Once again, the Seattle Mariners baseball team does not find itself in the playoffs. But, among many fascinating details from a lengthy Athletic($) piece by Marc Carig and Eno Sarris on the culture of the Yankees and Brian Cashman, there was a somewhat confusingly labelled but fascinating graphic.
The meaning is to illustrate that more players who appeared in an MLB game in 2018 originated with the Yankees than any other team. You’ll note, however, that the Mariners rank 7th on that list. The diaspora of Mariners talent has long felt like a significant factor, and any Northwestern grouch worth their salt can list off bad deals that still linger. But there it is, laid out incontrovertibly: there are more Mariners and former Mariners out there than there are former players of most teams. That means, of course, there are former M’s who have made the playoffs this year! This year, to be specific, there are seven former Mariners still playing, and there were 12 in total on rosters for these playoffs.
We’ve already done a full piece on who we’ll be bandwagoning, but if you are the type of person who likes to see your old friends succeeding in their new lives, this may be for you. Conversely, if seeing former acquaintances thrive after leaving your circle of influence leaves you seething, you now have a checklist of who to root against, and perhaps some deep-seated issues. To the list!
Honorable Mention: Chicago Cubs - 2 (LHP Mike Montgomery, RHP Steve Cishek) & Oakland A’s - 3 (RHP Shawn Kelley, RHP Emilio Pagan, RHP Fernando Rodney)
The past couple games were a rough one for former M’s fans. The Cubs loss sent two fan favorites packing, and injuries kept RHP Brandon Morrow unavailable as well. Seeing the Athletics go home with their tails between their legs last night wasn’t necessarily unpleasant, but it did also mean the team most stocked with former M’s will be watching the rest of October from their couches as well.
8. Houston Astros - 0
The bane of the Mariners’ existence since they entered the AL in 2012, the Lastros return for this list, without the courtesy to include a single former Mariner on their playoff roster or their entire 40-man. They did, however, keep Roberto Osuna and name him their closer, leaving Héctor Rondón off the final 25. Neat.
7. Boston Red Sox - 0 (PROJECTED)
While every NL team has confirmed their roster by this point, only some of the AL squads have yet released their final 25. Still, we can all but confirm the Red Sox will not be offering us any former friends to cheer on. The BoSox don’t carry a single former Mariner on their 40-man roster, and the only one to see MLB play for them this year at any time was RHP Carson Smith, who sadly is on the 60-day DL with a shoulder sublaxtion. Boo shoulders, boo Red Sox.
6. New York Yankees - 1 (LHP JA Happ, PROJECTED)
Drawing from their Wild Card game roster, it seems all but certain Happ will be the lone former Mariner wearing pinstripes this October, if he makes it at all. Happ edged out C.C. Sabathia and Sonny Gray for a roster spot last night, but with just 11 starts this season it’s hard to know who will be preferred by the Bombers to accompany their death bullpen.
5. Atlanta Braves - 1 (C René Rivera)
The Mariners’ 2001 second-round pick rides again! Despite going hitless in his 4 PAs with the Braves this year after spending most of the season backing up Martin Maldonado with the Angels, Rivera will be the third catcher for the Braves in the NLDS. With Luiz Gohara on the 60-day DL, it’s only thanks to the late-season move for Rivera that the M’s are represented at all in ATL, but they are!
4. Colorado Rockies - 1 (C Chris Iannetta)
It’s perhaps telling that I mastered spelling Marc Rzepczynski on the first try, yet had to switch tabs twice to properly etch Iannetta’s last name. The 2016 Mariners’ Opening Day backstop performed like a serviceable backup for Colorado this season, which was unfortunate, as he was (and is) likely the best catcher the Rockies had/have. Between former Royals’ World Series backup Drew Butera and Wild Card game hero Tony Wolters, Iannetta is the best offensive option for the Rox, but his use may be situational.
3. Cleveland Indians - 1 (LHP Oliver Pérez)
The only former Mariner both older and with an earlier debut than René Rivera belongs to Cleveland. The eternally tricky Pérez was nearly a desperation play for Cleveland, who spent an entire season without a threat to their playoff spot, yet struggled mightily to find bullpen pieces they could trust. All Pérez did was turn in the best season of his career since converting from a starter in 2010. While his use has certainly leaned situational, a Cleveland pen with little more than a still-maybe-not-quite-right Andrew Miller and newcomer Brad Hand to trust will have to turn to Pérez at some point.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - 1 (SS/OF Chris Taylor)
A year after propelling the Dodgers into near-historic levels of dominance, Taylor retains a solid spot in the order. Despite leading the National League in strikeouts, bringing pop, walks, and passable defense at premium spots in the wake of a season-ending injury to Corey Seager makes Taylor a hearty contributor. The Dodgers won’t be bringing former M’s first rounder Josh Fields to the fold - a move that slightly surprises me but doesn’t seem to perplex those in L.A.
1. Milwaukee Brewers - 2 (RHP Freddy Peralta, LHP Wade Miley)
The pair above are quite a twosome to wrangle with for Mariners’ fans, but this list is arguably most notable for who it leaves out. 1B/DH Eric Thames did not make the cut for the Brewers’ playoff roster after an injury-shortened season that nonetheless projects for a roughly average season of production. Instead, Milwaukee will roll with Peralta - one of the pieces they received for erstwhile M’s 1B Adam Lind, and Miley, who inexplicably was one of the Brew Crew’s best starters. For as delightful as their lineup is, and potent their bullpen, the Brewers boast one of the worst rotations in playoff history, and bring Game 163 starter Jhoulys Chacin as their ace. Peralta and Miley aren’t great shakes either, but dammit, they were ours.
Get ‘em, Wade.