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40 in 40: Steve Baron

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A few words about the Mariners' fourth catcher

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Writing about Steve Baron is a strange exercise because he shouldn't be here. He spent seven years in the minors, doing the things guys do when they spend that long in the minors, which is not much of anything. He's nondescript in every sense of the word. He looks like a generic Catcher Guy in a video game, or someone who would be mistaken for a more famous Steven if only he were ever to do anything to invite the confusion. He might never have been here at all, if Mike Zunino hadn't been sent down, or if the fallback options had included someone more inspiring than John Hicks. His lone highlights on Mariners.com are a spring training fly out against Dale Thayer

and a double play against the Rangers in September

He went 0-4 with two double plays in that game, one of only four games he appeared in last season.

Amidst Jerry Dipoto's frenzied moves this offseason, I expected that we would lose Steve Baron, either because we'd DFA'd him or traded him to be DFA'd elsewhere. Back in January, I signed up to write about him, half-expecting not to have to. He's a nice young man, polite and excited to be in the Show, eager for an opportunity that, after seven years, he may have expected to never come. He's last on the Mariners' catching depth chart behind recent acquisitions Chris Iannetta and Steve Clevenger. He even sits behind Mike Zunino, destined to see Safeco early only if something goes terribly wrong. He shouldn't be here, and for all intents and purposes, he might not be.

And yet he has somehow persisted, just useful enough, with just enough of a glove to hang around. A good 2016 for the Mariners means a bad 2016 for Steve Baron and vice versa. And so writing about Steve Baron is a strange exercise because he shouldn't be here and we shouldn't want him to be. Rooting for that kind of irrelevance feels wrong. He's not a bad kid. I'm sure his folks are nice. But I desperately want to forever not think of him. I want him to be on a diamond far away from here. Not because he's done anything notoriously awful, but because his presence here might mean we're notoriously awful.

And so writing about Steve Baron is a strange exercise. Because it is odd to think that the presence of someone who shouldn't really be here at all, who has done so little, might mean so much.