Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All-time Seattle Mariners Bullpen/Bench

By Kshell

The past two days I've talked about the great Mariners hitters and starting pitchers in the franchises history. Well today I'm going to fill out the roster on the remaining 11 players. Now I did the roster like an all-star team instead of an actual team. If I had a real team I'd have great all around players like Mark McLemore. For my bullpen I would have included a long reliever instead of closers and set up men. I decided to go with five bench hitters and six relievers. So when you add it all up I would have 14 hitters and 11 pitchers on my staff. The bullpen will feature five of the six guys who pitched for the Mariners this decade proving how awful the Mariners bullpen was in the past. While the hitters has four of the five guys who played this decade as well. The Mariners although an old franchise will have just four guys on my 25 man roster who played for the team in the 1980's. So I hope you enjoy my bullpen and bench hitters. I'll start with the bench hitters first since hitting is cooler.

The Bench:

Jay Buhner - RF:

Career statistics as a Mariner: .255/.360/.497 . Had 1,255 hits, 307 HR's, 790 runs, 951 RBI's, 6 SB's

Career achievements as a Mariner: 1996 All-Star, 1996 Gold Glove, hit for the cycle in 1993, finished fifth in MVP in 1995

Best season: 1996 where he hit .271/.369/.557. Had 153 hits, 44 HR's, 107 runs, 138 RBI's

The Mariners once traded Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner of the New York Yankees. With that trade the Mariners landed their right fielder from 1988-2001. That trade also became famous in an episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza dad complained over the years about how the Yankees traded away Buhner. While for the Mariners Buhner brought plenty of clubhouse chemistry and remember was the guy who said screw the wild card in 1995. Buhner was also known for his Buhner Buzz cut nights and home runs. Buhner had a three year period from 1995-1997 where he hit 40, 44 and 40 home runs. Yes Buhner was an easy choice for my all-time Mariners team and if not for Ichiro he would be starting for sure.

Mike Cameron - CF:

Career statistics as a Mariner: .256/.350/.448 . Had 554 hits, 87 HR's, 353 runs, 344 RBI's, 106 SB's

Career achievements as a Mariner: 2001 All-Star, Two-time Gold Glove winner, hit four homeruns in one game in 2002

Best season as a Mariner: 2001 where he hit .267/.353/.480. Had 144 hits, 25 HR's, 99 runs, 110 RBI's, 34 SB's

When Ken Griffey Jr. forced the Mariners hand into trading him the Mariners brought back Mike Cameron. Cameron had the tough task of replacing a legend in centerfield. First week on the job Cameron robbed Derek Jeter of a homerun and he immediately won the fans over. The Mariners during Cameron's four years with the team won 90, 116, 93 and 93 games. Cameron was a huge part of that success with his excellent defense in centerfield and solid hitting. Cameron may have struck out some but he also had some power and speed. Cameron was also a good clubhouse hero and if this was a real roster obviously would be a defensive replacement in left field.

John Olerud - 1B:

Career statistics as a Mariner: .285/.388/.439 . Had 709 hits, 72 HR's, 353 runs, 405 RBI's, 3 SB's

Career achievements as a Mariner: 2001 All-Star, Three-Time gold glove winner, hit for the Cycle in 2001

Best season as a Mariner: 2002 when he hit .300/.403/.490 . Had 166 hits, 22 HR's, 85 runs, 102 RBI's

When the Mariners brought in John Olerud there was a big emphasis on defense. Olerud brought the defense to the Mariners and a solid bat. Olerud although didn't have great power was a doubles machine which fit in perfectly for Safeco Field. With Edgar Martinez and Olerud the Mariners used to chase starting pitchers out of the game after the fifth inning since both those two typically had OB% of over .400. Olerud was the ultimate pro for the Mariners as he never made excuses and I never saw him get mad. He was also a Washington State Cougar so he was a local guy as well. One of the few Cougars that every Husky fan had no problem cheering.

