If the second baseman rankings were an odd list, then the third baseman one is making me realize that maybe eight-year-old me could’ve benefited a bit from modern analytics. There are a few guys from the 90s who I thought were okay, but Fangraphs doesn’t agree with that at all. There’s no argument about the top third baseman in Mariners history or even the second-best.
But… what about the rest of the list?
I think we are all about to get a history lesson today when we start looking at who missed out on the top five. There are going to be a decent amount of you (not a lot) that are able to sit and think for a moment about who the top-five likely are and end up being correct.
If you are able to guess most of the guys in that 6-10 range… holy cow, you would be either an incredible fan or have an incredible memory. Like the guys tied at #9, Rico Rossy, Justin Leone, and Doug Strange. They all had a 0.2 fWAR.
Rossy didn’t play pro ball from 94-97, came back with the M’s in 1998 to a sub 200 average with good defense, and that was it. Leone played a little bit in 04 in his first taste of the majors with a decent OBP and SLG, then bounced around other teams for a while. Finally, Doug Strange. He was here for two years, had an okay 1995 and a not good 1996. He had a slight resurgence in Montreal in 1997, was awful in 1998 in Pittsburgh, and was then out of baseball.
Dave Hollins (1.1 fWAR) and Jolbert Cabrera (1.2 fWAR) are next up. You might recognize Hollins. He was acquired by the Mariners in 1996 at the trade deadline and would hit .351 in 28 games. The Mariners traded away… David Ortiz. Cabrera was here in 2004, played the season as a super-utility with ~115 games, and hit .270/.312/.384. The Mariners released him after the year, and he would flounder in the majors before a brief stint in the majors in 2008.
Bill Stein (2.7 fWAR) is #6 and actually was the Mariners originally third baseman, playing there from 1977-1980. He was… just a guy. 0.8, 1.0, 0.5, 0.4 fWAR’s in his four seasons there. The Mariners would rotate through third baseman until finding #5, who would stick around for a while as the Mariners third baseman.
Before we get there though, there is someone we need to talk about.