Jason Varitek is such old news. Let’s not pick that scab, OK? Oops. Too late.
How about instead if we start with Munenori Kawasaki. Little Papi, Kawa, Tigger, may just be heading for the playoffs with the Cubs at age 35 after a season mostly spent in freaking Des Moines. We wish you the best, man. You made us smile. Update, Kawa misses the cut for the Division Series.
Speaking of playoff-bound…
Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles. Oh my God they were traded for Erik Bedard in 2008, and Steve Clevenger in 2015, respectively. Bedard went through injuries and mediocre seasons, leaving in 2011 and spending parts of four seasons with the Red Sox, Pirates, Astros, and Rays, before fizzling in the Dodgers farm system. Jones is a five-time All Star and four-time Gold Glover, and that other guy in the trade, pitcher Chris Tillman, went 16-6 for the Orioles this season and is set to start the Wild Card game against the Jays. Clevenger, a minor league lifer, blew his career on Twitter. Trumbo simply led the league in home runs in 2016.
Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers. Choo went to Cleveland for Ben Broussard in 2006, another great move. Are you kidding me? Broussard played his last MLB game in 2008. Choo is still chugging after 12 seasons in the majors with a lifetime .280 average, and he’s in the playoffs with the AL’s winningest team.
Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays. So convoluted… Smoak bats .202 in 80 games in 2014, gets released and picked up by the Jays. The same year, Saunders goes .273 and gets, stay with me now, gets traded to the Blue Jays for Happ. Happ proceeds to win only four of his 20 Mariners starts before being sent to Pittsburgh for Adrian Sampson. Happ then returns to the Jays last spring and leads the team to the playoffs with a 20-win season. Sampson (remember Sampson? Me neither.), the only gem the M’s have left from the whole debacle, got one appearance in 2016 for the Mariners, 4 innings of work, giving up 4 runs.
Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers. After five years in Seattle, the man who appeals his own checked swings was granted free agency in 2009. Since then he’s been top-15 in MVP voting every year, a four-time All Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and a two-time Gold Glover. After 19 seasons in the majors, he has a legit shot at a ring. Awesome.
Mike Montgomery, Chicago Cubs. The rookie threw two complete-game shutouts for the M’s in 2015, but apparently he was only worth one 6’0″, 250# Dan Vogelbach at the trade deadline in July 2016. Vogelbach contributed his .083 average in eight game appearances for the M’s. Good judgement or bad, Monty’s headed for the playoffs with the only team in the majors to go over 100 wins. Good luck, young man.
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox. Yes, it’s a stretch, but Big Papi was a Mariner. Signed as an amateur free agent at age 17 in 1992, he went to the Twins four years later for Dave Hollins. But it gets better than that. The Twins released him after the 2002 season. Again, everyone together… the Twins released David Ortiz. 2003 began a 14-year run with the Sox in which he was a ten-time All Star and finished in the top ten in MVP voting six times. Plus, oh yeah, those three World Series titles. At age 40, which he thinks might be his final season, Ortiz batted .315 and finished the regular season leading the league in doubles, RBI, and slugging percentage. That is a hell of a run. To answer the trivia question, and you know it’s popping around in your head, the man who went to the M’s in 1996 played in only 28 games that year, moved on to four other teams before taking his last major league cuts in 2002, and is now a scout for the Phillies. Hollins has a son, Bubba, in the Tigers organization.
Rene Rivera, New York Mets. You want to see perseverance? The man who was drafted in 2001 at age 17 out of Puerto Rico, put up a .227 average in just 53 games for the M’s over 2004-2006, and was cut by seven different teams in the next ten years, including twice by the Twins (familiar story?), is a 2016 playoff game starter for the Mets. And he’s still only 32.
Abraham Almonte, Cleveland Indians. For sure one of the speediest Mariners outfielders we’ve ever seen, he came to Seattle for Kelley, and after just 52 games in a season and a half, went to San Diego for Denorfia. The same Denorfia who has since been cut by the Mariners, Cubs, Yankees, and Giants. In just two years. Hmmm. Abe, we hardly knew ya.
