Seattle Mariners: The sad parallel between Freddy and Felix
By Josh Maduell
For those Mariner fans who were born – or started following – after 2003, here’s the rundown.
Former Mariners pitcher Freddy Garcia was the club ace for a couple years. Being involved in the deal that saw Randy Johnson’s departure in 1998, Garcia’s name was already pretty relevant in Mariners lore.
Then Freddy began to hold his own from just “one of the guys traded for Randy.” In the historic 2001 season, he won 18 contests with four complete games. He had the pleasure of being an All-Star in front of his home fans that same season. He was the club’s ace.
But in 2002, he still won as many as 16 games but his stuff began to leave him. His earned run average that season was 1.34 points higher than the previous, allowing 28 more earned runs than in 2001.
2003 was Freddy’s last full season as a Mariner before being traded away during the summer of 2004. Freddy went from ace to batting practice. There were a handful of starts where he was shelled by opponents and the offense had to try and bail him out on a nightly basis. Even when they scored double-digit runs during a few of his starts, it was barely enough.
I personally found myself dreading Freddy’s starts and turned a couple of them off early to do something else. His rope as a Mariner was over and he lost his stuff. Hitters figured him out and jumped on the opportunity.
That has been a similar vibe with Felix this season. I lost count of how many times I thought, “Let’s score a lot of runs for Felix.” Wait, that doesn’t sound right. For years, our fan base has wanted the offense to give Felix support. The reality is that Felix is not the same fellow who perfected the Rays in 2012 and started the All-Star game in 2014.
The sad parallel between their declines is that they gradually fell from aces to number five starters, from the rotation’s strongest to the weakest link. Most of their starts went from automatic wins to occasional dumpster fires.
The big question now is will Felix overcome this rough patch? Or is this not a rough patch whatsoever, and this is just who Felix is now? Fans, remember the good ol’ Felix because he was something else.