As we continue to unveil our Mariners all-time roster, we head to the middle of the diamond and try to dissect perhaps the deepest position in team history. From (Julio) Cruz to Cano, second base is a fascinating position.
Since the beginning of M’s franchise history, second base has been home to several excellent players.
The inaugural campaign introduced the fan base to speedster Julio Cruz. He anchored the position for parts of six seasons, stealing 43 or more bases in each year with the Mariners (1978-1983). His career success rate was 81 %.
Cruz combined his masterful base running and slick glove to set a shining example at the position. After a two-year transition period, Harold Reynolds took the mantle as the speedster second baseman. Harold put the ball in play, using his speed to wreak havoc on defense.
After a bleak period at the position in the 1990’s, which was anchored by fan favorite, Joey Cora, the real battle emerged.
Brett Boone burst onto the scene and from 2001-2004, Boone averaged a .289/.349/.501 slash with 30 Home Runs while winning three Gold Gloves, albeit while under suspicion of PED use.
But, Bret Boone is not our second baseman and neither is Julio Cruz, Harold Reynold or Joey Cora. In the closest vote we had, the honor goes to the current Mariners second baseman, Robinson Cano.
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What makes Cano the best second baseman in franchise history? His track record prior to joining the Mariners, his accomplishments the past 3 seasons with the Mariners, and based on the latter two, what he is expected to do going forward.
Cano will likely be with the Seattle Mariners until 2023. By that time, there won’t even be a debate. His wRC+ of 130 is already higher than Boone’s career 116 wRC+.
In 3 seasons with the team, Cano has averaged .299/.355/.479 with 25 homers and 88 RBI. Let’s not forget that he played the final five months of 2015 with two sports hernias.
Cano also has been incredibly durable, averaging 158 games played in his three years in Seattle. Did I mention he had two sports hernias in 2015?
Cano has also maintained a solid glove in the field and is responsible for the most “wow” plays since Ken Griffey Jr. If momentum counts for anything, Robinson Cano is about to put all other second baseman to shame.
In 2016, Cano slashed .298/.350/.533 with 39 homers and an fWAR of 6.0. In fact, since 2010, Cano has had just one season with an fWAR less than 5. It was in 2015, and as you may recall, he played most of the season with 2 sports hernia injuries.
Honestly, Robinson Cano is headed towards the Hall of Fame, and if he sticks around another 7 years, it could be as a Seattle Mariner.
Do you agree or disagree with our selection? Do you think we robbed someone truly deserving of this honor? Let us know either in the comments section below or Twitter at SodoMojoFS