Shawn Kelley, Washington Nationals. Traded for Almonte to the Yankees, he went to the Padres, where he was cut last winter and picked up by the Nationals. All he’s done there is contribute his 2.64 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 80 K’s in 58 innings pitched. Just a cog in arguably the second-best (behind the Cubs) pitching staff in the NL. There’s one that just plain got away. Bummer for the Mariners, good luck to Shawn.
Carson Smith, and Roenis Elias, Boston Red Sox. Looks like neither will see the playoff roster in 2016, but at least they each had a cup of coffee with the Eastern Division champs. These fellas spent 2014 and 2015 looking like the waves of the future for the M’s, Smith racking up 13 saves (though blowing five, hmmm…) and Elias starting 29 games in his rookie year. A couple amazing stories, too. Smith, the imposing 6’6″ youngster with a wicked sinker in the mid 90s. Elias, who got out of Cuba in time to get signed as a free agent by the Mariners. And in return, oh the tangled web. Wade Miley, who stayed a half season before wandering off to the Orioles. And Jonathan Aro, who put up a 2.48 in 24 games at Tacoma.
Justin Ruggiano, New York Mets. In thirteen seasons since being drafted, Ruggiano has been under contract with the Dodgers (twice), Rays, Astros, Marlins, Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, and Mets. He did not make a playoff roster, and played only nine games in the majors in 2016, hanging on in the game he loves. Gotta have respect for this guy.
Chris Taylor, LA Dodgers. In June of 2016, we got Zach Lee from the Dodgers. Lee spent the rest of the year going 0-9 for the Tacoma Rainiers. Taylor busted into LA with a salami on his first major league home run. As the season progressed, reality struck, and even though the Dodgers are relying on youth to carry them with seven rookies on the postseason roster, Taylor isn’t among the chosen. Still, the man has promise and we wish him well.
Wade Miley, Baltimore Orioles. So we get the guy from Boston for Elias and Smith, then we apparently don’t like that Civil War General beard so much and we send him to Baltimore for Ariel Miranda. Maybe not such a bad thing. Miley went 2-5 down the stretch for the Birds; Miranda 5-2 for the M’s. But the Orioles made the playoffs anyway, and the M’s didn’t, so go figure. General Miley, though, does not appear on their Wild Card Game roster.
Joaquin Benoit, Toronto Blue Jays. Fondly known as “Jack Benoyt” by one local sportscaster, Benoit has allowed one earned run in 23 innings pitched since joining the Jays. He was traded for Drew Storen, who has gone a perfect 3-0 for the M’s. Maybe a good deal all around.
Jesus Montero, Toronto Blue Jays. The man we got for the diabolical Michael Pineda in 2012, who looked done-for over an ice cream sandwich two years later, who didn’t get cut by the M’s until a year after that… still has a baseball life in the Jays organization.
So what happened to the guys who so recently were the twinkling starry future of the Mariners… along with Saunders and Smoak, what about Brad Miller, Dustin Ackley, Logan Morrison? Jesus Montero?
Remember? Sure, we remember when it was cool to walk along Poster Row in front of Safeco Field and see their names, like a little league team roster with pictures…
Brad, Michael, Logan, Kyle, Dustin, Justin, Justin,
…which sounded a lot like what the fans were saying inside. The whole promising pack of them just couldn’t do much for the hometown team, and after a couple years most fans had had enough. As we know from our bibles, there is only one Jesus, and that’s all we’ve got left here in Seattle. Plus Kyle, and he’s looking more like a savior these days. But here we go now, in order of those posters along Dave Niehaus Boulevard…
- Brad Miller, Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This hyped up young man gets drafted in 2011, major league debut in 2013, all glorious expectations placed on his young head, and he clunks into a .248 in three seasons here, including a tiny .221 in 2014, and that’s when you started hearing the “Jesus, Jesus” after his name in the stands. Finally he’s shipped off to Tampa, where he suddenly bats… .243. Well he’s consistent. Still lookin’ for that groove. We got ourselves Boog Powell in the deal. No, not that one. This Boog Powell. Really, Herschel Mack Powell. Plus Nathan Karns and C.J. Riefenhauser.
- Michael, having a great time in the playoffs.
- Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay. After four years with Florida, he came to Seattle to be the first baseman we’ve always wanted… and it looked like that might happen, except for that pesky .225 average. So off LoMo went with Farquhar and Miller, leaving a horde of broken hearts in their wakes.
- Kyle Seager — yep, still here, and the cream of this bunch. Drafted in the third round in 2009. Something good’s cooking in that Seager kitchen. Kid bro Corey is in the playoffs with the Dodgers and is a hot candidate for Rookie of the Year. But I digress…
- Dustin Ackley, New York Yankees. Gotta feel bad for Ackley. He goes to Yankee Stadium in pinstripes and ends up with a season-ending injury. He was batting .148 for the Bombers in May of this year when he dislocated his shoulder diving back to first on a pickoff attempt. Following surgery, Joe Girardi says “we’ll see him in Spring Training ready to go.” That sucks. Meanwhile, and again, stay with me now… For Ackley, their 2009 first-round pick, the M’s got Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez from the Bombers. Neither are with the club today. Flores went to the Brewers for Luis Sardinas. Sardinas went to the Padres for a player to be named later. Ramirez — if you’re keeping up, you’ll remember Ramirez — went to the Braves for Ryne Harper. Harper spent the whole 2016 season with AA Jacksonville, appearing in 42 games and throwing 68 innings with a 2.51 ERA. Promising as that may be… seven years after taking Ackley with the second overall pick… just goes to show ya. Would you really want to be a baseball GM?
- Justin, Justin, Jesus… all under contract with teams in the playoffs. Only Smoak will likely see action, strange as that may seem.
- Jesus Sucre, still with the Mariners. It’s fun to call him “Sweet Jesus,” but that’s not just sacrilegious, it’s incorrect. Sucre means sugar in French, not Spanish. And it’s a monetary unit in Ecuador. And for God sake, it’s the state where Jesus was born in Venezuela. So that’s all funny and what not, but what’s not funny is his .480 BA in just 25 at-bats for the big club in 2016. His contract is up. Do we hang onto this one last Jesus?
A-Rod, New York Yankees. A ten-time All Star, three-time MVP, five-time home run leader… all after leaving Seattle as a free agent before the 2001 season.The Nintendo folks just didn’t want the bidding war, which sent him to Texas, who later traded him to the Yankees for Alphonso Soriano. Thje same Soriano who in 2015 ended up back on the Yankees with A-Rod. Say what you will about how the M’s didn’t need him in that 116-win season after he left; drone on about his alleged PED use. The man still hit more home runs than Willie Mays. Plus, the M’s had A-Rod when he was cool. He was young, happy, a joy to watch. A freak of nature. And we only had him for five full seasons after that iconic “I love you too man… but you’re not gettin’ my Bud Light” with Joey Cora. And be happy. With the money they saved by not paying A-Rod, the owners got…
Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins. His bio says he’s 42, but nobody really knows… he’s getting to Satchel Paige status. He’d lost a step by the time he left Seattle (a trade trail that began at Danny Farquhar and dead-ended on Steve Clevenger) but in his much-hyped 2001 American debut he was AL batting champ, MVP and Rookie of the Year. He followed that up with another nine consecutive All-Star seasons, threw in another batting title, and led the league in hits seven times. And think about his durability… in eleven-plus seasons with the M’s, he missed only 33 games, playing in 1844 contests and leading the league in at-bats eight times. Think about that. Will he retire from the Marlins this year? More to the point… will he wear a Mariner ball cap in the Hall of Fame?
And if you’ve read this far, here, in no particular order, are the rest of those guys you’re wondering about, still loving the game enough to keep on playing, still drawing a paycheck, which is more than they’d get with the Ross Eversoles…
Doug Fister, Houston Astros. The good news here is the M’s got Charlie Furbush, who hasn’t been sensational either but it sounded cool to say “Furbush & Farquhar.”
Luis Valbuena, Houston Astros. Batted .260 this year, with 13 homers and 40 RBI. Another long convoluted tale, but after a ho-hum rookie season playing in just 18 games, Valbuena went to the Mets in a 3-team deal that also sent J.J. “Thunderstruck” Putz to the Mets, and netted some familiar names like Mike Carp and Endy Chavez, both now retired; puppy dog-eyed Jason Vargas, and current Mariner Franklin “Death to Flying Things” Gutierrez.
