I’m not sure we totally need saves. They seem to exist mostly as a way to give relievers counting stats beyond innings and strikeouts, while also providing a way to determine how much money closers deserve. But on the flip side of that, a guy can only really get to 30 saves if he plays for a decent team. The save is perhaps more reliant on team success than any other stat, and it sometimes leads to completely forgettable pitchers handling the closer duties on atrocious teams.
The Seattle Mariners are mostly an atrocious team. They didn’t have a pitcher record 30 saves in a season until 1989, their 13th year of existence. The guy who’s second in franchise history in career saves was only a Mariner for three seasons. He appears on this list twice, once for a season that I’m pretty sure we’ll never see again. One of the guys in the top ten of career saves (who led the team in saves in 1994 and 1995) is among the most hated men in team history. There are also a few beloved fan favorites, one of whom straight up quit professional baseball seven years before he’d lead the M’s in saves, and one of whom recorded 75 percent of his Mariner saves in one season.
From 1999 to 2003, the Mariners had five straight seasons with a foreign-born player leading them in saves. From 2009 to 2014, the team leader in saves had at least 24 of ‘em, which had never happened in any five-year span before or since. The final bit of information I’ll leave you with: Seattle didn’t have a reliever make the All-Star team until 2001 (!!!), but since then they’ve sent six relievers to the Midsummer Classic.