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Yuni vs. his predecessors, part 12 March 22, 2008

Posted by Brad in commentary, stats.
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The Mariners have only signed one free agent shortstop in their history. Unfortunately, it was this guy.

2004: Rich Aurilia
Stats: .231/.304/.337 in 261 at-bats in about half a season. 32 years old. Rich got paid just over $3 million dollars for this kind of productivity.
Place in M’s fandom: Aurilia’s either a punchline or impetus to break kitchen appliances.
Wikipedia/Google:
Aurilia wasn’t always terrible. His high school number (22, not the 35 he dragged into the mud with the M’s) was retired by the hard-nosed Our Lady of Grace league.
Rich Aurilia and his wife (a singer) cameoed as jurors on an episode of General Hospital. Here’s Aurilia defending himself:

“You know what? I’ve watched the show on and off for years because of baseball… On the road you have time in the afternoon. You watch whatever’s on. When I’m home I ‘TiVo’ it and watch it before I go to bed. When I first came up I heard a lot about (soaps). I think a lot of guys watch them.”

Suuuure they do, Rich. Aurilia appeared on General Hospital in December 2003, just a few months before his lone spring training with the Mariners… I’m saying what we’re all thinking: General Hospital ruined Rich Aurilia.
Pre-General Hospital, Aurilia did have some good years. He was even an All-Star in 2001 with rate stats of .324/.369/.572. He might have benefited from hitting in front of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, who combined to hit 110 home runs. In karmic payback for his lone all-star season, Aurilia signed a 2-year $8-million dollar contract with the Giants before last season. His slugging percentage in 2007 was lower than his on-base percentage in 2001.
Before signing that contract, Aurilia was interviewed on the podcast Red Hot Mama. I could only listen for a few minutes; Aurilia gets called “a monolith,” not referencing his range at short.

Was Rich Aurilia a better shortstop than Yuniesky Betancourt? God, no. Sadly, Aurilia’s offensive numbers in 2004 were better rate stats than the Mariners’ careers of Jim Anderson, Mario Mendoza, Todd Cruz, Spike Owen, Omar Vizquel, and the guy I’ll profile next.

Next: Ignition!

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