Omar Vizquel played twenty-four years in the majors -five of them with the Mariners. The two players the M’s received in the trade that lost Vizquel combined for a total of three years played in Seattle.
The Mariners have a tendency to trade away talented players while they’re young.
Whether that’s Adam Jones, Dave Henderson, Shin-Soo Choo, David Ortiz, Derek Lowe, or Jason Varitek to name a few. [Sheds a few tears]
This trade isn’t much different.
Even though the two players the M’s received in the swap -middle-infielder, Felix Fermin and DH/1B, Reggie Jefferson- the pair of players had few productive years with Seattle, making a comparison to Vizquel’s talent laughable.
I remember it like it was yesterday, December 20, 1993. Seattle traded Omar Vizquel to the Cleveland Indians for Fermin and Jefferson.
During the previous season in 1993, Vizquel played in 158 games while only hitting .255 with a .319 OBP. He did have a 2.5 DWAR which was second best in the AL earning him a Gold Glove Award.
Vizquel was signed by the Mariners as an amateur free agent in 1984 when he was only sixteen years old. He is now regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops in history.
Vizquel is defense ranks second all-time with a .985 fielding percentage at shortstop. He is first in career games played at SS as well as double plays turned as a SS.
Also, a weird stat, Vizquel led the AL three times and the NL once in sacrifice hits during a season.
This trade is definitely more about what the Mariners lost for the next 19 years of his career.
What the Mariners got in return was a shortstop who was eventually replaced by Alex Rodriguez after a year and a half and then a designated hitter who was replaced by Edgar Martinez after a year, therefore making it tough for these two players to succeed in Seattle given the incredible players who were in line to replace them.
During his first season in Seattle in 1994, Fermin appeared in 101 games hitting .317 but only had a .4 WAR as he was not solid in the field that year with a -.5 DWAR -he had lead AL shortstops in errors committed the year before with 23.
In his second season he only appeared in 73 games splitting time with Luis Sojo at SS. Fermin hit a measly .195 that year with a struggling slugging percentage of .188 and ended the season with a -1.7 WAR.
Fermin was released the following April and subsequently was bounced around with a couple clubs before ending up playing two games with the Cubs near the end of 1996 the season.
He never appeared in another major league game after that.
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The other player the Mariners received in this trade was Reginald “Reggie” Jefferson. Originally drafted by the Reds in the third round in the 1986 amateur draft. He was traded to Cleveland in 1991 before this trade to the Mariners two years later.
In his one and only season in Seattle Jefferson only appeared in sixty-three games, thirty-two of which were at DH. That was because he missed the majority of the season with two stints on the DL with a pulled left hamstring. Nevertheless, he had a batting average of .327 and slugged .543.
He was a free agent after that season and signed with the Red Sox.
Vizquel, on the other hand, played eleven years in Cleveland hitting .283 with an overall WAR of 30. Vizquel won eight Gold Gloves and was a three-time All-Star with Cleveland.
He played eight more years after leaving Cleveland, winning two more Gold Gloves, the last of which was won in his final season in 2012 with the Toronto Blue Jays at the age of 45.
The Indians obviously won this trade; it’s not even close. Getting that kind of production for that long is tough to beat.
The Mariners could have used that sure-handed glove in their infield for the next nineteen seasons.