Mr. Know-It-All: M’s greatest seasons Part II

Mr. Know-It-All examines the greatest seasons by shortstops and third basemen in Mariners’ history.

Mr. K-I-A’s introduction was in an earlier post and included his thoughts on the greatest seasons produced by catchers, first basemen and second basemen. In case you missed it, click here to read it.

Tomorrow: The outfielders.

Third Basemen
92    Edgar    Martinez    3b    0.947
94    Edgar    Martinez    3b    0.867
91    Edgar    Martinez    3b    0.852
90    Edgar    Martinez    3b    0.827
85    Jim     Presley    3b    0.812
95    Mike    Blowers    3b    0.811
2007    Adrian    Beltre    3b    0.801
2006    Adrian    Beltre    3b    0.784

Edgar would have had another year on this list for 1993, except he was hurt.  Which probably led him to the dh permanently in 2005.  1992 was a monster year.  He had seven greater years as a dh.  Joe Posnanski has remarked and he is a remarkably good analyst that Edgar was one of the best right handed hitters ever, certainly top ten.  The guy that kept him in the minor leagues, Jim Presley  chipped in with a nice year in 1985.  Mike Blowers in the booth now without Dave Niehaus had his career year in 1985, good for him I say as a kid from Spanaway.  Adrian Beltre playing in Yellowstone, otherwise known as Safeco had two good but not great years.  Playing in Fenway Park in 2010 he had an incredible year, like he did in LA before he came to Seattle.  He should do well in Texas, too.
As a general statement over thirty four years there should be more players here.  Particularly given the years in the Kingdome.  The rule in old school baseball is that you must have power from the corners and defense up the middle to go with your pitching to win.  If you don’t have that power, then you are in a deficit and must get it from one of the middle positions, which is verra hard to do as those guys are scarce and you have to pay them a lot.  The Ms in Jellystone had no juice at third base last year with Jose Lopez and will not this year with Chone Figgins.  Is there the prospect of power from ss, 2b, cf or catcher this year?  Maybe Olivo, nowhere else really.
Does that doom the Mariners?  The team has finished last or second to last in runs scored in every year except 2007 since 2003.  They had winning records in 2007 and 2009.  Is there anything to draw on from those years?  Well 2007 the team had Ichiro in center, Jose Guillen in rf and Ibanez in lf, Beltre and Sexson 3b and 1b and Jose Vidro as the dh.  They scored runs and won games more or less traditionally.  In 2009 they had Jose Lopez’s career year at 2b which compensated for the lack of production from Ichiro but they did not really score runs at all finishing last in the league with 640 runs, which was 127 more than they did in 2010. But what does it mean?  How can you score less runs than anyone and win?  Well, they defended very well, especially in the outfield with Ichiro, Gutierrez, and the gang in left field.  Infield made plays.
Last year that did not happen, fewer balls get caught than year before all over the place, outfield and infield.  It can happen again and it must if they are to win. In 2009 (see appendix on UZR) the Mariners were the best defensive team in all of baseball.  There UZR was 85.3 a full 30 runs better than any other team in baseball.  They were the tenth best last year.  What happened? Two things seem bigger than anything other factors.  Franklin Gutierrez had a far less productive defensive season, getting to far fewer balls in 2010 than the year before.  Figgins although possessed with greater range than Lopez at second base made some errors.  The catchers did not throw as well as they had the year before.  Beltre was better at 3b than the year before.  Josh Wilson is not an everyday ss.  It all adds up.

96    Alex    Rodriguez    ss    1.046
2000    Alex    Rodriguez    ss    1.027
99    Alex    Rodriguez    ss    0.942
98    Alex    Rodriguez    ss    0.913
97    Alex    Rodriguez    ss    0.841

Five of the greatest offensive years a short stop has had in baseball, let alone for the Mariners.  His first five years in the majors.  He’s a professional hitter on target to hit 900 homers or so, barring injury before he’s through.  Awfully insecure guy, what with the steroids and stuff.  I question whether that started in Texas, but I have no evidence or anecdote to suggest that it did not.  The Mariners had another shortstop who might squeak into the hall of fame for all of his other work, including eleven gold gloves and that is Omar Vizquel.  The Mariners traded him for Felix Fermin, Reggie Jefferson and cash.  Felix showed up and was not good and got hurt and was beat out by Luis Sojo until Alex took over.  This sort of is like the Tino Martinez trade.  The guy finally figures it out, starts to play at a high level and he got dumped.  Spike Owen was not as good as Omar, but the same thing happened.  After Alex, Carlos Guillen was a very good short stop who was traded away to Detroit for a guy named Raymond Santiago who the Ms released.  Both are still with Detroit.  Carlos was thought to be a bad influence on Freddie Garcia and was thrown away.  Freddie was shipped off too, so as not to pollute Felix’s world.  Both Freddie and Carlos were good to excellent major league players who participated in World Series with their new teams after being dumped by Seattle.
Twenty seven hundred words before I suggest that the M’s have not been to the World Series yet.  That is wrong at so many levels.  But to sum it up, when he’s done Alex Rodriguez will be in arguments about if he was the greatest player ever.  Deservedly so.  That he was a Mariner will be a footnote not discussed by many away from this fair state.  Long term contracts aside, we should have signed him.
As he slides into the last part of his career he’s better than any three players the Mariners have had since 2003.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Enter the word yellow here: