The first game of Seattle Mariners franchise history was on April 6, 1977; Steve Braun was the starter in left field. Since then the Mariners have had 23 different opening day starters in left field. To put that in perspective, the Toronto Blue Jays, also established in 1977, have only had 18 different left fielders in that time frame.
Raul Ibanez, who is back for his third stint with the team, has made four opening day starts in left field, more than anyone else in franchise history. The Mariners have struggled to find consistency recently as well, as their last three starters on opening day are no longer with the team (Mike Carp, Milton Bradley, Endy Chavez).
Jay Buhner and Ken Griffey Jr, were superstars in right and center field, but the Mariners have yet to find even a respectable player to roam left field for more than a couple of years in their 35 year franchise history.
Mariners fans have seen the likes of John Mabry, Kevin Mitchell and Al Martin start in left field for one season and then take their talents elsewhere. It will be the Mariners hope that Mike Morse will be a mainstay in left field for years to come.
Morse spent four years with the Mariners from 2005-09 as a shortstop. Morse is back for his second stint with the team after he was acquired from the Washington Nationals. Morse saw time in left, but spent a majority of his time at first base in Washington. However, Morse is slated to be the opening day left fielder in 2013 for the Mariners.
Throughout the history of baseball, left field has primarily been an offensive position and Morse is no exception to the rule. He averages over 20 HR’s per 162 games and has been slightly below average defensively, with -5 Runs Saved for his career in left field.
Morse could be another “one-year wonder”, as he is slated to be a free agent after the 2013 season. GM Jack Zduriencik should be proactive and lockup Morse to an extension, as he has the possibility to be a mainstay in left field for a long time.