By Blaidd Drwg
At a Mariners game recently, I overheard a conversation about Alex Rodriguez and it got me thinking. Shortstop has been a black hole essentially since he left and I was wondering just how truly bad the Mariners shortstops over the last 11 seasons have been in light of Brendan Ryan’s sub 200 BA. The below chart, taken from the data on baseball-reference.com, contains the composite batting and fielding stats for all Mariners SS since 2000. The primary SS is the player who started the most games in a given season and DWAR is the fielding wins above replacement total (0 being replacement level, higher is better). I didn’t run the exact numbers, but the average season from the shortstop position for the Mariners since Arod’s departure is something like .254 BA, 6 HR and an OPS of .656. That is fine if you SS is batting in the Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers lineups, but not acceptable when you are in the Punch and Judy lineup the Mariners have trucked out there for the better part of the decade.
Let’s put it this way – the last time the Mariners had a league average hitter at SS was when Carlos Guillen was still young and playing almost every day. The Mariners have a ton of holes in their lineup right now, so SS is probably the least of their concern. There may be some help in the farm system if Nick Franklin can stay healthy, although I am not sure he is going to stay at SS long term, and if Carlos Triunfel can regain some of the promise he had a the Mariners top prospect a couple of seasons ago (both Franklin and Triunfel are under the age of 23, so there is a chance they might improve). Until then, I would love to see the Mariners get someone into the SS position who might be able to hit, just a little.