#2: Mike Cameron: 2000-2003: 4yrs/$17.75 million, 18.3 WAR, $49.81m Surplus, $12.45 surplus per season
I’m going to give you two sets of numbers to look at. They are both averages per season
- 141 games, 15 SB, 30 2B, 38 HR, 109 RBI, 100 R, .302/.384/.581, 6.8 WAR, 6.1 oWAR, 1.0 dWAR
- 152 games, 26 SB, 29 2B, 22 HR, 86 RBI, 88 R, .256/.350/.448, 4.6 WAR, 4.1 oWAR, 0.9 dWAR
The first one is Griffey (the numbers look a bit less because of the strike season, so his counting stats should be a tad bit higher) and the second is Mike Cameron. Cameron was never going to replace Griffey. It’s not something that can actually be done. He did do a worthy job of stepping in and providing the Mariners with a great hitter, a great defender, and an all-around great guy.
Oh, and it was at a fantastic price as well.
What Cameron brought to the team were All-Star level play and Gold-Glove Caliber defense. If you are going to be 2/3rd of anyone, being 2/3rd of The Kid is a pretty darn good place to be. We all know how good Junior was. Cameron was able to step in admirably. I’m not going to say we forgot about Junior, that just wasn’t the case. Nearly all fans were happy with Cameron and glad to have him.
He was a fantastic guy to have on the team, and you could see the love and joy he brought to the team. The smile was infectious, and it helped propagate a winning culture with the Mariners. He would win two gold gloves with the Mariners, an All-Star game, and get some MVP votes during the 2001 season.
All of us should be happy that we got to watch Cameron, even if it was only for four seasons. He was one of the most enjoyable Mariners that have ever been out there, and just so happens to have the second-best contract in team history.