, and total bases.

Batting fifth.. the First Baseman.. Alvin Davis

The 1984 American League Rookie of the Year, Alvin Davis was the most valuable Mariner (by WAR) of the 1980s. His 20.1 total with the franchise ranks ninth among position players and twelfth overall. Davis is sixth in Seattle history with 1,163 hits and 1,875 total bases, and his career RBI total of 667 is fourth-highest among Mariners. He walked more than he struck out over his career, resulting in a .381 on-base percentage that places him fifth on the M's all-time list.

Batting sixth.. the Second Baseman.. Bret Boone

Bret Boone began his big league career with Seattle in 1992, spent seven seasons in the National League after a 1993 trade to the Reds, then returned to the Emerald city in 2001. In his seven seasons with the Mariners Boone won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team twice. He finished third in AL MVP voting in 2001 after setting career highs with a .331 batting average, 37 home runs, and a league-leading 141 RBI for a 116-win Mariners squad. Boone's .478 slugging percentage for Seattle places him seventh in franchise history.

Batting seventh.. the Third Baseman.. Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager enters his tenth season with Seattle in 2020. An All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 2014, Seager is currently fifth among Mariners position players with a 32.5 career WAR. He ranks fifth among all Mariners in games played, hits, total bases and RBI, and his doubles, home runs, and extra-base hits totals are fourth in team history. Seager set career highs with a .278/.359/.499 slash line, 30 home runs, and 99 RBI in 2016, resulting in a 133 OPS+ and a handful of MVP votes.

Batting eighth.. the Catcher.. Dan Wilson

Dan Wilson played 1,251 games for the Mariners - the sixth highest total in team history. An All-Star in 1996, Wilson was Seattle's primary catcher for all four of the team's trips to the postseason. His longevity for the M's (along with a franchise-leading 11.1 defensive WAR) was enough to earn a starting spot over two other catchers with similar offensive production. Dave Valle played 405 fewer games for Seattle, and his slash line of .235/.311/.371 was not an upgrade over Wilson's .262/.309/.384 averages. 

Batting ninth.. the Shortstop.. Yuniesky Betancourt

Yuniesky Betancourt accumulated 6.0 offensive WAR over five seasons with the Mariners, posting a .279/.302/.393 slash line and an 85 OPS+. I'm not going to try to convince you that "Yuni" deserves a starting spot on an all-time team. Alex Rodriguez would be the obvious choice as Seattle's shortstop, but I couldn't justify assigning him here after seven seasons when he spent twelve in the Bronx. Omar Vizquel and Carlos Guillen totaled more overall WAR for the M's than Betancourt. So did Brendan Ryan, Jean Segura, and Brad Miller. Unfortunately none of those players qualified based on the parameters I set in order to avoid arbitrarily assigning players to favor certain teams. I'm sorry, Mariners fans. 

The Starting Pitcher for the Mariners.. Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez made his first start for the Mariners in 2005 at age 19. After fifteen seasons in Seattle, he signed with the Braves this off-season. "King Felix" holds Mariners franchise records for starts, innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts. His 50.1 career WAR is fourth-highest among all Mariners and tops all Seattle pitchers. Hernandez made six All-Star teams in seven seasons from 2009-2015; the lone exception was his Cy Young season of 2010 in which he led the majors with a 2.27 ERA. He finished second in AL Cy Young voting twice - in 2009, when he led the AL with 19 wins and in 2014, when he paced the circuit with a 2.14 ERA and 0.915 WHIP. 

Now let's take a look at the Mariners' bench and bullpen:

Catcher - Mike Zunino
1st Base - Bruce Bochte 
Infield - Harold Reynolds
Outfield - Raul Ibanez
Outfield - Phil Bradley

Zunino's career batting average is ugly, but with Wilson (and Betancourt) in the starting lineup Seattle desperately needs a power bat off the bench. Bochte was an All-Star in 1979 and slashed .290/.370/.429 over five seasons in Seattle. Reynolds made two All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves with the Mariners. Ibanez ranks among the M's top ten in career hits, runs, home runs, total bases, doubles, and RBI. Bradley was an All-Star in 1985 and his career batting average and on-base percentage as a Mariner places him fourth in team history. 

