Four Mariners who couldn’t stay healthy

Mariners' Mitch Haniger walks back to the dugout while carrying his bat. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Mariners' Mitch Haniger walks back to the dugout while carrying his bat. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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The history of the Mariners is one that is filled with promising players who never reached their peak because of injuries. Today, we look at just 4 of these examples.

1. Mitch Haniger

First up is current Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger. Mitch made an immediate impression of his first month with the team. Opponents couldn’t keep him offbase. Unfortunately, his momentum was killed pretty quickly as he went down with an oblique injury that same month and was never the same in 2017.

That same summer he had the pleasure of taking a Jacob deGrom pitch right to the face and the poor guy couldn’t catch a break in his inaugural Mariners season. The end of 2017 was good overall with a .282 average but he was at a different level pre-oblique injury and didn’t even reach 100 games played.

2018 was more like it. He played almost a full season worth of games. He added an All Star nod on top of it and if you round up, he essentially finished the season with 30 homers and 100 RBI’s. Mitch was the unsung team MVP and was still in the shadow of teammates Nelson Cruz, Edwin Diaz, and Jean Segura. Yet Mariner nation saw what this guy could do if healthy.

Since then we haven’t seen much of Mitch. He was sidelined most of 2019 and played only 63 games due to a “male” injury. And the fun never stops with his core issues this year. Things continue to not look up as Jerry Dipoto said “we don’t have a timeline for that” regarding his 2020 debut.

You’re a fun player to watch Mitch, we just haven’t seen a lot of you during your tenure. Speedy recovery, man.

2. Franklin Gutierrez

SEATTLE – SEPTEMBER 20: Franklin Gutierrez #21 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field on September 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 10-2. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
SEATTLE – SEPTEMBER 20: Franklin Gutierrez #21 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field on September 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 10-2. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

After being traded for J.J. Putz in 2008, Guti made an immediate impact in Seattle in his first series with the club. At the start of 2009 against the Twins, he made an unreal diving catch that brought up flashbacks of Mike Cameron. He was clearly team MVP during his first two seasons and was who you wanted at the plate for any game-changing opportunity.

Injuries weren’t an issue during those first two seasons as he played over 150 games for both. But afterward, he became the Mysterious Mariner. He simply couldn’t catch a break. He spent five more seasons with the team and didn’t break 100 games played once.

He played only 140 games from 2011 to 2015. That is correct, Guti missed all of 2014 due to gastrointestinal issues. He had bad luck in every organ it seemed.

Did anyone else find themselves forgetting Guti was even on the team? And his missing 2014 was critical because who knows what offensive difference he would have made after just missing the playoffs? He and Cano together could have been a killer combo.

3. James Paxton

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 29: Starter James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 29, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 4-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 29: Starter James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 29, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 4-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

Oh Paxton, how you are missed. From your 16-strikeout performance to a no-hitter in the same season. The Big Maple had all the workings of an ace, except the durability. When healthy, Paxton was a deep-innings and strikeout machine. Yet every season was “what if” with him. Injuries bounced off the guy left and right.

Fans only saw 26 combined games from Paxton in 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, in 2017, Paxton developed an AL award curse. After winning Player of the Week for April, he hit the IL with a forearm injury. And after taking home AL Player of the Week and Month overall that summer, he injured his left pec.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, Paxton was joined by every other starter to suffer injury bugs in 2017. 2018 was better regarding his health as he tossed a then-career-high 28 starts. Yet Big Maple still remained friends with the IL as he was placed on it once again midsummer.

Having not much better health luck as a Yankee, one can’t help but wonder if the injuries were the primary reason our once-promising ace was traded away.

4. Pokey Reese

SEATTLE – JUNE 4: Pokey Reese #3 of the Seattle Mariners sits in the dugout during the game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on June 4 2005 at Safeco Field in Seattle Washington. The Mariners won 6-5. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE – JUNE 4: Pokey Reese #3 of the Seattle Mariners sits in the dugout during the game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on June 4 2005 at Safeco Field in Seattle Washington. The Mariners won 6-5. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

It’s true, Mariners fans. The only Mariner photos you can get of Pokey Reese are of him sitting down. Because Pokey only “played” one season with the team, saying he struggled to stay healthy is inaccurate. Pokey couldn’t even get healthy. The hope was that he would represent the 2005 infield between Adrian Beltre and Bret Boone.

That Bill Bavasi idea sure backfired as Reese didn’t play a single freaking game while Boone was cut that summer. Bye-bye middle infield! Or in Pokey’s case, not even a hello. For Pokey Reese, his last season ever played in the MLB was that prior one as a champion with the comeback Red Sox.

Next. Mariners don't need to dump salary. dark

For anyone who does remember Pokey, his throw to first base cemented the 0-3 comeback in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS. Unlike the first three players listed, no one missed Pokey because there was nothing to miss.

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