Now that the 2012 MLB postseason has started and already has it's twist and turns, one thing I can't help but realize is the amount of ex-Seattle Mariners who are producing for their ballclubs in October. What would the run-challenged 2012 offense look like if these players were still in Seattle? It's hard to say. However, one thing we do know is that their contracts would be far too pricy and it would also mean that players like Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager may never have been given the shot to prove themselves as legitimate major league hitters.
Now, Chris Chambliss has been fired as the hitting coach and a new era of young players are beginning to emerge on the scene, while still yet, others are waiting for their chance. And that means that a new hitting coach and a hungry group of hitters (coupled with a smaller Safeco) are wiling to work together in order to bring back glory to the name of Seattle Mariner baseball in the Pacific Northwest. In Z we trust!
With that being said, let's take a look at some of the top players who have continued to produce at a high level after their departure from Seattle (many of which were let go by Big Z's predecessor, Bill Bavasi). Let's get started:
OF: Raul Ibanez, NY Yankees. If you have been watching the 2012 postseason then you are well aware of the impact Ibanez has had on the Yankees throughout the ALDS. Ibanez pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez (hey, another ex-mariner) against the Baltimore Orioles in the 9th inning and ties the game with a long shot possibly leading to A-Rod's benching a couple games later, and then hit a walk-off dinger that same game in extras. His presence in that lineup has even led Manager Joe Girardi to bat him cleanup for the Bronx Bombers.
OF: Michael Morse, WAS Nationals. The Nationals lost a heartbreaker game 5 at home to those pesky Cardinals (much to the chagrin of their GM and his decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg), however, has proven themselves this year as contenders and into the future. Morse is player they will rely on to keep a strong presence in the clubhouse. He played for Seattle from '04-'08, batted .291 with 18 homers and 62 RBI's this season for the Nationals while even missing a considerable amount of time due to a mid-season injury.
3B: Adrian Beltre, TEX Rangers. The year before the Mariners signed Beltre in '05, he put up monster numbers for the Dodgers and nearly won the MVP that year. It was a longshot to get the slugging and sure-handed thirdbasemen, but the Mariners pulled it off and expected similar production given his propensity to excel in the middle of lineups. Needless to say, other than a handful of gold gloves, the guy simply didn't hit in Seattle. Some thought his time in LA was a fluke, that simply an average player had an extraordinary year at the plate, however, now that we have witnessed him put up similar numbers each of the past 3 years (2012: .321 BA, 36 HR, 102 RBI), we can now presume that it is actually his time in Seattle that was the fluke.
SP: Doug Fister, DET Tigers. Fister was one of those guys we thought couldn't throw hard enough to be an effective starter slotted in the number 2 role. Boy, is he proving doubters wrong. At one point this season, Fister punched out a MLB record 9 batters in a row and has been given the duty this week to take on the Yankees in the ALCS following last years Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Granted, the guy has learned from two of the best in Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander, however, he is out to prove his worth as simply Doug Fister: the guy who pitches with heart and passion and not with a flaming fastball. He wills his team victory in believing in himself.
CL: Rafael Soriano, NY Yankees. In Seattle, Soriano was no more than a solid set-up man and was under-utilized as a pitcher. The Yankees, however, saw an opportunity to snatch a strong arm who could learn from the best in Mariano Rivera (who's career may be coming to close.. stay tuned) and wait in the wings until it was his turn to take over. This season, he did just that. The reliable hard-throwing righty had 42 Saves and took over after injuries to Rivera and Nate Robertson. The Mariners had 43 Saves combined all of 2012.
I'd love to hear some more players I forgot of, I know there's more out there. Comment and Like on FB!
It's easy to pick and choose from players who are now producing and everyone is quick to point out shortcomings from GM's decisions. Anybody heard of Yuniesky Betencourt lately? My point is, the GM's job is a hard one and it's impossible to see in to the future regarding "promising talent" (Betencourt) or guys who simply couldn't hit at the time (Morse) and in order to be a fan we must be patient with the talent we have now and have faith that Zduriencik and Wedge know what they are doing with the squad. I believe in 2012 we saw a glimpse of what's to come and I like what I saw. It's only a matter of time until the 2013 M's are the 2012 Nat's or Rays of the recent past.
Believe in the plan and do not bail on them now. In a time of instant gratification it's definitely hard to see ex-Mariners produce for their clubs while the M's themselves were seriously scuffling. But believe me, their time will pass and the torch soon enough will be Seattle's for the taking.
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