As you move around the infield for the Mariners, there isn’t a lot of reasonable debate about who the greatest is. Sure, you can have little ones at third if you want to talk about Beltre being an all-timer, or how Edgar should be counted. You can argue Boone vs Cano at second. Maybe you want Olerud over Davis.
Even throughout the lists, there just isn’t much wiggle room. Guys seem to fall into tiers, and you can go from there. If you’re stubborn and don’t want to separate favorite from greatest, there will also be arguments, but as Samuel Clemens said…
"“Never argue with an idiot. You’ll never convince the idiot that you’re correct, and bystanders won’t be able to tell who’s who.”"
When it comes to shortstops though, hopefully, there will be some good and appropriate discussion. Not for the top shortstop (should be obvious), but for two through five. I feel that when things are close, that’s when you can put a bit of favoritism or personality into the argument.
Before we get to those top 5 though, we need to look at the guys who just barely missed the cut.
Danny Tartabull (2.1 fWAR) was a nice young SS for the Mariners, but they traded him away after a couple of seasons. They could’ve used him for 1987 and 88, but Omar Vizquel came along in 89, so it’s not all bad.
Craig Reynolds (2.3) was the Mariners first shortstop and second all-star, making it in the 1978 season. He played well that year, hitting .292/.336/.374, but was traded for Floyd Bannister to bolster the Mariners pitching staff. He would do quite well in four seasons with the team, amassing a 13.2 fWAR. Big win for the Mariners there.
We finally get to a trio of guys that more fans will be familiar with. Yuniesky Betancourt (2.9), Brendan Ryan (4.3), and Brad Miller (4.7). Betancourt never walked much but played well in his first two full seasons. Ryan hit well his first year and was awful after, but played great defense while he was here, with a UZR of 10.6 and 12.1.
Then there was Brad Miller (4.9). We sent him to Tampa, he hit 30 bombs and is still a decent player. He had some good early seasons in Seattle though and actually ended up just shy of a 5.0 fWAR with the team.
And who can forget about the man with a stat named after him, Mario Mendoza? He’s the reason for the “Mendoza Line“, or hitting under 200. He had one of the worst seasons you’ll ever see in 1979, going .198/.216/.249 in 401 PAs for the Mariners. He had a -1.3 fWAR that season, saved only by his strong defense.