Speaking of Carp, I was at a Mariner game about 2010, six years after Edgar Martinez retired. Carp was the DH that day and I looked at my daughter, avid adult Mariner fan, saying, “can you imagine, this is what we’ve come to. That stirring in the blood, that quickening of the pulse, knowing something great is about to happen, when the announcer says, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, now batting for the Mariners, the designated hitter…’ and you’re ready to jump up and shout ‘Eeeeeed-gaaaaaarrr,’ then you hear, ‘Mike. Carp.’ and you can hear that balloon of anticipation just hissing around the stands.” Of course as soon as I said this, Carp ripped a double to right field, driving in a couple runs just like the DH is supposed to do. Also worth noting, among all the second guessing about Mariner management doing everything wrong and trading the wrong guys, the Red Sox actually paid the Mariners cash money for Carp before the 2013 season. In the next three years, Mike was released by Boston, Texas, Washington, LA, and Baltimore. Baseball-reference.com doesn’t show him playing or under contract in 2016, and he’s only 30 as I write this. But there may be a Ross Eversoles out there for him somewhere.
Michael “Diabolical” Pineda, New York Yankees. A 22-year-old rookie, 6’7″, 260 lbs., takes the town by storm and his slider immediately gets this nickname right here. God, how we loved the power, the youth, the ultimate potential, ten, maybe fifteen years of domination… then Niehaus dies, and Pineda gets traded to the Pinstipes for The Jesus. No, Jesus Montero. Really. Who got cut, so we got nothing. And Pineda has struggled with one injury after another, horrible for him and just a bad sign for our boy Ackley. Remember Ackley?
John Jaso, Pittsburgh Pirates. We had him for just one season, and the memories are of a guy who couldn’t help just stepping up there to pinch hit in the ninth inning and rapping that walkoff hit. Might not have been that way, but this backup catcher made it seem that way. We sent Josh Lueke off to the Rays for Jaso, then a year later we sent Jaso off to Oakland in another three-way trade that ended up with the return of Mike Morse. The A’s sent Jaso to Tampa Bay, who cut him, and he was picked up by the Pirates. But think about this for a second… coming over to the A’s in trade with Tampa was Ben Zobrist, who’s now starting with the Cubs in the playoffs.
Mike Morse, Pittsburgh Pirates. Yeah, after all that, Morse and Jaso were teammates for the first three weeks of the 2016 season, before Morse got cut. During his first go-round with the Mariners from 05-08, there was just something cool about seeing a 6’5″, 245-lb. guy playing shortstop. Second time around, in 2013, he played in the outfield over half a season before an August trade to Baltimore, who cut him after the season, for Xavier Avery, who’s played in the minors for the Mariners and four other teams in the three years since. In the midst of Morse’s traveling ways, it was kinda cool seeing this raggedy-looking ex-Mariner get that World Series ring in 2014 with the Giants, right? Even though they cut him loose too, the day after the championship parade?
Fernando Rodney, Miami Marlins. This guy, this hat-on-sideways, fake-arrow-shooting, sensation who just blew too many saves and pissed off too many people to stick around town, gets sent to the Cubs in August 2015 for “cash or a player to be named.” That means you’re pretty much worthless, as it does when the Cubs toss you on the scrap heap after the 2015 season. But does Rodney, staring at his 39th birthday coming up the next March, say screw it and drift home to his native Dominican Republic? Nope. He signs with the Padres in February 2016 as a free agent. He proceeds to… now you gotta suspend disbelief here… he proceeds to throw 25.1 innings in 25 appearances through June 19, without giving up an earned run. Let’s all think about this together now… It’s so hard to comprehend. But by the time this guy, the 39-year-old who got run out of our town last year, gave up his first earned run for the Padres, it was June 21. He was appearing in his 26th game, earning his 15th save, and his ERA ticked off of 0.00 to 0.34. That’s insane. More insane than that? Nine days later, the Padres dumped him like an aging wife for a 20-year-old Marlins prospect. So in less that 12 months, Rodney wore four different major league uniforms and saw three of those teams give up on him. How cool would it be to see him back with Miami next spring, at age 40, goofy smile and ball cap still making us laugh, making hitters swing and miss?
