The M’s may have lost their manager, and the season might be over, but don’t despair! There are loads of former Mariners contributing to playoff teams who could not only find themselves on a postseason roster, but also be the reason you tune into the playoffs this year.
We’ll start in the American League-
The Tigers may have the largest contingent of former M’s on their squad. Doug Fister, the 14-game winner, who was stolen from the acquired from the Mariners for nothing relative to his worth, will likely continue his postseason form for Detroit. Last October he was arguably the Tigers’ best pitcher. High praise considering who he shares a rotation with. Other former M’s who have a shot to make the postseason team include suddenly effective relief pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, hometown favorite Matt Tuiasosopo and head scratcher Ramon Santiago. Fun bit about Santiago — he was traded to the M’s by Detroit with another minor leaguer for Carlos Guillen. After a short stint in Seattle’s organization he was soon back in Motown—as Guillen’s backup.
Boston Red Sox
Beantown’s Mariner contingent doesn’t boast the pitching prowess that Detroit’s does, but it certainly can hit. David Ortiz might be one of the most recognizable baseball players in the world. He also may be one of the most recognizable former Mariners in the world. The slugging DH, who often is discussed in the same breath as former Mariner great Edgar Martinez in the pantheon of designated hitters, was a farm player in Seattle’s organization. The price for him? The right to rent Dave Hollins. Mike Carp is another former Seattle player who was let go for relatively nothing. Carp is a vital bench cog for the AL East Champs. The last Seattle cast off in Boston is Matt Thornton, who got to his current destination by way of Chicago. The former All-Star was last seen in an M’s uniform in 2004.
The A’s group of former M’s is a small one. Outside of manager Bob Melvin, injured backstop John Jaso is the only ex-Mariner. Jaso was shipped to the Bay Area in the three-team-swap that netted Seattle Michael Morse. The slugger has since been flipped to Baltimore for outfield prospect Xavier Avery. So what does John Jaso get you? Some A-ha walk-up music for a couple months and an outfield prospect stuck on the organizational depth chart. Bill Bavasi would be proud.
The Indians have a few players with local ties. Michael Brantley was born in Bellevue and Nick Hagadone is an ex-Husky, however the only former M here is Asdrubal Cabrera. Before Brad Miller made himself someone who could take over as the long-term shortstop there were long years of Jack Wilson and Ronny Cedeno. During that time, Asdrubal Cabrera was looked at as the one who got away. Cabrera was traded to the Indians for Eduardo Perez in an ill attempt to improve the M’s DH situation. He has since gone on to appear in two All-Star games, take home a Silver Slugger and carve out a reputation as one of the better fielding shortstops in the Major Leagues. Eduardo Perez hit into more double plays (3) than he hit home runs (1) in a 43-game stint in the Emerald City. Oh, what could have been. Lets out a long, exasperated sigh.
Tampa Bay Rays
Sadly household Rays’ names such as Longoria and Price were never Mariners. Maybe this is a good thing seeing all the talent the M’s have let walk out the door in the last 20 odd years. The Rays aren’t without a former Mariner or two though. Reserve catcher Chris Gimenez was a Mariner at one point, as were relief pitchers Jamey Wright and Josh Lueke. We have Lueke to thank for John Jaso. The M’s and Rays swapped the two once. We also have Jaso to thank for the A-ha music and Xavier Avery. We’ve come full circle everybody!
And as we come full circle, we’ll head to the National League.
As far as I can tell, Pittsburgh doesn’t have any former Mariners on the team. So, if you’re looking for a bizarre team to bet on in the playoffs, here it is.
The Braves have one former M on the team sheet. That would be injured, but-dominant-when-healthy reliever, Eric O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty’s ERA in three years with Seattle — 4.09, 4.47 and 20.25. His ERA in each season since joining the Braves — 3.04, 2.45, 0.98, 1.73, 2.50. Oops. There is also Justin Upton. Who could have been a Mariner, but declined the opportunity. I thought that was a good thing actually.
St. Louis Cardinals
The NL continues to make this post look top-heavy. The Cardinals have one resident former Mariner, former Rainier great Rob Johnson. The veteran backstop was in Seattle for four years before moving on to San Diego before the 2011 season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers continue the NL trend of lack of former M’s. Brandon League is the most noteworthy– and only former Mariner on LA’s payroll. The M’s got two prospects for the former All-Star. In a non-related story, there is a Dodgers’ pitcher named Paco. So, that’s fun to say. Not as fun as Francisco, but close… That was a marginal Will Ferrell reference/humor bit everyone. I repeat, marginal.
The Reds have as many former Mariners as the Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates do put together. That would be two. Infielder Jack Hannahan and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. While it begrudges me not to have more players to write about, it does give me a chance to write about Choo. Earlier I wrote about the M’s attempt to bolster their DH position way-back-when when they acquired Eduardo Perez. The team also acquired another player from the Indians to help bolster their production at designated hitter. That was Ben Broussard. And the player they gave up was Choo. Let me be clear, the Perez/Cabrera swap was a train robbery, but if that was a train robbery, the Choo trade makes it look like a ticket for jay-walking in terms of offenses. Broussard did produce at a much better rate than Perez, which is to say adequately. Also his HR/GIDP ratio was much better than Perez’s. The point out of all this is that the Mariners gave Cleveland two ridiculously good players for two veterans who were in the later stages of their careers. Train robberies all.
So, when looking for baseball to watch this fall, be sure to check out the former Mariners across the October landscape, from players who were let go for nothing up front (Cabrera) and nothing long term (Fister), there are former M’s everywhere you look.
Well, except Pittsburgh.
You can see the AL post here and the NL post here.