The All-Mariner All-Worst

DMZ · September 1, 2008 at 12:03 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

WoTYC, 3, John Morgan:

An All-Time Worst Team seems appropriate and ripe for comedy.

No problem. Worst Mariner team of all time:
DH: Jose Vidro
C: Kenji Johjima
1B: Richie Sexson
2B: Jose Lopez…

Yes it’s your 2008 Seattle Mariners!

The worst part about that — it’s not that far off. Say they finish at 100 losses. Their competition will be:
— the 1978 Darrell Johnson team (56-104)
— the 1980 Darrell Johnson/Maury Wills team (59-103)
— the 1983 Rene Lachemann-led team (60-102)

The Mariners started up in 1977. All of those seasons came within seven years of starting out at a time when expansion teams were totally amazingly screwed in their first years. The Blue Jays did a great job building out of expansion and weren’t hampered by terrible ownership, and it took them six years before they got over .500.

This is staggering: the Bavasi years have returned one of the richest franchises in baseball to a six-year run unequaled since the days when it began, hamstrung by a terrible starting position, no payroll, and inept management.

What’s a year-by-year lineup look like, then? Using the same standards as we’re using in the ongoing All-Mariner All-Time roster:

DH: You’ve got choices. For raw awfulness, Leroy Stanton, 1978: 342 PA, .182/.265/.248. For a little better, what about 1991 Alvin Davis: 528 PA, .221/.299/.336. Ow. Vidro’s a happy medium, with 330 PA .234/.274/.338. I have to take Leroy Stanton.
C: Miguel Olivo 2005. Just thinking about that makes me wince.
1B: Richie Sexson 2007. Awful defense and .205/295/.399
2B: Jose Lopez 2007. Blech defense and .252/.284/.355. You might want Harold Reynolds 1986, or does he get credit for his early-career defense?
SS: Mario Mendoz, 79. .198/.216/.249. Yeeaaaaaaaaaagh.
3B: I want Luis Sojo’s ill D and crappy hitting of 96 (.211/.244/.263), but for more playing time I’m fond of Spiezio 2004, or better yet, 1988 Jim Presley hard at work blocking Edgar Martinez.
LF: Mike Felder, 93. I was excited to have him come over, because I followed the Giants, but .209/.260/.267 in 376 PA. Wowww. For a left fielder.
CF: The forgotten John Moses, 1987: 433 PA, .246/.301/.331 and when was the last time you heard about his stellar glovework?
RF: Al Cowens 1983, 384 PA, .205/.255/.329, or John Hale, 1978, 251 PA, .171/.283/.265 ?

Bench: wooooww. Sojo 96, Fermin 95, uhhh… Olivo as catcher 2005, backing himself up. Outfield, I’ll take Mickey Brantley 89.

Now for the rotation, they have to have put in at least 150 IP as an arbitrary line, and I’m trying not to pick 2008 pitchers.
SP: Joel Pineiro, 2006
SP: Glen Abbott, 1978.
SP: Jim Beattie, 1980. Shudder.
SP: Ken Cloude, 1998.
SP: Bill Swift, 1998.

This is tough. I’m tempted to try and pull BABIP out, but then that’s… add DeLucia 1991 and drop Pineiro? Franklin 2005 over Abbott 1978, perhaps. This is a nausea-inducing rotation no matter what.

Byron McLaughlin 1980
Lee Gutterman 1986
Bobby Ayala 1998 (!!!)
Norm Charlton 1997
Mac Suzuki 1999
Edwin Nunez 1988

Update: And Maury Wills has to be the manager.

There’s a team that could go 40-122. Things could be worse. But there’s surprisingly little there.

This post was written as one of the requests by a USSM supporter as part of Thank You Content Week. Join them!


30 Responses to “The All-Mariner All-Worst”

  1. IllinoisMsFan on September 1st, 2008 12:11 pm

    As bad (and as overpaid) as Jose Vidro was, I think Leroy Stanton in 1978 was a worse DH (.182/.265/.248/46 OPS+). He DH’d 58 times that season…although, I’m guessing he didn’t hit third much.

  2. smb on September 1st, 2008 12:23 pm

    “This place looks strangely familiar.”

    “That’s because we’ve been here before. We’re going in circles!”

    I wasn’t born until a few years after the team was started, but I feel like I know what it was like to watch those early teams play after suffering through this abysmal season.

  3. vj on September 1st, 2008 12:29 pm

    “Jose Lopes 2007: Blech defense…”
    I am not qualified to opine myself but have heard credible sources that his defense in 07 wasn’t all that bad.

  4. DMZ on September 1st, 2008 12:31 pm

    Call it average if you want, that offensive line still takes the cake.

    Huh, I just went and looked up his URZ for 2007, it’s +23, which is quite nice. I’d have to go look up other measures, but maybe I’m totally off-base here.

