Mariners #2 CF: Mike Cameron – 19.9 fWAR
In the 90s, the Mariners found themselves with one of the greatest groups of superstars that any team has ever had at once. Ken Griffey Jr. Alex Rodriguez. Randy Johnson. Edgar Martinez. Unfortunately, the team was run in an awful fashion, and they had no idea what they were doing. Relations between players and the front office weren’t very good, and all of those players sans Edgar would end up leaving.
It’s how we ended up getting Mike Cameron, as he came over in the Ken Griffey Jr. trade. We will never know if Griffey would’ve stayed healthy if he remained in Seattle. We do know that he was unable to do so in Cincinnati. It’s a big part of the reason that the Mariners ended up winning that trade quite easily, as Cameron would have an incredible four-year run with the Mariners. Cameron would put up 19.9 fWAR, and Griffey would be in the 9s.
When you look at Fangraphs, Cameron had back-to-back 5.5 fWAR seasons in 2001 and 2002. He was a better hitter in 01, but had a bit better defense and baserunning in 02, which is what pulls him even.
- 2001: .267/.353/.480. 25 HR, 34 SB, 99 R, 110 RBI, 120 WRC+
- 2002: .239/.340/.442. 25 HR, 31 SB, 84 R, 80 RBI, 113 WRC+
(Does anyone hope/think Kelenic could put up numbers like that? I do)
The Mariners let him walk after the 2003 season (you can see saving money over winning games was a big thing for them back then), and he would go on to have quite the run spread across the Mets, Padres, and Brewers. He would put together a six-year run of 3.8, 2.1, 4.5, 1.9, 4.0, and 4.1. Quietly, Cameron would amass a career fWAR of 50.6.
If there was a Hall of Very Good, Cameron would be a first-ballot inductee. Between the incredible attitude, being a great teammate and clubhouse presence, and being a great player, it sure was fun watching Cameron during his four years in Seattle.