Kenji Johjima - C:

Career statistics: .268/.310/.411 . Had 431 hits, 48 HR's, 166 runs, 198 RBI's, 7 SB's

Career achievements: Fourth in Rookie of the Year in 2006

Best Season: His rookie season of 2006 where he hit .291/.332/.451. Had 147 hits, 18 HR's, 61 runs, 76 RBI's, 3 SB's

Every team needs a backup catcher and no offense to Dave Valle but Kenji Johjima was a better catcher. His final two years in Seattle were a disaster but his first two rivaled that of Dan Wilson's best seasons. Johjima some pitchers didn't like how he called a game but nothing was proven that he called a bad game other than some pitchers(Washburn) were ignorant. Johjima did provide power at the catcher position the team hadn't seen since Wilson hit 18 home runs exactly 10 years prior. Johjima may have only played four seasons but he did provide power and his 2006 season was the greatest season a Mariners catcher ever had.

Harold Reynolds - 2B:

Career statistics as a Mariner: .260/.326/.345 . Had 1,063 hits, 17 HR's, 543 runs, 295 RBI's, 228 SB's

Career achievements as a Mariner: Two-Time All-Star, Three-Time Gold Glove winner

Best season as a Mariner: 1987 when he hit .275/.325/.370 . Had 146 hits, 1 HR, 73 runs, 35 RBI's, 60 SB's

Back in the day second baseman didn't have power and teams often played small ball. For the Mariners the Medford, Oregon product Harold Reynolds was a perfect example of that. His career stolen bases almost equal his RBI total. His best season he ever had he had 25 more stolen bases than RBI's. Reynolds was a terrific defender and a great stolen base guy for the Mariners. He hit for a solid average but mainly was great at steals and playing defense. Reynolds also is the only member on my bench who played for the Mariners in the 1980's.

The Bullpen:

Now that I brought up the bench hitters I'll focus now on the bullpen. For my bullpen I will have four closers and two terrific setup men. On the 116 win team four of my six guys were on that roster which should tell you why that team won so many games. The bullpen cost the Mariners a potential World Series in the 1990's and that is because they traded away one of the guys on this list. Well I hope you enjoy my all-time Mariners bullpen which will have six members.

Kazuhiro Sasaki - RHP:

Career statistics: 7-16(.304),3.14 ERA, 1.08 WHIP. Threw 223.1 IP, 242 K's(9.8 K's per 9), 129 saves

Career achievements: Two-time All-Star, 2000 Rookie of the Year, recorded save in 2001 All-Star game

Best Season: 2002 he went 4-5, 2.52 ERA, 1.05 WHIP. He threw 60.2 IP, struck out 73 guys(10.8 K's per 9) and recorded 37 saves

The Mariners never had a good bullpen and especially in the 1990's they were horrible. When the Mariners brought in Kaz Sasaki he finally gave the Mariners a solid bullpen in 2000. Sasaki also had a big contract and walked away from eight million dollars in 2004 after he was injured in 2003. He was no longer the pitcher he was and did the honorable thing. From 2000-2002 Sasaki was the second best closer in the American League behind this guy named Mariano Rivera. In the 2001 All-Star game Sasaki also recorded the save. Once the Mariners got Sasaki instead of holding their breath in the 9th inning they knew the game was about to be over.

J.J. Putz: RHP

Career statistics as a Mariner: 22-15(.595), 3.07 ERA, 1.15 WHIP. Threw 323 IP, 337 K's(9.4), 101 saves

Career achievements as a Mariner: 2007 All-Star

Best season as a Mariner: 2007 he went 6-1(.857), 1.38 ERA, 0.69 WHIP. Threw 71.2 IP, 82 K's(10.3 K's per 9), 40 saves

When I think of J.J. Putz I think of two things: Fire and Thunderstruck. Putz showed his emotions and was what you think of as a closer. He was a big guy who was the leader of the clubhouse from 2006-2008. Remember when Ricky Vaughn in Major League didn't mess around and just threw the heater? Well that was Putz when he was in his prime he could just throw the heat. Putz had the greatest season any Mariners closer has ever had. He had a two year dominance in 2006 and 2007 where he struck out 186 guys in just 150 innings. Putz in a short time was a great closer for the Mariners and in 2007 there wasn't a closer who was better than him in baseball.

Mike Schooler: RHP

Career statistics as a Mariner: 12-29(.293), 3.30 ERA, 1.29 WHIP. Threw 267.1 IP, 232 K's(7.8 K's per 9), 98 saves

Best season as a Mariner: 1990 when he went 1-4(.200), 2.25 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Threw 56.0 IP, 45 K's(7.2 K's per 9), 30 saves

Mike Schooler proves why closers life span is so short. Schooler came onto the scene at the age of 25 in 1988 and by 1993 when he was 30 years old he was done with baseball. He spent five of his six seasons in baseball for the Mariners where he was primarily the closer. Schooler is my only bullpen guy who pitched for the team in the 1980's while the rest of my guys pitched in the 2000's. Schooler when he was healthy was the Mariners first great consistent closer for more than a few seasons.

