Yesterday, pitted against the last day of the NBA regular season and the first day of the NHL playoffs, Major League Baseball ensured some headline space of its own. This had almost nothing to do with the results in the box score, but rather with bench-clearing incidents in Colorado and Boston.
Here at Lookout Landing, we do not condone violence. It is a silly and childish way to settle differences. With that in mind, if you ever find yourself in a scenario where you must call upon a Mariner for protection, it would behoove you to choose someone from this list.
Spoiler alert: you won’t find many starting pitchers here. Short-haired Mike Leake gives off docile substitute teacher vibes, and Marco Gonzales looks like the one who always ran and found an adult whenever a fight broke out. Neither one inspires much confidence in a brouhaha, at least not to the same level that the following ten guys do.
10. Jean Segura
When the Mariners traded for Jean Segura in 2016, I knew that he was a nice player who had made an All-Star team and led the National League in hits. I did not know that he was low key jacked.
Should things get physical, I’d want Jean on my team for his versatility. No other Mariner checks the speed, power, and agility boxes like Jean, who packs a lot of punch into a compact frame. I can already picture someone stepping to Jean, throwing an ill-advised haymaker, and breaking their hand against his shield-like chest.
With a low center of gravity, muscles in places I didn’t know muscles could exist, and a nickname like Jean the Hitting Machine, give me Segura in any situation that calls for fisticuffs.
9. Kyle Seager
While he doesn’t cast the same imposing figure as some of his more herculean teammates, Kyle strikes me as a person who has a few killer finishing moves up his sleeve. Don’t let the good ol’ boy demeanor fool you. We’ve seen Kyle get ornery, and something about him growing up with two younger brothers tells me that he doesn’t take kindly to people trying him.
Kyle’s got some sneaky size to him (6’0”, 210 lbs.) not to mention incredible dad strength and paternal instincts. I imagine if the Mariners ever got into an on-field brawl, or any sort of street fight with rowdy hooligans, Kyle would be the one ostensibly keeping peace while secretly mixing in some kidney shots.
Manning the hot corner undoubtedly makes for A+ reaction times and hand-eye coordination too. Of all the current Mariners, the Gold Glove third baseman seems like the one who can most easily flip the switch from affable friend-of-everyone to fire-eyed fight champion.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his set of…um, how should I say this…developed hips, which should help him generate a lot of power from his lower half.
In an old school, bare knuckle rumble, you could do a lot worse than having Kyle Seager in your corner.
8. Félix Hernández
I don’t know if you guys knew this, but Félix has never pitched in the playoffs. He’s one of the best pitchers ever without a postseason appearance to his name. Bringing that up was not meant to spiral you into a pit of sadness, or pile on the Mariners’ franchise, but rather to remind you of the pent-up frustration Félix probably carries.
I would pay a handsome fare to watch Félix release that aggression on some poor soul. The thing that’s always drawn me to Félix is his expressiveness. This is why I’m so curious to see him in a scrap, where his trademark outbursts and gestures could translate into WWE-style performance art.
7. James Pazos
Pazos is my sleeper here. It does not seem wise to underestimate a 6’2, 235-pound athlete who unquestionably has a deadly left hook at his disposal.
Upon seeing this picture, our relief pitcher doppelganger expert Isabelle Minasian said “Pazos looks like someone forcibly smashed Sylvester Stallone and The Rock together and stuffed the creation into a gaudy plaid suit”.
Not only did Isabelle nail that description, she also created the most fearsome action hero of all time. Pazos is winning the fight by delivering a Rocky-esque punch and finishing his foe with a nasty People’s Elbow.
6. Mike Zunino
Any time I’m looking at a baseball team and trying to decide who the best fighter is – which is shockingly often – the first place I usually start is catcher. From Crash Davis to Ham Porter to Yadier Molina, catchers both real and fictional have clung to their no-nonsense attitudes for decades. I have no reason to believe Mike Zunino would be any different.
His Italian heritage instills a bravado that should help him carry out any personal vendettas he’s been holding on to. When I look at Z, I see a latent inferno begging to be applied to things other than hanging sliders. I’ll also never forget the passion with which Zunino defended Mike Montgomery in his big-league debut, berating an umpire for denying Montgomery a hard-earned strikeout of A-Rod. If he can get that worked up over a check swing, I shudder to think what he can do when physically provoked.
Through all his ups and downs in the batter’s box, trips to Tacoma, and doubts planted in the minds of the Mariner faithful, one constant has always remained.
Mike Zunino is (Probably) Good at Fighting.
5. James Paxton
JAMES PAXTON HAD A BALD EAGLE LAND ON HIS SHOULDER AND BARELY FLINCHED. HE SNICKERS AT YOUR LITTLE HUMAN FIGHT.
4. Juan Nicasio
His bulging arms are the stuff of legend, physically incapable of being restrained by regular person sleeves. He’s been around the block – several blocks actually – as he’s played in six different cities over an eight-year MLB career. His velocity sits in the mid-90s, which indicates that the big fella can throw both fastballs and hands.
There’s not much else you could ask for. Being a relief pitcher, he’s adept at getting hyped on short notice and entering high-leverage situations. Take into account that he made a full recovery from a head and neck injury that is “more often associated with an auto accident or perhaps diving into shallow water and hitting a rock”, and you realize that this man has all the requisite toughness and #grit needed to win a fight.
3. Daniel Vogelbach
We know that Vogelbach is a big, barrel-chested behemoth, and the adopted large adult son of every Mariner fan. Vogelbach also strikes me as the kind of dude who’s seen every Fast and Furious movie multiple times. I would not be shocked at all to learn that he can recite Vin Diesel monologues from memory. If this hypothetical fight were taking place in an action movie, Vogey already has a killer one liner ready to go.
“It’s not about proving others wrong it’s about proving yourself right”.. let’s do this— Daniel Vogelbach (@DanielVogelbach) February 17, 2018
Aside from undeniable physical tools, Vogelbach is also a Florida Man. You could tell me he trains in the offseason by bench pressing alligators and shot-putting cannon balls and I’d be like, “Yup, wouldn’t expect anything less.”
While he’s probably the most intimidating Mariner, and a no-brainer when choosing a fighter, I need to know Vogey is making solid contact when he comes in to back me up, which is what kept him out of the top spot here.
2. Dan Altavilla
Dan Altavilla looks like the human embodiment of a CrossFit gym.
Dan Altavilla looks like if you made an entire human body out of granite.
Dan Altavilla looks like a fullback who has zero interest in catching, running, or ever touching the ball.
Dan Altavilla looks like he eats steak dipped in protein powder for every meal.
Dan Altavilla looks like that kid from high school who was in two gym classes per semester.
Dan Altavilla looks like a guy who’s winning every fight.
1. Nelson Cruz
I mean, duh. The man literally responds to Boomstick.
Even in good ol’ fashioned hand-to-hand combat, without the help of his trusty baseball bat, I’d still trust Nellie to have my back. A 6’2”, 230-pound destroyer of worlds seems like a safe bet, right? I’m hoping Nelson can use his thousand watt smile to lull our adversaries into a false sense of comfort, then unleash some sort of hell storm to remind them that picking a fight with Nelson Cruz is an objectively horrible idea.
His rigorous offseason conditioning has Nelson prepared for any challenge life throws at him. Keeping a thunderous physique at 37 years old creates the perfect harmony of strength and wisdom. I know that Nelson will be both physically and mentally prepared, likely having years of experience over the opponent.
I am confident that his designated hitter role applies to both the baseball field and the battle field.