With the Mariners flailing so badly, it’s especially painful for fans to look around baseball and see so many members of their alumni club thriving. Here’s a compendium, followed by a poll:
—Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cleveland. A left-handed hitting outfielder with discipline and power. Think the M’s could use one of those? Has a .308/.417/.462 line so far in 2010 after going .300/.394.489 last year. But at least the M’s got a lot of mileage out of Ben Broussard.
—Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Cleveland. The Choo trade was on July 26, 2006. On June 30th of that year, the M’s sent Cabrera to the Indians for Eduardo Perez. Two stinker trades in the span of 26 days. Cabrera hit .308 last year with 66 RBI, and is at .291 this year. Perez hit .195 with one homer and 11 RBI the remainder of ’06, then retired to become a broadcaster.
—Russ Branyan, 1B, Cleveland. Once upon a time, the M’s had a power-hitting lefty in the middle of their order, and the dude hit 31 homers despite missing most of September. But he had back issues, and they let him walk. Branyan still has back issues, but he’s hit three homers in his last two games. That would tie him for the Mariners’ home-run lead.
—Adrian Beltre, 3B, Red Sox. A traditionally slow starter, Beltre is hitting .313 for the Red Sox with 20 RBI. And he still plays a mean, cup-less third base, despite seven errors in 34 games.
—Scott Podsednik, OF, Royals. The 12th-leading hitter in the American League with a .317 average, to go with 12 stolen bases.
—Jose Guillen, OF, Royals. There are actually some rumblings of Mariner interest in bringing back Guillen, who has eight homers and 21 RBI. But that .303 on-base percentage (eight walks in 142 plate appearances) is an issue.
—Carlos Silva, RHP, Cubs. Who’d have ever guessed that Carlos Silva would end up being the rock in the Cubs’ rotation? But there he is at 4-0 with a 3.40 ERA after seven starts.
—Jason Varitek, C, Red Sox. While the M’s catchers are hitting .160 and .167, Varitek keeps rolling at age 38. The switch-hitter, now a spot starter, is hitting .342 in 14 games with six homers in 38 at-bats.
—David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox. The M’s already have a fading left-handed DH. But Ortiz at least has four home runs.
—Adam Jones, CF, Orioles. He’s off to a disappointing start (.634 OPS), but was an All-Star last year and still has a world of potential.
—Rafael Soriano, RHP, Rays. The Tampa Bay closer is 9-for-9 in save opportunities, with a 1.93 ERA. I wonder what Horacio Ramirez is doing these days? (Pitching for Triple-A Fresno, at last check).
—Matt Thornton, LHP, White Sox. Has become a dominanting short reliever (26 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings), with a 2.20 ERA in 15 games.
—Derek Lowe, RHP, Braves. Has a 5.73 ERA right now, but can be penciled in for 12 to 16 victories a year.
—Eric O’Flaherty, LHP, Braves. He’s become a reliable situational lefty for the Braves, giving up just seven hits in 14 1/3 innings this year (2.51 ERA) after appearing in 78 games last year.
—Carlos Guillen, DH/OF, Tigers. He’s pretty beat up now and can’t play the field much, but Guillen can still flat-out hit. Was at .311 with a .391 on-base percentage when he went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in late April.
—Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees. Yeah, I had to go there. He’s not hitting for much power yet (just three homers), but you know he’ll get 30 to 35, and post his usual .900-plus OPS.
—Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, Royals. Just making sure you’re still paying attention. He does have four walks already, and it’s only May 13.
I’m probably forgetting someone, but you’ll let me know.
Here’s a poll, just for the heck of it, on which players you’d most like to see back in a Seattle uniform. You can vote for up to three:
(Choo photo by Associated Press)