In a season defined by Murphy’s Law, the Mariners’ inability to field a worthwhile hitting catcher ranks lower on the repair list than it would in most years. The Mariners’ collection of backstops has combined for a .246 wOBA. As faith has it, the 2005 Seattle club was the last team to have a catching staff so inept at the plate that they combined for a positional wOBA under .250. In other words, Seattle has seen this movie before.
The 2005 edition of Seattle’s finest highlighted their patent on Everlasting Gapstoppers. Miguel Olivo, Pat Borders, Yorvit Torrealba, Rene Rivera, Wiki Gonzalez, Dan Wilson, and even Miguel Ojeda contributed to the mess. This year’s group is more concise, with Adam Moore being the most responsible. Moore and Olivo actually have more in common from their awful seasons than one would suspect. Moore is older now than Olivo then, but their respective lines stack up well:
Olivo (’05): .151/.172/.276
Moore (’10): .169/.199/.260
Olivo and Moore each struck out in nearly a third of their at-bats and, while Olivo walked once for every 12.5 strikeouts, Moore is walking once every 11. Don’t mistake Moore as the only contributor to the awfulness. Rob Johnson and Eliezer Alonzo both own wOBA lines below .265, and Josh Bard’s .303 shines bright in comparison.
The free agent catching market is rarely strong but the Mariners would be hard-pressed to find a downgrade. After all, their wOBA is closer to Mario Mendoza’s career mark (.231) than Paul Bako’s (.275). The M’s won’t respond like they did in 2005: by drafting Jeff Clement during the season then adding Kenji Johjima in the winter. Jack Zduriencik has shown a savvy for trades, so maybe the answer arrives from that form. Whatever happens, history suggests the 2015 Mariners’ backstops are going to be atrocious.
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