Kendrys Morales, Kansas City Royals. Yes, there’s a ring on that finger. The M’s gave up Jason Vargas to get him from the Angels in 2013, and dumped him at the end of the season. Then they gave up Stephen Pryor to get him back from the Twins in 2014, and dumped him again at the end of the season. This time the Royals snagged him and didn’t let go. Morales played in all 16 postseason games for KC that year, including the clinching victory over the Mets. Yeah, we got Nelson Cruz. But we still haven’t seen the postseason in fifteen years. And Kendrys has a ring.
Chris Young, Kansas City Royals. Check out that ring. It matches Morales’. The Mariners let him walk, too. Nothing in return, just granted him free agency and let the chips fall. So the big fella, 6’10” 255-lber, goes to KC, throws three frames of extra-inning relief for a Game One victory that set the tone for an amazing World Series championship, and gets re-signed by the Royals for 2016. See that, M’s? You freaking re-sign the good ones.
Danny Farquhar, Tampa Bay Rays. Put this in your memory banks for that trivia game at the Spring Training party next February. You’ll have one of those, right? “Hey man, who’d we get for Ichiro?” Yep, for an aging oddity at the leadoff spot, a guy soon to surpass 3,000 hits even though he started his career in his late twenties, yeah, for that guy, we got Danny’s three-year pitching career with the M’s. 2014 saw him rally for a 2.66 ERA in 66 appearances, but that number nearly doubled the next season and poof he was gone, packed up in a bundle along with LoMo and Miller. We get Karns, whose ERA rivaled that hot air balloon of Farquhar’s before he got injured; Powell, who’s buried in the minors; and Riefenhauser, who went with Trumbo to the Orioles for… yeah. Clevenger. <<Click that for more.
Jason Vargas, Kansas City Royals. The man with the Basset Hound eyes went to the Angels for Kendrys Morales, which, uhhhh, worked fine until we dumped Morales. Twice. And they both ended up on the Royals. Sadly for Jason though, he was a three-game postseason starter in 2014, picking up a victory in the ALCS, but the next summer he was 5-2 with a 3.98 ERA in nine starts when he ended up with Tommy John surgery. He was watching it all go down when his Royals won it all, and he wasn’t back on the big league roster until over a year later. No word on whether his early season efforts won him a 2015 ring.
John Hicks, Detroit Tigers. Remember that Bill Withers tune, Keep On Using Me, ’til You Use Me Up? This guy gets drafted in 2011 by the M’s, plays parts of two ho hum seasons in AAA in 2014 and 2015, finally gets the September callup for 34 plate appearances in 17 games, bats .063, and gets dumped. They take all that time leading him along for four years, then instead of sending him down and saying see you in February, they dump him. The Twins pick him up off waivers in December and dump him in April. The Tigers nab him and he spends the year, at age 26, rolling on the team bus with Erie and Toledo waiting for that next September callup, which does com, and he plays in one game all month, going 1 for 2. Then the season ends, and as Bart Giamatti said, he’s left to face the fall alone. The life of the ballplayer. At least he’s not playing for the Ross Eversoles.
Austin Jackson, Chicago White Sox. It was a three team trade with others involved, but essentially the man with two last names came to the M’s in 2014 for Nick Franklin. On the surface that looked pretty good. We got a guy who led the majors in triples in two of his four seasons in the majors, batting .277 in the leadoff spot. We gave up a guy who was batting a robust .128 and struggling to find himself. Two years later, Jackson is long gone, BA and durability dropping with each stop along the road. Good news, his last trade didn’t make him relocate his home and family. He went from the Cubs to the White Sox.
Nick Franklin, Tampa Bay Devil Rays. And I’m going to keep calling them Devil Rays. That .128 average with the M’s? Give a kid a break here. With a little focus in the minors for the next couple years, Nick finally got back nearly full time with the Rays in June of 2016 and went .270. Meanwhile Jackson’s on a downhill slide. Once again, the joys of the GM.
