When you think about a team captain, you look for certain qualities. You are looking for someone that is a leader on and off of the field. Someone that will show up every day and put in the work, someone that you can depend upon. They must also be able to produce. When you think of team captains, you think of guys like Derek Jeter, David Wright, Aaron Judge, Jason Varitek, and Don Mattingly. The Mariners have never had a team captain, but that needs to change.
There has been a lot of change in Seattle over the last 7 or 8 years. The team hired Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais and John Stanton became the new owner. They have been very progressive in their player development and roster construction. The stadium went from SafeCo Field to T-Mobile Park among many other smaller changes. As we usher in a new era of baseball in Seattle, one that resembles the excitement surrounding the Mariners in the late 90's and early 2000's, I think it is a time that the Mariners set a new precedent. A Team Captain!
Who better embodies what the Mariners are in this new era of baseball in Seattle than J.P. Crawford. J.P has the swag that players and fans flock to, but he truly embodies the culture that Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais have built here. J.P. is an emotional guy that you can tell obviously cares about his team and the city of Seattle. He busts his butt on the field and you can just tell that he gives it everything he has. He shows up everyday and mans his position (160 games in 2021, 145 games in 2022 and hes on pace to play 144 games this year). It has been very evident since the Mariners acquired J.P. Crawford that he wants to get better and be a leader for this team.
J.P. has shown that there is always room to get better, a great quality to have being the leader of a fairly young team. His first 2 seasons it seemed like the Mariners would have a below average bat at shortstop, but a pretty good defender, even earning a gold glove in 2020. 2021 and 2022 saw the same elite level of defence but a slightly better bat with a wRC+ of 103 both years. At this time we thought we had about a league average bat and an elite defender. The Mariners stayed strong in their support of Crawford by repeatedly stating he was their shortstop. J.P., being the leader of the clubhouse that he is, he took it upon himself to improve offensively and stayed in Seattle working with Driveline and it has paid off. He has put up career highs in slugging percentage, on-base percentage and home runs! His wRC+ is elite at 132.
J.P. has been one of the most fun players to watch in recent Mariners teams. He as confidence, swag and he really cares about the team and city. I think the ownership group needs to reward his commitment to this franchise and make him the first Captain in Mariners history. You dont think J.P. could add any more swag to his wardrobe, but how good would he look with a nice "C" on his jersey?