We inch ever closer to the start of a new decade of Mariners baseball and we continue to build the best possible team of the 2010s. Today, we find our shortstop.
Thus far, building the Mariners team of the decade hasn’t been too difficult. We had an easy time crowning our catcher, second baseman, and third baseman. While first base wasn’t exactly filled with All-Star Candidates, we did land on a player with a balanced resume to stick there.
Today, we try to find our shortstop. But before we do, let’s just go over our self imposed parameters to kick things off.
First, you only need one game at the position wearing a Mariners uniform to be eligible for this list. However, only the stats accrued during your tenure in Seattle will be taken into account. Second, while our main focus is on statistical analysis, we do factor in memorable moments and “fan favoritness” as tie-breakers of sorts.
Finally, it really helps to have some longevity on your resume. Being around for 2 months doesn’t give the player much of a chance to make a long-term impact on the fan base, but it is possible. Now with all that in mind, let’s talk shortstops.
At the position, there is actually a decent competition for the spot. The 3 top contenders are Jean Segura, Brad Miller, and Brendan Ryan. In terms of fWAR, the leader is Jean Segura, who posted a 6.6 WAR in just 269 games.
In his time with Seattle, Segura posted a .302/.345/.421 slash line with 21 home runs, 171 runs, 108 RBI, and 42 steals. This all led to a 110 wRC+ and Segura was actually a solid defender at short. He also was the star of the “Send Segura” campaign, as Mariners fans flocked to the polls to send him to the All-Star game in 2018.
But the end of Segura’s run in Seattle wasn’t pretty. Manager Scott Servais called him out for not playing in crucial games thanks to a light shin bruise. He reportedly started a fight inside the Mariners clubhouse because he was upset his friend Robinson Cano hadn’t bee handed his spot at second base back after returning from a suspension.
These two incidents led to Seattle shipping him out of town, and after just 1 year in Philadelphia, there are talks that he may have worn out his welcome there. But on the field, Segura was rock solid.
Other than Segura, both Miller and Ryan had their moments. Miller, with his high sock look and wildly swinging legs, was always a tantalizing player who’s bat kept him in the lineup during his time at short. Defensively, Miller was below-average and he was known to throw the ball erratically.
Miller finished his time in Seattle hitting .248/.313/.394 with 29 homers and 22 steals. It was good for a 99 wRC+, finishing just below league-average.
Ryan’s value was almost entirely on defense, which did lead to a number of memorable moments. But the bat was so poor, most fans have sour memories of Ryan, so it just seems like he shouldn’t be on the list.
When factoring in all stats, memorable moments, and fan “favoritness”, it appears like we have our winner.
Mariners All-Decade Team Shortstop: Jean Segura
Yeah, there were problems with Segura in Seattle. But on the field, he was an above-average hitter and base-runner and at least an average defender. The off the field issues are hard to overlook, but not as hard as the offensive value he provided at the position.
It is a bit of a shame that Segura more or less shot himself out of town. He looked to be in a position to make himself the second-best shortstop in team history, (behind Alex Rodriguez) but it wasn’t meant to be.
But now, he finds himself playing next to his good friend Robinson Cano once again. So maybe, this time, he will be on his best behavior.