The Mariners GM, Jerry Dipoto, made a ton of changes this off-season to add speed, defensive ability, and pitching, but he also acquired four new players that have already won a World Series title. Could these four new Mariners with old rings help the team win its first title? Or at least help the Mariners to their first playoff birth since 2001?
When the Mariners GM brought Jarrod Dyson, Carlos Ruiz, Marc Rzepczynski, and Chris Heston to Seattle, he wasn’t just bringing talent to the Emerald City, he was also loading the M’s roster with past World Series champions.
On the 2016 M’s 40-man roster, the team had two former World Series champions: Robinson Cano and Nori Aoki. It just so happens that they traded away just as many players that would go on to win last year’s title with the Chicago Cubs: Mike Montgomery and Joel Peralta.
As one theory goes: having more players on the roster that have already won it all will help the team have better post season mojo.
Now, of all of the four new additions that have won a World Series, only Carlos Ruiz has played in more than one championship duel. He would play an important role as catcher in the 2008 and 2009 World Series.
Ruiz won in his first World Series appearance racking up six hits in 19 at-bats, driving in three runs and drawing four walks. His play behind the plate and at it helped the Philadelphia Phillies run over the Tampa Rays in five games.
None of those six hits were bigger than his game three walk-off dribbler that brought home the winning run from third base.
The next year, the Phillies returned to the championships matchup, but this time ended up on the wrong side of things, despite Ruiz’s play. The catcher went 6-18 with one home run, two doubles, two runs driven in, and drew five more walks. The Phillies would lose out in six games to the New York Yankees who won their 27th title that season.
Two years later, reliever, Marc Rzepczynski, would find himself in the biggest series of the year with the St. Louis Cardinals. His four outings were pretty flawless as he went a total of 2.2 frames, striking out four men, and surrendering no free passes.
His clutch outing in the 8th inning of game six kept the Cardinals in the game. The birds would storm back in the late innings to steal a win eventually coming out victorious 10-9 in 12 frames.
Three years later, two of the newest Mariners would be on opposite sides in the World Series.
Chris Heston, would not participate in the series, or any post season game that year, but he had played his first three games at the tail end of the 2014 season in a San Fransico Giants uniform, but, he still got a ring after the Giants bested the Kansas City Royals in seven games.
Jarrod Dyson, on the other hand, would play a slightly more prominent role in the epic series, but only took to the batter’s box 10 times over four games, twice coming in at the 6th frame as a defensive replacement for Nori Aoki.
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Dyson mustered just two hits and drew one walk, but as seen in the video clip, he made a spectacular diving catch to keep the Giants from bringing in the leading run at the time in game four.
The Giants would go on to dismantle the Royals 11-4 that night, but for that brief moment, Dyson played the role of hero.
Whether their impact was big or small in their respective World Series’, being part of the momentous, pressure-packed final series shakes one’s nervous differently than any other games all year long.
These four men’s presence on those squads, feeling that feeling, making plays in those scenarios prepares you for mentally for many of the tough mental challenges that come along in big game situations.
The hope is that Dyson, Rzepczynski, Heston, and Ruiz can all prepare the Mariners that haven’t made in that deep in the post season for the tests they will surely face with this playoff and World Series-caliber 2017 team.