James Jones, Texas Rangers. This young man came up to the M’s in 2014, one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen in the outfield and on the bases. He hit a solid .250 as a rookie in more than half their games, but dropped to, um, yeah. .103 in 2015. The recollection of Willie Mays Hayes just got a little stronger. Off he went to the Rangers, now get this, off he went along with Tom Wilhelmsen for Leonys Martin. Martin was awesome, and Wilhelmsen came right back after the Rangers tossed him. Meanwhile Willie, I mean James, languished all of 2016 in AAA Round Rock. Texas. Oh Lord, please.
Logan Kensing, Detroit Tigers. Wow. After that discussion about Kawa, sticking it out at 35 and spending the season in Des Moines… check this guy out. Kensing has spent parts of nine seasons in the majors. He’s 33 years old. He’s been traded by the Marlins, then tossed on the trash heap by, count ’em, the Nationals, Devil Rays, Yankees, Pirates, Rockies, Mariners (twice), and White Sox. Released or “granted free agency,” which at this level essentially means “go ahead and find another job, because we’re not interested in your puny price tag,” eight times. Then in December, 2015, he got another contract with the Tigers, pitched three games in April, 2016, and spent the rest of the season in, oh man, Toledo. Kudos to this guy. You know the baseball’s gripping him, not the other way around.
Dominic Leone, Arizona Diamondbacks. Just an offhand question here. Would you rather be in Phoenix, sweltering on an endless patch of flat-ass freeway and pitching for an awful team against big-league hitters, or in Reno, enjoying the night life and helping your team to a winning record against guys who aren’t quite ready for the Show? Not like Dom really has a choice, but you get the picture. And you gotta wonder about the mindset. He packs a 2.17 ERA and goes 8-2 in 57 appearances for the M’s in 2014, his rookie season. Next June, after struggling with his sophomore year, he gets traded for Mark Trumbo and ends up in f***ing Mobile Alabama. I mean what the hell. By 2016, Reno must have looked damn good.
Mark Lowe, Detroit Tigers. No, not Derek Lowe, he’s the other Lowe that got away, winning postseason games with the Red Sox and Big Papi while we sat around looking for that Heathcliff Slocum voodoo doll. Naaa, this Lowe spent half of 2015 here, appearing in 34 games and putting up a 1.00 ERA, say what? Why the hell did we let this one go? Wait, what, we let him go twice? Yeah, we sent him to Texas in 2010, along with Cliff Lee for God’s sake, for among others, Justin Smoak. In a span of less than 24 months, Lowe was then dumped by the Rangers, Dodgers, Angels, Nationals, Devil Rays, and Indians. At which point the Mariners sent him to Toronto for Jake Brentz, Nick Wells, and Bob Rasmussen. Nope, I haven’t heard of those guys either. Rasmussen retired, the other two are still in the minors. So we dump the 1.00 ERA and get nothing. Yet. Maybe. That’s baseball.
Lucas Luetge, Anaheim Angels. The ever-ballooning ERA got ever more worrisome over parts of four seasons, and finally the M’s set Lucas free. The Angels grabbed him, sent him to Salt Lake City, and forgot about him. Wouldn’t you rather be forgotten in Reno?
Yoervis Medina, Philadelphia Phillies. This one’s really hard to fathom. The M’s draft him at age 17, follow him, support him, and mentor him through four seasons in Venezuelan league, and finally bring him to their US farm system in 2010, at age 21. Three years later, he finally makes his debut with the big league club, and over the next two-plus seasons he appears in 141 games and puts up a 2.82 ERA. Ten seasons under contract with the same club, all the way from callow youth to solid vet. It doesn’t happen often, and it’s awesome when you see a young man succeed after such mutual loyalty and dedication. Right? Sure. Off to the Cubs in May of 2015 for Wellington Castillo, as if we even needed a catcher, which apparently we did not. Yoervis appears in only five Cub games before getting sent to the minors, released, picked up by the Pirates, traded to the Phillies, sent to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and released again just over a year after leaving the Mariners. What a crock. Think about that one. Ten seasons with the same outfit, you are loving life in big league ball at age 26, then one day Lloyd McClendon calls you into his office. A year and a ton of heartbreak later, you’re released by the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Just sit there and think about that.