Arthur Rhodes - LHP:

Career statistics as a Mariner: 28-16(.636), 3.05 ERA, 1.04 WHIP. Threw 283 IP, 315 K's(10.0 K's per 9), 9 saves

Best season as a Mariner: 2001 where he went 8-0(1.000), 1.72 ERA, 0.85 WHIP. Threw 68 IP, 83 K's(11.0 K's per 9), 3 saves

The Mariners had some bullpen problems in the 1990's and they solved those problems by signing Sasaki and Rhodes. Rhodes was the left handed setup man the team had never had before. Rhodes pitched for the Mariners from 2000-2003 and again in 2008. Rhodes was a veteran and in his 30's when he signed with the Mariners in the 2000 season and last year he made an all-star team for the Reds. For the Mariners they won a ton of games because they had Rhodes who can get those key left handed batters out late in the game. As you can see with the Mariners not only did Rhodes win a lot of contests but he had a low ERA with high strikeouts. That shows that Rhodes pitched in a ton of close games and could get out of many key jams due to his strikeout ability.

Jeff Nelson - RHP:

Career statistics as a Mariner: 24-23(.511), 3.26 ERA, 1.30 WHIP. Threw 447.1 IP, 471 K's(9.5 K's per 9), 23 saves

Career achievements as a Mariner: 2001 All-Star

Best season as a Mariner: 1995 he went 7-3(.700), 2.17 ERA, 1.08 WHIP. Threw 78.2 IP, 96 K's(11.0 K's per 9), 2 saves

No pitcher has pitched in more games in a Mariners uniform than Jeff Nelson has. Nelson has pitched three different stints with the team first from 1992-1995 then he was dealt to the New York Yankees along with Tino Martinez in your classic terrible Mariners trade. The Mariners brought back Nelson in 2001 where he made the all-star team. Nelson was key for that 116 win team as he was the primary right handed setup man in the seventh and eighth innings. Nelson again was traded to the Yankees in 2003 only to come back to the Mariners for one last stint for the 2005 season. Nelson was the classic guy that you loved when he played for you but hated when he was against your team. His fist pumps when striking out Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium used to get me excited. With Nelson he wasn't afraid to show off his emotion.

Norm Charlton - LHP:

Career statistics as a Mariner: 14-21(.400), 4.03 ERA, 1.33 WHIP. Threw 275 IP, 282 K's(9.2 K's per 9), 67 saves

Best season as a Mariner: 1995 he went 2-1(.667), 1.51 ERA, 0.81 WHIP. Threw 47.2 IP, 58 K's(11.0 K's per 9), 14 saves

Another Mariners pitcher who had three different stints with the team. He pitched for the Mariners in 1993 then was picked up off the waiver wire in the middle of the 1995 season. Charlton was amazing in 1995 as you can see and he pitched with the team through 1997 where he was horrible. It appeared Charlton was done with baseball but he signed with the Mariners again in 2001. In 2001 Charlton posted a 3.02 ERA and was the second lefty out of the bullpen on the 116 win team. Charlton was also great in the 1995 playoffs where he went 2-0, had two saves, pitched 13.1 IP, had an ERA of 1.35, 0.67 WHIP and struck out 14 guys. In fact in his career for the Mariners in the postseason Charlton is 2-0 with two saves. Has pitched 19 IP, 0.94 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and struck out 19 guys. Charlton was big time for the Mariners and is a big reason why Safeco Field is still around.

Well that completes my all-time Seattle Mariners team. I have my all-time starting nine, starting rotation and now I gave you the bench plus the bullpen. The all-time Mariners team is now complete which saw four guys who played mainly in the 1980's which means the other 21 guys were either in the 1990's or this present decade. Hopefully in a few years from now some guys on this current roster can be added to this all-time team. Just like some guys from this past decade were added to the all-time team. I'm sure there are some guys I left off that you might have put on. I hope overall you guys can agree with my list and most importantly remember the good times of the Seattle Mariners franchise.

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