It’s too late to come up with an original Seattle Mariners team of the decade – Everett’s Kirby Arnold did it last week, Seattle’s Larry Stone this week.
So what about the worst Mariners of the decade? The only rule, the player must have been in the opening day lineup since 2000. Sadly, that means we can’t include Scott Spiezio or Pokey Reese.
Here’s one man’s lineup of disaster:
- Ben Davis. Acquired when Lou Piniella drafted a trade on the back of a bar napkin, Davis looked superb in a uniform – he simply couldn’t call a game or hit. Nor did he like hard work.
- First base: Richie Sexson. Two productive seasons, two dreadful seasons, but even in his best year he was a black hole in the clubhouse. Would rather have been fishing.
- Second base: Empty. Only three men have manned the position on opening day since 2000 - David Bell, Bret Boone and Jose Lopez. None qualifies as bad enough to make this list.
- Third base: Jeff Cirillo. When he went on-deck, Lou Piniella would say ‘Cirillo has now entered the circle of death.’ Close enough. Pat Gillick’s only truly dreadful trade.
- Shortstop: Wilson Valdez. Acquired two days before the ’06 season began, he took the spot of the popular Ramon Santiago. Then he didn’t hit, didn’t fit and was gone by July.
- Left field: Al Martin. Never hit like he was expected to, was a dreadful outfielder and fibbed. Remember his football career at USC? Turns out it never happened.
- Center field: Jeremy Reed. An asterisk here, because Reed could play defense. He simply wasn’t Mike Cameron and couldn’t hit left-handed pitching.
- Right field: Brad Wilkerson. Ah, Brad, we hardly knew ye. Nineteen games in ’08 and he was gone – one of Bill Bavasi’s short-lived mistakes.
- Designated hitter: Jose Vidro. Cost too much, hit too little and, like Sexson, contributed to the worst cluhouse in team history.
Rich Aurillia, Miguel Olivo, Yuniesky Betancourt and Carl Everett are breathing huge sighs of relief.
And now, a few links:
- Must be strange for guys like Joel Pineiro and Jarrod Washburn to be unsigned and know that 14 teams have apparently been interested enough in Noah Lowry – who hasn’t pitched in two years – to request his medical files. The latest? The Dodgers.
- That $120 million contract St. Louis used to land Matt Holliday apparently will have them paying him deferred money until 2029 – when he’ll be 49.
- Andre Dawson’s election to the Hall of Fame may surprise fans who didn’t see him play or know what he went through to do so. Here’s a good read on a player teammates adored – and why.
- David Cone has left New York’s YES network, and his rumored replacement on the air: ex-Mariner Tino Martinez.
- While Russell Branyan sits stewing, the Atlanta Braves signed Troy Glaus to play first base – then signed Eric Hinske as his backup.
- St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa insists he’s not joking when he says if the team is in contention it might add new hitting coach Mark McGwire to its roster for September.