2010 has sucked. The Red Sox got a version of Beltre we had only dreamed of, the White Sox saw Declining Rios transform into Super Rios, and the Twins are watching Liriano try to win a Cy Young. The Mariners got, what, Jason Vargas and Doug Fister showing the world they might stick around in the back end of a rotation for a few years? Hey look, Michael Saunders is third of M's position players in WAR! ...with a .315 wOBA. No, we didn't get any magical, miracle seasons from unsuspecting heroes. We didn't even get to see something cool like Jose Bautista lead the league in home runs just a year after being traded for a PTBNL.
So to celebrate a season of disappointments, I'm going to count down my 5 most disappointing Mariners of 2010.
I never expected Bradley to be a superstar like he was with Texas, but I certainly expected him to wOBA something like .340. Instead, we got sub-.300 wOBA Bradley. Since 2002 he has never had a lower walk rate, a higher strikeout rate, and none of the power he lost last year has returned. When Bradley was a premium hitter he was a patient batter who didn't strike out all too much, made solid contact, and could even steal a few bases and knock a few homeruns out. The contact skill has taken a nosedive, and now it looks like the best we can expect going forward is something like a league average hitter, hoping he regains some of his lost walks, strikes out a bit less, and gets on base at a .350 clip. I don't think I'm the only one who's slightly disappointed at the lack of non-baseball incidents, either. But all-in-all, it's hard for me to be too disappointed because hey we got him for a few million bucks and got rid of Silva in the process.
You tricked me, Ryan. You fooled me into coming into 2010 thinking that you were something more than a #5 starter. I honestly thought you limited walks just enough and struck out just enough people to be something that almost resembles average. I like you, Hyphen. I like you the person, the personality, the guy who responds to both his fans and his foes on Twitter in a classy way. But I don't like watching a pitcher with a HR/9 higher than his K/BB. I thought you would be able to hold down the fort after Lee and Felix pitched, making series sweeps with you three going seem relatively easy. Go back to being a reliever, and see if you can strike people out again, because it's just not working having you as a starter and I have zero confidence that you'll put up even one good outing this season.
I was always a bigger fan of A-Rod, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, and then even liked Mike Cameron more than Griffey. I can understand the ridiculous love that people have for this guy, but the expectations at the ballpark seemed a little too high. He wasn't going to save the Mariners again, and for those that came to the ballpark to watch "The Kid" play one more time, they were probably going to be disappointed. But there was that chance he would put that swing on the ball one more time, that beautiful swing Seattleites have grown to love, the swing some say is the prettiest lefty swing ever, and hit one more home run. He did that successfully in 2009, hitting a HR more often than once every 13 at bats, and he pleased a lot of fans even if he was just a replacement level player. In 2010 that all fell apart. He went from replacement level DH to a player who catch up to a fastball any more in a hurry. Maybe he still pleased some fans this year, but it's hard to watch when a guy grounds out to the right side more often than Kotchman, can't play a defensive position, and has less homeruns than Eliezer Alfonso. I didn't like that he came back in 2010 because I thought we could win and a replacement level DH doesn't help us win, but I didn't expect this.
2. Jose Lopez
If Lopez wasn't having his best fielding season since he started eating Doritos, he would be a negative WAR player in 2010. After consistently being a 2 win player for a couple years and seemingly making a smooth transition to 3B, it seemed he was going to turn from an average player to an average player with versatility! That doesn't mean much, but it's fun and I thought maybe it could increase his trade value. Instead, his trade value went from something to negative by putting up the same slash line he did in 2004 as a rookie except with less power. Lopez would be higher on this list if he ever gave me the impression he was hard worker or intelligent, but returning to rookie form was beyond what I had imagined.
I was really excited when we signed Figgins; premium defender, .360 career OBP, and running wild. The embodiment of Angels baseball and the most annoying guy on a roster of annoying guys. Well, that's one thing that hasn't changed, and that's why he's #1 on the list. The walks are still there, but he's not driving the ball with any authority. He doesn't need a ton of extra base hits to be a successful hitter, but he does have to hit the ball hard enough to keep it out of the reach of defenders. A singles hitter who walks a lot, runs a lot, and plays good defense is incredibly entertaining. A hitter whose fly balls are always outs and is grounding into double plays at a ridiculous rate is incredibly frustrating. Oh yeah, and the defense is gone, too. Hopefully Figgins will turn things around once we dump Lopez and move him back to third. Even with this incredibly disappointing season, I have more faith in Figgins than Lopez going forward. But for the fact that Figgins went from 6.1 WAR to below replacement in one season, he wins the most disappointing award. Congratulations, now stop being shitty.
Brandon League - Stopped throwing his best pitch, and the other Brandon is now really good which makes this one more annoying.
Jack Wilson - I hated the deal at the time, and he's turned out to be shitty. Now will you guys agree with me that we should have gone with Scutaro?
Jack Zduriencik - Texeira is better than any of our relievers, awful roster decisions to start the season, dumping Byrnes prematurely... He might be on the top 5, but this post is about the players primarily.
David Aardsma - You weren't supposed to regress this hard.
Ian Snell - I was really excited when we traded for him because I've always kind of followed the Pirates and was aware of his pretty great 2007... 2009 tempered that excitement, and 2010 killed it.