  5. vj on September 1st, 2008 12:42 pm


    In the spirit of reader-requested content and after having left a tip at the cookie jar, I have two small suggestions and a request:
    – a direct link to Dave’s columns over at Fangraphs (their main page always crashes IE at my workplace, we’re still on an old version, there),
    – the link to your Book site is broken.
    I now you’re not Dave and he’s probably busy with wedding preparations (when’s the big day) but I look forward to the next update of the future forty. Minor-league seasons are about over, aren’t they?

  6. mln on September 1st, 2008 12:44 pm

    Ahhhh. These names bring back old memories of when the Mariners were mired in yearly mediocre with a front office that was too clueless to make positive changes.

    I’m sure glad that those days are all in the past!

  7. mironos on September 1st, 2008 12:44 pm

    I think you gotta give Jeff Cirillo some props at 3B.
    ’03 – 293 PA, .205/.284/.271

    Or, if that’s not enough PAs, ’02 could qualify too:
    ’02 – 547 PA .249/.301/.328

  8. msb on September 1st, 2008 12:49 pm

    3B: I want Luis Sojo’s ill D and crappy hitting of 96 (.211/.244/.263), but for more playing time I’m fond of Spiezio 2004, or better yet, 1988 Jim Presley hard at work blocking Edgar Martinez.

    doesn’t Jeff Cirillo’s complete psychological implosion deserve some votes?

    I now you’re not Dave and he’s probably busy with wedding preparations

    speaking of which, wedding gift– donations to USSM? Donations to a(nother) charitable concern?

  9. kyoko on September 1st, 2008 12:51 pm

    There has to be a place for Silva on the team surely?

  10. Ben Ramm on September 1st, 2008 1:16 pm

    But, Bill Swift in 1998 was 11-9. He knew how to win.

  11. Elwood P. Dowd on September 1st, 2008 1:50 pm

    May I suggest two players at 3B? The 1980 duo of Ted Cox and Jim Anderson. Cox was always considered a bad fielder, was in there for his bat (.243/ .295/ .304). Anderson was the glove man, hit about the same and fielded .906.

  12. Adam S on September 1st, 2008 2:11 pm

    There’s a team that could go 40-122.
    Really. The team is only 10 wins below replacement level? I haven’t looked up players but I’d think they’d be at least -1 WAR per player on offense and similarly on pitching.

    Put another way, take away Beltre, Ichiro, Ibanez, Hernandez, Bedard, and the whole bullpen and this team would still win 40 games?

  13. bdunn02 on September 1st, 2008 2:45 pm

    Hey Derek, how about naming an owner, president, GM, and manager?

  14. Steve T on September 1st, 2008 2:58 pm

    So many greats to choose from.

    Sexson isn’t even on the list at 1B, not when you’ve got Danny Meyer (OPS of .591, OPS+ 66, in 1978). Or Jim Maler in 1982: .618 OPS, 67 OPS+. Or friggin’ Pat Putnam in his mercifully shortened 1984 outing: .571 OPS, 49 OPS+. Or the appalling Pete O’Brien in 1990: .622 OPS, 74 OPS+.

    At 2B, Harold Reynolds’s 1986 blows away Lopez: .565 OPS, 54 OPS+. But don’t forget Julio Cruz; fondly remembered, but what isn’t remembered is that in 1980 he put up an OPS+ of 56 (.565 OPS), and that was not the only year he was under .600.

    At 3B, Presley gets major karma points for delaying Edgar Martinez’s career, and probably keeping him out of the Hall of Fame, but there are some even better candidates: Ted Cox in 1980, as Elwood mentions, was sub-.600 OPS, OPS+ of 64. So was Lenny Randle of foul-ball-blowing fame, the next year (.591, 67). Manny Castillo in ’82 wasn’t much better (.622, 69). Nor was Jamie Allen in ’83 (.613, 68). Don’t forget the immortal Jeff Cirillo (.629, 70 in 2002, an astonishing .555, 51 in 2003). And of course Spiezio, and Russ Davis — why, we’ve had more bad 3B in our history than anyone!

    SS: Mario Mendoza’s .465, 25 in 1979 stands out; how can you get any worse than an OPS+ of TWENTY-FIVE? Here’s how: put up an OPS of .457 for an OPS+ of TWENTY, as Felix Fermin, one of my all-time least-favorite players, did in 1995. Honorable mention goes to Spike Owen, a fan favorite who nonetheless racked up a .528, 44 season in 1983, and Omar Vizquel, another fan favorite, who put up three consecutive sub-.600 seasons in a row in 1989-91, with OPS+ marks of 50, 66, and 66 again (with a 67 the year after that). Omar couldn’t hit a lick. Neither could Todd Cruz or Rich Aurelia.

    in the outfield, you have to love the skills of the immortal Dave Collins: .612, 69 in 1977. John Hale put up a .548, 56 mark in half-time duty the following year. In 1981, Joe Simpson came in at .563, 59 in CF. Al Cowens, who did at least have SOME good seasons, was .584, 57 in 1983 in right. Glenn Wilson, one of our first big free-agent disasters, was .610, 68 in right field in 1988. Shane Monahan in 1998 was terrible. But besides the obvious Tiny Felder pick, I’m going to go with my all-time least-favorite M, Brian “The Wrong” Hunter, in 1999: .571, OPS+ of 46. You stink, Hunter.

