No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun
No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only. If you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.
Here is Greg Johns’ ranking of the top five left fielders in Mariners history. Next week: center field.
1. Raul Ibanez, 1996-2000, 2004-08, 2013
Key fact: Among top 10 all-time Mariners in games, hits, homers, RBIs and runs
Left field has traditionally been a revolving door for the Mariners, but Ibanez provided some stability and a quality bat during his various times with the team. The smooth-swinging lefty was a 36th-round Draft pick of the Mariners in ’92 and played sparingly in the Majors in his first stint with Seattle, but was re-signed as a free agent in ’04 after flourishing with the Royals and then was brought back again for one final run at age 41 in ’13.
Ibanez joins Mike Blowers, Norm Charlton and Jeff Nelson as the only players with three separate stints with the Mariners.
Ibanez delivered five strong seasons in his middle stint in Seattle, batting .291/.354/.477 with 113 home runs and 489 RBIs in 755 games, with a 120 OPS+. His best season came in 2006 when he hit .289 with 33 homers and 123 RBIs and he racked up 105 or more RBIs in each of his last three seasons in that span.
Despite the slow start to his career, Ibanez wound up first among all Mariners left fielders and top 10 among Mariners players at all positions in games (1,110), hits (1,077), homers (156), doubles (216), extra-base hits (392), RBIs (612), runs (540), walks (367) and slugging percentage (.466).
Additionally, Ibanez was regarded as an excellent leader in the clubhouse and a strong community presence. He was honored with the prestigious Fred Hutch Award in 2013 for his charitable work.
“Raul was the ultimate professional, both on and off the field,” said Eric Wedge, who was the Mariners manager during Ibanez’s final season.
2. Phil Bradley, 1983-87
Key fact: Hit .301 over five seasons with Seattle
Bradley was a third-round Draft pick by the Mariners in 1981 and spent his first five Major League seasons with Seattle, including a career-best ’85 when he earned an American League All-Star berth while batting .300/.365/.498 with 26 home runs and 88 RBIs in 159 games. His 4.8 bWAR that season is the best ever by a Mariners left fielder.
A talented athlete who started for three years at quarterback for Missouri and led the Tigers to three bowl games, Bradley stole 40 bases in his final season in Seattle before being traded to the Phillies.
He ranks second to Ibanez in nearly every major offensive category among Mariners left fielders while posting a .301/.382/.449 line with 52 homers and 234 RBIs in 607 games and is first in triples (26) and stolen bases (107).
3. Randy Winn, 2003-05
Key fact: Was acquired from Rays in trade for Lou Piniella
Winn has the unique distinction of arriving from Tampa Bay as part of a deal to allow Piniella out of the final year of his contract with Seattle so he could take over the rebuilding Rays. He wound up delivering three solid seasons in left field before being traded to the Giants.
Winn posted a .287/.345/.417 line with 31 homers, 193 RBIs and 56 stolen bases in 416 games during his Seattle tenure and hit .295 and scored 103 runs in ’03 while batting second behind Ichiro Suzuki on a team that won 93 games.
4. Tom Paciorek, 1978-81
Key fact: Hit .326 in AL All-Star season in ‘81
Though he spent most of his 18-year MLB career as a platoon player, Paciorek put together an All-Star campaign in his best season in 1981 with Seattle when he posted a .326/.379/.509 line with 14 homers, 66 RBIs and a 151 OPS+ in 104 games.
Although the man known as “Wimpy” finished 10th in AL MVP voting that year, the Mariners traded him to the White Sox the following offseason, leaving him with four-season totals of .296/.343/.460 with 39 homers and 197 RBIs in 403 games in Seattle.
5. Stan Javier, 2000-01
Key fact: Veteran leader played key role on 116-win 2001 team
Javier only appeared in 194 games in two seasons with the Mariners, but he was one of the unsung leaders on playoff teams in 2000 and ’01, putting up a .283/.362/.396 line and making numerous big defensive plays.
The veteran always seemed to come up with big plays in the clutch. The only home run of his postseason career came in Game 2 of the 2001 AL Championship Series off the Yankees’ Mike Mussina, and he helped ignite a Game 3 win over the Yankees by robbing Alfonso Soriano of a home run with a leaping catch above the left-field wall before retiring after that series at age 37.
Ken Griffey Sr. played just 51 games for the Mariners in 1990-91 at age 40-41, but hit .327/.410/.457 with four homers and 27 RBIs while playing alongside his young son in center field. ... Greg Briley ranks third among Mariners left fielders in games at 478 from 1988-92. ... Brian Hunter led the AL in stolen bases with 44 in his lone season with Seattle in ’99. ... Vince Coleman helped spark the Mariners’ dramatic ’95 playoff run after being acquired in mid-August from the Royals.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.