Moments In Time…
Hmmm, where to even start. The Mariners have had their fair share of great draft picks for sure, too bad most of them play, or even became stars, for other teams.
But if you were to wonder why the Mariners futile losing just keeps coming, all you have to do is take a look at this list of players who were deemed the next big thing, only to come up as duds in the MLB game.
But, this wouldn’t tell the entire story if I just stuck to draft picks. Of course I have to add at least one bomb free agent signee, and of course a trade or two.
If there is anything the Mariners have been good at over the past 36 years its their inability to choose talent.
It is being said that today’s organization has one of the best farm systems in the league. Only time will tell if those players ever amount to anything other than their pre-draft stock rankings.
But one thing is for sure: Up to this point in time this team has failed more times than not when it comes to filling out the roster in the offseason.
Long before the “big 3” burst onto the scene and into our dreams there was another catch phrase the M’s were using for one of their touted prospects.
Ryan “The Little Unit” Anderson was going to be the two in the one-two punch that was to be the top of the rotation alongside Randy Johnson.
Not that the pair would have really pitched together anyways, Johnson was dealt the following year, but it sure had the fans in Seattle hyped about it.
As usual with Mariners prospects, Anderson suffered injury setbacks that would make Franklin Gutierrez jealous.
Anderson was drafted in 1997, and went on, somehow, to play in professional baseball until the 2005 season. Thankfully the Milwaukee Brewers took him off of our hands.
Jose Cruz Jr.
Another player who was supposed to team up with one of our superstars, Jose Cruz Jr. was taken 3rd overall in the 1995 draft.
Although he came from baseball royalty, he never amounted to the high expectations the Mariners and the baseball world laid on him.
Normally high draft picks like Cruz stick around once they make it to the show, but he was dealt away one month after making his Major League debut in 1997.
The M’s maybe jumped the gun on the trade as Cruz was a member of the 30-30 club for the Toronto Blue Jays, while we ended up with Mike Timlin and Paul Spoljaric in return.
Who is Paul Spoljaric you ask? Exactly my point.
Nothing like signing away a top free agent from your fiercest rival, right?
Well when it comes to the Mariners, those sorts of deals seem to backfire. And badly.
Figgins was going to be a top of the order guy who would hit behind Ichiro and produce the fastest one and two to start a lineup in the entire league.
They did end up with the speed, but the problem was, Figgins forgot that it was actually okay to strike the ball with his baseball bat.
And his fielding wasn’t that great either. Whether he was at third, short, second, or in the outfield, there was always a more reliable glove (and bat) sitting on the bench ready to spell the high dollar man.
As Florida or Arizona have been called the places where old people come to die, Seattle has that same exact affect on free agents.
It was a celebration the day that Figgins was no longer a member of the Mariners. And that isn’t even close to being an understatement.
Richie Sexson was supposed to be the big Pual Bunyan type player for the Mariners. Returning to his home state (Sexson lived in Battle Ground) to bring the M’s some pop.
Sexson was signed to a rather large deal, $50 million over four years, and started his career with the M’s on the right path. He hit 39 HR and drove in 121 RBI’s on the year.
But then it started happening. He started swinging at every pitch, all the while trying to put it over the fence.
His HR numbers declined, and by the time his last season rolled around, he was hitting around the Brendan Ryan mark.
Homeruns are nice and all, but for $50 million you had better be able to put the ball in play during the 25 at bats in between blasts.
So long and thanks for all the K’s Dick.
This one still stings for Mariners fans.
Eric Bedard was the feel good story of the year when the M’s dealt our entire farm system to the Orioles for him.
Once again the injury bug came to bite the Marines where the sun don’t shine.
But I think the biggest reason why this still smarts for us, well at least for me, is the fact that the star player in that deal is now an All-Star for Baltimore.
Adam Jones was the next player who was named “the next Ken Griffey Jr.” for the M’s. He had the speed, the glove and the bat to actually make that name stick for him too.
But instead he is now known as the next Paul Blair in Charm City.
Oh well, we got burned, we get over it right?
Rest easy M’s fans. If all the experts are indeed right, the future will be bright in Seattle. We have seen flashes of this this season. The wait will be worth the payoff I think.