Welington Castillo, Arizona Diamondbacks. This guy found himself way the hell off Route 66, but still he passed through for just six games on his way from Chicago to Arizona. Came here for Medina, left for Vidal Nuno, they wanted a catcher who could hit, not Zunino… catchy, huh? The Diamondbacks threw in Trumbo too, remember 2016 Home Run King Mark Trumbo? With the Orioles? …after he left Seattle? Castillo went on to have a decent year with Arizona in 2016, and just ejected the dregs of that deal in Steve Clevenger. Great move guys. Just don’t forget Winona.
Rickie Weeks, Arizona Diamondbacks. Milwaukee dumped Rickie after twelve seasons (see Yoervis Medina), the Mariners signed him and tossed him again along with his .167 average in midseason 2015. He didn’t get another gig until winter, and he ended up with a couple hundred plate appearances for one of the worst teams in baseball.
Brandon Maurer, San Diego Padres. A big raw talent at 6’5″ and 230, Mao-er-the-first-r-is-silent is one of those swashbucklers you just want to see pitch well. But after two seasons of a 5.58 ERA, the M’s thent him thouth for Theth Thmith. At which point he spent the 2015 season going 7-4 with a 3.00 ERA. Smith came to Seattle and put up two straight .248 seasons at the plate, and – check how the circle just comes back on itself – Maurer ended up in the Padres’ 2016 closing role after… yep… Fernando Rodney got traded, putting up 13 saves late in the season. Maurer’s still young. just 26. Looks like a good move on both sides.
Erasmo Ramirez, Tampa Bay Rays. Remember Mike Montgomery? Mike Montgomery of the Chicago Cubs? The only remaining ex-Mariner still playing as the 2016 World Series begins? The M’s sent Ramirez and his ever-climbing ERA (3.36, 4.98, 5.26 in three seasons) to Tampa for an untested rookie as 2015 Spring Training wrapped up. All Montgomery did in his major league debut season was to start 16 games and throw two complete-game shutouts. Looked like an amazing perceptive move until we sent Montgomery to Chicago, waited for what/whom we’d get in return, and took a look at Dan Vogelbach. Sorry dude, I know you’re someone’s boy but you are nobody’s little boy any longer. The only thing little about 6’0″, 250#Dan Vogelbach is his .086 batting average. And conventional wisdom says Vogelbach’s coming back in 2017. Back to Ramirez, that ERA dropped again as he started 27 games in 2015 and went back to a relief role in 2016. Still… we had Montgomery… dammit.
Chris Denorfia, San Francisco Giants. After four straight seasons hitting a solid .271 or higher for the Padres, Denorfia’s numbers took a major dip in the first half of 2014. San Diego did what any team would do… they thought “I bet the Mariners’ll take him!” and sure enough. They got Almonte, we got Denorfia, who managed a sullen .195 in just 32 games. In less than 24 months, he was then cut by the Mariners, Cubs, Yankees, and in August of 2016, by the Giants. Hey man. You’re 36 years old. It might be time…
J. C. Ramirez, California Angels. How many guys can say they’ve come back the next season to face the team that tossed them? Probably a bunch. But how many come back the next season and face their old team with two different squads, one from each league? J.C. had a two-month cup of coffee with the M’s in late 2015, then pitched against them five times in 2016, once with the Reds and four more times with the Angels. Overall he pitched in 70 major league games.
Joe Beimel, Kansas City Royals. Most recently released in July of 2016 by the Royals, and currently not active, Joe’s just here because this is an awesome story. Beginning in 1998, Joe Beimel was signed, then released or granted free agency by the Pirates, Twins, Devil Rays, and Dodgers. In 2009 he was signed by the Nationals, who traded him to the Rockies, who cut him again after that season. Since that time, and keep in mind some of these happened in the winter/Spring Training time only, Joe Beimel has been signed, then dropped, by the Rockies for a second time, the Pirates again, Rangers, Braves, Mariners, Rangers again, Mariners again, and Royals. That’s fourteen hi-how-are-yas and fourteen see-ya-laters in eighteen years. Fourteen times wondering if this is the big break, fourteen times packing your stuff and shaking hands, fourteen times just at the major league level.