#3 – Jason Varitek – C – Rd. 1 Pick 14 in 1994
Unfortunately for M’s fans, arguably the best catcher in a generation never played one inning for the Seattle Mariners. Jason Varitek was one of top prospects in baseball in 1997, but his path to the big leagues was blocked (and rightfully so) by Dan Wilson. Seattle opted to package Varitek with Derek Lowe and trade them to the Boston Red Sox for Heath Slocumb. This trade serves as yet another reason for M’s fans to weep into their pillows every night.
Varitek spent 15 seasons in Bean-town, slashing .256/.341/.435 with 193 home runs and 757 RBI. He was elected to the All-Star Game three times, and is still lovingly referred to as “the captain” by Red Sox nation. Varitek led the Sox to two World Series titles, and played a key role in them breaking the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ in 2004.
The Georgia Tech alum’s best years were between 2003 and 2005, when he hit .283 with 65 home runs and 228 RBI. Varitek was a gifted defender, and he took home a Gold Glove award following the ’05 season. The Mariners interviewed him for their managerial vacancy this past offseason before settling on Scott Servais, and it’s likely Varitek will be a skipper before long.
Dan Wilson is one of my favorite players of all-time, and I think Seattle made the right decision in who to keep and who to trade. However, it would’ve been nice to see the Mariners get more in return for such a productive player.
Next: Number 2