    C: Remember Larry Cox? .580, 55 in 1979. .552, 51 in 1980. Rick Sweet was godawful, too: .644, 75 in 1982, but .528, 44 in 1983. And, I gotta say, I know everybody loves him dearly, but Dan Wilson was a terrible, terrible hitter most of the time, regularly putting up OPS+es of 62, 64, 64….

    At DH, Stanton ’78 (.513, 46) is clearly the worst, and Vidro ’08 (.612, 65) certainly can hold his own, but I feel that Juan Bernhardt 1977 (.603, 66), Willie Horton 1980 (.634, 74), and frigging Carl Everett 2006 (.657, 72) deserve mention.

  15. joser on September 1st, 2008 2:59 pm

    a direct link to Dave’s columns over at Fangraphs (their main page always crashes IE at my workplace, we’re still on an old version, there),

    Does this work? Or this?

  16. BringUpBalentien on September 1st, 2008 3:46 pm

    A simple question for the general public; I was gone for a while, did I miss the all-time m’s roster for starters and bullpen? This is a good thread, though those names/seasons leave me reaching for the barf bucket.

  17. JR Ewing on September 1st, 2008 3:53 pm

    Can we get an honorable mention for Ron Wright as DH ?
    3 MLB at bats (2002 with Mariners)
    Each at bat came with two runners on and no outs.
    1 strikeout
    1 double play
    1 triple play

    That’s the extent of his MLB Career. 6 outs in 3 Plate Appearances might be an all-time record for suckiness.

  18. Paul B on September 1st, 2008 4:03 pm

    I have a hard time believing that John Moses could be among the worst CF’ers. OK, he couldn’t hit a lick, but at the time we were actually happy to see him make the team. So the players he replaced must have been really really bad. And Moses could throw, which is a good thing in an outfielder (Ron Roenicke, I’m looking at you!)

    I moved to Seattle just in time to suffer through Al Cowens. And I had season tickets in time to boo Glenn Wilson. So they both hold a special place for me on the all worst team.

  19. Breadbaker on September 1st, 2008 4:04 pm

    May I nominate a pitching coach? Nardi Contreras.

    When Nardi was pitching coach for the underachieving teams of the late 90’s, he would run from the dugout to the mound to talk to pitchers. The whole point of those coaching visits is to give the pitcher a breather, both mentally and physically, but Nardi would limit the time of the break and be in the pitcher’s face before he had time to reflect on what was going on. And the umpire would be walking to the mound to break it up that much quicker, too.

  20. Breadbaker on September 1st, 2008 4:05 pm

    But Johnny Mo had grit! And a great nickname! And probably was Willie B.’s idol growing up!

  21. Elwood P. Dowd on September 1st, 2008 4:28 pm

    As bad as Mendoza’s 1979 was, he was an awfully good fielder. The previously mentioned Spike Owen 1983 might be in the running; he was the most used leadoff man that year with an OBP of .257, might be enough to put him over the top.

  22. mironos on September 1st, 2008 4:31 pm

    17 – what a stat line!

    You know, there should be a stat that calculates number of outs per PA to take into account the negative effect of having slow, lumbering players at bat w/ a runner on first. That seems at least as relevant as a player’s BA w/ RISP.

  23. Steve T on September 1st, 2008 5:09 pm

    The proto-Willie was clearly Larry Milbourne, who used to routinely rack up a sub-.600 OPS while filling in at six different positions. They liked him so much they picked him up a second time, which makes me fear that Willie will return after a year or two of sudden greatness in the NL, only to sorta suck again here.

  24. Thoan on September 1st, 2008 6:53 pm

    Leaving Joe Table out is a real dis. I’ll never forget when he imploded and Lou just left him in there to suffer. An umpire finally tossed Mesa on general principles. What a terrible closer he was.

  25. msb on September 1st, 2008 8:33 pm

    I was just thinking about his stellar performance in the Safeco field opener.

  26. Trev on September 1st, 2008 9:08 pm

    Please someone throw this thing into Diamond Mind.

  27. The Ghost of Spike Owen on September 2nd, 2008 8:54 am

    Neither Weaver nor HoRam make the rotation? Wow.

  28. ctc on September 2nd, 2008 11:00 am

    Does Jeff Weaver not qualify because of only 146 innings pitched? That was because many of his losses were less than two innings.

    He gets karma credit for ruining the 07 season for me.

  29. pgreyy on September 2nd, 2008 2:40 pm

    …and this wonderful amalgamation of talent could look forward to adding Rick White & John Parrish as gritty veterans coming out of the bullpen to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…

    Because it is never enough for a Mariner team to be bad…it has to find ways to get worse as the season goes on.

  30. John Morgan on September 2nd, 2008 3:40 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you. What a haystack of suck.

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