Originally written January 04, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
What if? For the sake of sanity, this list will confine itself to recent memory. Sure, it would have been remarkable for Seattle to have Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr. for the entirety of their careers, but that accomplishment would have been rare for the best organizations in baseball. Below are some of the great “What ifs” for the Seattle Mariners. What if Ichiro Suzuki had signed elsewhere? The thought of “something out of Star Wars!” (Miss you Dave Niehaus) going to another team is nearly unthinkable. The way the fans accepted him and his style defined Seattle baseball for a decade. Most of these “What if” scenarios are frustrating and less fun to think about, so starting with the blessing of Ichiro from Japan is a positive note. What if the Mariners had signed Prince Fielder? Count me in as someone who likes Jack Zduriencik and what he is doing from the inside-outs of the Mariner’s organization. But time after time, and offseason after offseason with unfulfilled promises is beginning to hurt. This year it was Josh Hamilton, last year it was Prince Fielder, and there have been names circulating for years. Fielder is the one that stings the most. How far behind did this guy actually set this organization back? (Photo: Seattle Times) Understandably, the Tigers may end up hating his long, 9-year contract with tons of money, but it is already turning a profit in Detroit with a World Series appearance this year. Fielder would not have taken the M’s to glory last season, but it is incredibly possible his numbers would have helped the team win and capitalize on young players with a power bat in the lineup. What if Bill Bavasi was never the Mariner’s GM? Where to begin on this one? We could start with the farm system and how well it was producing players, until Bavasi began trading all of them away. Here are some names of players traded before getting their major league call ups: Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Shoo Choo, and Rafael Soriano. Oh, and we should probably include one of the worst trades of all time. A 5-for-1 player deal that brought Erik Bedard to Seattle and sent bright, young stud CF Adam Jones away to Baltimore. Bedard was coming off a career year, and those numbers were never matched again. Am I forgetting some names? Yes, names like Adrian Beltre, and Richie Sexson were signed to big contracts that didn’t exactly work out. My favorite part of the Bavasi era? Jeff Clement and the third overall pick in 2005. I understand that not every draft pick works out, but here are the names of players that went after Clement in the first round: Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, and Jacoby Ellsbury. The 2005 first round had 9 all-stars, and the third pick resulted in nothing! This section may be worth writing a book on some day, stay tuned for that. What if there were no Rally Fries? The late 2000’s would have been impossible to sit through without them. 100-loss teams do not attract much attention, but the reality that one lucky fan per game would receive garlic covered French fries for merely holding a sign kept the M’s relevant past the 4th inning. This article was not fun to write at all. It would be better if the “What if” list could have included a bad inning in a playoff game or a blown save to win the division, but it doesn’t. Here’s to 2013 (and the years following) having more regrets from better teams. Cheers. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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