#2 Starter - Jamie Moyer
#3 Starter - Freddy Garcia
#4 Starter - Hisashi Iwakuma

#5 Starter - Mark Langston

Moyer pitched until he was nearly 50. The 269-game winner ranks second among Mariners in starts and wins, and third in strikeouts and WAR. Garcia led the league in innings and ERA in 2001, the first of his back-to-back All-Star seasons. Iwakuma has the lowest WHIP and walks per 9 innings among all Mariners pitchers. Langston pitched two more years and 34 more times for the Angels, but he couldn't crack their rotation. The four-time All-Star struck out 200+ batters in five of his first six seasons for the M's before being traded to Montreal for Randy Johnson. 

RH Reliever - Tom Wilhelmsen
RH Reliever - Michael Jackson
RH Reliever - Mike Schooler
RH Reliever - Jeff Nelson
RH Reliever - Kazuhiro Sasaki
RH Reliever - J. J. Putz

Wilhelmsen posted a 3.01 ERA and 1.198 WHIP over six seasons in Seattle. Jackson made the second-most relief appearances in team history. Schooler is fourth in franchise annals with 98 career saves. Nelson won four World Series with the Yankees but pitched 101 more times for the Mariners. Sasaki is Seattle's all-time saves leader with 129 in just four seasons. Putz is third among Mariners with 101 saves - eight behind Edwin Diaz, who didn't qualify. (The minimum is four seasons with a given team.) Rafael Soriano posted a 151 ERA+ in five seasons with the M's, but his 116 career appearances aren't even in the team's top 50. 

Stay tuned fur our next All-Time Team, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Thanks for reading, and take care out there!



  1. Boy, Yuniesky Betancourt. I'd say he has to be the worst player to make one of these teams, but the Rays are up next, so who knows?

    Can't think of Jay Buhner without remembering Frank Costanza yelling at George Steinbrenner for trading him. Generations of people are watching that episode who have no idea who Jay Buhner is.

    1. The Rays are thin in the infield. Betancourt might have been a starter on Tampa, too.

      That was a great episode. I loved the storyline of George working for the Yankees.

  2. After seeing all-time rosters like the Yankees, A's, and Giants... it'd be really hard for this team to compete. But the top of the order is pretty darn good.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Seeing 3 HOFers followed by an above average player like Buhner then well...its not nearly as good after that. Worse of all The Big Unit isn't on this team because he was better in AZ. Yikes! This team has to be in the bottom, right?

    2. The Angels aren't great either so Seattle might avoid a last-place finish. But yeah, they got skunked in this series.

  3. I agree with most of the list. I would have replaced Alvin Davis with John Olerud and as much as I dislike Arod and as much as I like Betancourt I would have to say PayRod gets the nod at ss.

    1. Olerud played longer for another team (as did Tino Martinez) but I agree with you about Arod. If I could re-do one roster spot among all the teams it would be that one. Which gives me an idea. I was considering "remastering" the older posts to correct spacing/spelling errors and add more info. Perhaps I should consider a roster adjustment..

  4. I guess we can see why the Mariners have never made a World Series.
    What I'm taking from this roster is if the Vogelmonster has four or five more solid seasons then he's got a good chance to overtake Bruce Bochte for a bench spot. That would be a most excellent event to celebrate!

    1. As long as he stays in Seattle for a while he's got a shot! btw, the last spring training game I watched on the MLB network was a Mariners game I left on just to see your guy take his cuts. :)

  5. You should've started off the post by saying "Today we'll be looking at a franchise who hasn't ever, and will never, play in a World Series"!

    1. If they couldn't get there with Griffey, Edgar, A-Rod and Randy... or Ichiro, Edgar, Boone, and Olerud.. I can't imagine how they will get to one.

  6. Similar to the Giants' all-time team, you could probably just put Ichiro in right-center and Griffey Jr. in left-center and use that third outfielder somewhere else, like a second shortstop or something. Anything to help this team win a few games.

    1. It might help if they could repeat their top three guys, like a shootout in olympic hockey :)

  7. If these teams were run through a simulation, I'm fairly confident the Mariners would score at least one run in the first inning in pretty much every game they played.

    1. The top third is legendary. The middle third is good, but not all-time great. The bottom third isn't bad - for a regular one year real-life team. In an all-time season they'd strand a ton of runners.

  8. No Tino...even on the bench? Come on!

    1. I had a feeling you'd say that. I really did try, but the problem is..he's a Yankee. Mattingly was better. And Tino's Seattle slash line wasn't quite enough.