Long ago, the catcher position wasn’t a place the Mariners had to constantly worry about. That’s because from 1994-2005, Dan Wilson was the rock of the team with incredible defense and passable hitting. He was there for all four playoff appearances in franchise history, and he caught some of the best pitchers to every don a Mariners uniform.
Since Wilson’s departure, the Mariners have lacked stability behind the plate to say the least. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looked into the depressing situation since 2005 and wrote a brilliant blog post about it this afternoon.
The timeliness of such a post cannot be questioned, since the Mariners feel they finally have a long-term catching option for the first time since 2005 in Mike Zunino. In between Wilson and Zunino, 22 other players were on the M’s 25-man roster as catchers. Here are just a few of my favorites:
2. Yorvit Torrealba
I forgive you if you forgot he even played in Seattle at one point. He’s become a legitimately successful backup catcher in this league, and as Stone points out, went to two World Series (losing them both). He was the result of the trade of “Don’t come crying to me” Randy Winn to the Giants back in the day. Fun fact, Winn played basketball with Steve Nash at Santa Clara.
4. Wiki Gonzalez
He was the absolute worst. But at least he was the exchangee for Jeff Cirillo, who was only forgotten because of how bad Scott Spiezio was. If only Wikipedia had been popular in his day.
9. Rob Johnson
The “rally killer” was just that, a dreadful hitter with decent defensive skills who somehow stuck around with the team for four years. He even made 75 starts on the best Mariner team in years, the 2009 squad. Baseball, sometimes.
11. Adam Moore
I really liked Adam Moore. The guy seemed to have solid potential and a great attitude, and may have turned into a solid backup catcher even now. But he could not stay healthy whatsoever. The injuries just seemed to piggy back on each other, and now, according to Stone, he’s hitting .207 with the AAA Royals.
18. John Jaso
In last year’s stinker of a season, who didn’t love Jaso’s ability to go completely counter to the crappiness of the offense and actually post respectable OBP and OPS numbers? Also, one day when he wore sunglasses with his incredible facial hair, I dubbed him “Secret Agent John Jaso,” a name my brother still refers to him by, even though it makes no sense since that’s the only day I’ve seen him wear sunglasses.
21. Brandon Bantz
Bantz is almost certain to turn into a cup-of-coffee guy, and he only made one start in the week he was with the big club. He inspired one of the best nicknames in Mariners history though: Bantz a make her dance.
Hopefully, Mike Zunino is all that he’s cooked up to be, and we can look back on these 22 guys with some humorous appreciation for just how horrible this situation was.