We’re into the All-Star Break, the half way point of the season. Okay, it’s a little more than half way through the season. But let’s ignore that inconvenient fact and move on. You know how every time a player leaves the Mariners, they seem to get better? I decided to look at the roster changes from the 2012 season to the 2013 season and comparing fWAR I’ll briefly outline each player. This isn't meant to be super deep, just something goofy to look at and reflect those who were once True to the Blue.
Retired or Quit
Kevin Millwood - I’m not sure how everyone felt about old man Millwood, I thought he did a decent job in 2012, posting a 2 WAR season. If you watched any of his games, you were treated to the last season of a 46.9 WAR career, fun fact: Kevin has never had a negative season in terms of WAR. My personal high-light for him was witnessing the multi-pitcher no-hitter. Besides being an interesting game, the post-game interview was the best. I would describe his voice as thick molasses slowly oozing through the thick murky mud of the Mississippi.
Chone Figgins - Well, you knew this one was coming. What can I say that hasn’t been said before. He was awful as a Mariner, except his first season where he posted a 1.2 WAR after posting a 6.6 WAR on the Angels. His total contribution to the Mariners was a -1.1 WAR in 3 seasons. Still convinced he’d make it in MLB, he was cut during Spring Training by the Marlins. I suppose by not being on a team, he’ll post a 0 WAR season and tragically will become better.
George Sherrill - Like Figgins, Sherrill was forcibly retired. Unlike Figgins, Sherrill played so little for the Mariners, it was hard to have an opinion on him. But he pitched 2 games and posted -0.2 WAR. Fun fact: 2.5 of his 4 WAR career total was produced while being a Mariner. He was better here!
They Did Indeed Get Better
Munenori Kawasaki - He was a beloved Mariner, Not for his baseball skills, but for his intangibles. He became a hero to Blue Jays fans who watched a promising season bust in front of their very eyes. He from a -0.3 WAR in 2012 to a 0.6 with a Mune Moonshot, which would’ve crashed LL had it happened while he was a Mariner.
Mike Carp - There were some hardcore Carp fans last season, he had a great second half for 2011 and people hoped he could carry that success and maybe take over at first base. Due to injuries and being blocked at various positions, Carp only posted a 0 WAR in 2012. Now in Boston, where he is hopefully now Mike Cahp, he’s already posted 1.1 WAR, we’ll see if in the second half he can continue to produce.
Steve Delabar - Along with Wilhelmsen, Steve was part of the Life Affirming Movie Bullpen. He looked decent through most of 2012, though he had a bit of a dinger problem. Which is why it is hard to evaluate a relief pitcher. Anyhow, mid-way through the 2012 season, it looked like the Mariners needed more offense and he was traded for Eric Thames. Delabar pitched well enough for the Blue Jays to go from a -0.4 WAR to a 0.1. This year he is an All-Star and has posted a 1.1 WAR.
Too Early to Tell
John Jaso - I know this is a sticky point here on LL, I’m only looking at if a player has improved in terms of fWAR from the 2012 season to the 2013 season. Right now, Jaso looks about the same albeit with less power. Last year he posted a 2.6 WAR and right now he sits at 1 WAR. Could he top his 2.6 from last season? Maybe. Has he been more valuable than Morse has been? Yeah, 1 is greater than -0.3.
Ichiro - Probably the biggest change to the team in the last 5 years, having Ichiro become a Yankee was strange and surprising. But I think for a lot of us, it was relieving. He clearly had lost his magic and now was a mortal. While on the M’s, he was at 1.7 and finished the season at 2.4. He is now at 1. I think one good hot streak could get him to 2.4 for the season. Hard to say.
Shawn Kelly - I debated about putting him in the Got Better section because half way through the season he’s 0.1 better than the entire last season. But as I mentioned I’m dubious of relief pitcher value. I included Delabar in the other section mostly due to his All-Star selection.
Jason Vargas - On the surface, it looks like he’s improved already from last season. Though, he’s battling injuries right now. Missing all that time really eats away at his value. I hope he recovers, I always like Vargas. He has a odd charm to him. Last season he provided 0.8 WAR, right now he’s at 1.1.
Not Getting Better
Miguel Olivo - Olivo certainly wasn’t loved while on the Mariners. His time on the M’s was pretty much neutral posting 0 WAR. But it sure felt much more painful. He went on to play for the Marlins this season, posted -0.1 and went AWOL then was dropped. Now, he can spend his time with his grandchildren.
Luis Jimenez - He posted a -0.3 in 2012 and hasn’t played at MLB level yet. He’s having knee issues while playing AAA in the Blue Jays farm. I remember being excited for Wily Mo Pena 2.0. But sadly that never happened.
Casper Wells - I was surprised to learn he posted 1.2 last year. I remember him being really streaky (weren’t they all?) and had figured he was somewhere in the 0.2-0.7 range. You all know the Wells saga, he was dropped, picked up, dropped, picked up and then pitched. I know I’m not alone in wondering where baseball will take Casper. He hasn’t been all that useful this season in terms of numbers. -0.4 WAR but if he becomes some kind of super utility OF/RP that’d be interesting.
Brandon League - I’m sure none of us miss League. He was annoying. He managed to improve slightly after joining LA, going from 0.3 to 0.7 to end the season. He now annoys people in LA and is sitting at -0.7.
Looking at it listed out like this, it appears a few players got better. A few disappeared. A few got worse. So far the detritus was only one team's treasure and for the most part the Mariners have dry tubs with babies still in them.