When one thinks of the Seattle Mariners, there are a few prevalent thoughts about the team and organization. The first thing that usually comes to mind is that they have been in a rut for these past ten years. Unable to break into the playoffs in that time frame despite having more than a few talented players on their roster, many see Seattle as a lower-tier organization that just can’t get out of a funk.
Secondly, people really see the Mariners as a young team with tons of potential. From players just called up like Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino to potential superstars in Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and Tajuan Walker, Seattle appears to have the talent to contend in the future.
But despite all the future talent in the organization, people do see that there are a few veteran players who are either on their way out or looking to bounce back and prove they can still play at MLB standards. This year’s team is no different. Featuring quite a few players who have seen more than their fair share of time in the majors, the current veteran presence in Seattle will pay huge dividends in getting the team back on track and into the playoffs. Though it may not turn out to be this year (the Mariners are currently 10.5 games back in the AL West and still 8 games under .500), should Seattle keep a select few of the veteran players who are on the current roster, they could be back in the postseason in a year or two.
Today we’ll look at Mariners who were born in the 1970’s and their roles with Seattle moving forward.
Raul Ibanez – DOB: June 2, 1972
Raul Ibanez is one of the most well-recognized and well-respected players on the Mariners’ roster. Officially in his third tour with the team after spending time with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, he now sees himself playing some time in left field and some time at the designated hitter position.
Hitting .233 with 14 home runs and 34 RBI this year, he’s one of the better hitters on the team and has come up with some pretty big shots this year. As the team moves forward it’s a little unclear as to how Ibanez’s future will shake out. While he probably has one or two more years left after this season, he just turned 41 and may be considering retirement after this year.
Aaron Harang – DOB: May 9, 1978
A pitcher who has been off-and-on in 2013, Aaron Harang is one of the tougher guys on the roster to figure out. While he has been dominant in some of his performances and tallied two complete game shutouts this year, Harang has also given up eight runs, seven runs, and six runs in games this year.
I really don’t see any future for him in Seattle past this year, as the young guns in the minors should make their way to the majors by, at least, the end of this season.
Jasoy Bay – DOB: September 20, 1978
A few months younger than Harang, Jason Bay may have more of a future in Seattle than people may think. Coming to the Mariners in hopes of resurrecting his career, Bay has struggled but occasionally shown signs that he could still play at a high level. He’s got eight home runs this year and 17 RBI but still may be trying to find his true swing.
If he gets going towards the end of the year, I could see him lasting another year or two in the Emerald City.
Henry Blanco – DOB: August 29, 1971
It was a great moment to see Henry Blanco crush a grand slam in his first game with the Mariners, but, in all honesty, he doesn’t have a future in Seattle. Mike Zunino is already up and getting playing time and will be the key piece of the future.
If the Mariners do retain Blanco, it will be in a mentoring role with Seattle.
Endy Chavez – February 7, 1978
Maybe Eric Wedge is starting to see it as well, but I believe Endy Chavez is one of the better players on the roster so far. Batting .288 this year with two home runs, five doubles, 10 RBI and 13 runs, Chavez has probably been one of the more complete players on Seattle’s roster in 2013.
Hopefully the rest of the organization will decide to retain him after this year, as I believe he could benefit the Mariners significantly.