Derek’s analogy is perfect. The Mariners are the kind of customer that caused Circuit City employees to light up when they walked in the store. Not only would they end up buying a machine with features that they did not need, they would pay an extra $400 to insure that those unnecessary bells and whistles were in perfect working order for an extra 4 years. This customer also owned a treadmill that was used for a coat-rack, several of those “natural garden fountains”, and likely took Tae Bo.
However, I think Derek is missing one key theme that goes through all the candidates:
Lee Pelekoudas: Financial expert, no experience as GM, limited background in scouting, groomed by Gillick
Benny Looper: Scouting background, no experience as GM, marginal background in administration, groomed by Gillick
Omar Minaya: Expert at bad trades, two years experience as GM, similar philosophy to Gillick
Al Avila: Scouting background, no experience as GM, heavy focus on tools, similar philosophy to Gillick
Bill Bavasi: Scouting background, 6 yeras experience as GM, heavy focus on tools, similar philosophy to Gillick
Mike Port: Scouting background, 7 years experience as GM, analytical mind, not similar to Gillick
David Wilder: Scouting background, no experience as GM, focus on tools, friends with Gillick
You know, I think I do see a theme.
And I have sorely neglected to mention how great our readers are lately — because they rule! They’re way smarter than and can beat up the readers of any other blog. Seriously.
And I wanted to say “Wie gehts?” to whoever’s been using Google to translate this page into German for their reading pleasure, and hope that that greet doesn’t get mangled too badly.
Reader Toshio Tsukiyama emails us with this Matsui update:
“1. Yomiuri Giants (NY Yankees of Japan) made it clear that they will
go after Kaz Matsui.
2. However, Matsui indicated that he wants to play in US.
3. He made it clear that he wants to play SS.”
I agree with Dave. The Mariners have consistently shown in their interviewing processes that they don’t have any idea what they’re doing. Hiring a manager, the process went like:
1. Make a list. Allow anyone to add names to the list, no matter how preposterous.
2. Interview everyone.
3. Call back the guys who did well (who were still a weird bunch of candidates)
Their GM process has pretty much been the same. How should they do it, you ask?
Like any good shopping process, they should have sat down and said “What do we need as a team right now?” and come up with an answer — even if it’s the wrong answer, it should have been something like
Someone who’s good at assembling the back end of a roster under budget, and assembling a roster with tools our manager needs to win. Arbitration, economic good sense, and an understanding of free sources of talent are important. Strength in scouting helpful but not as important, since we have scouting expertise coming out of our years.
Or even “We need a scout hound to fit in here and to help us evaluate how to best use our bumper crop of pitching prospects, and being well-liked around the league would help us when it comes time to trading some of those kids to fill gaps on the major league roster.”
And then you take those criteria, whatever you came up with, and only consider candidates who meet them. If someone comes up to you and says “interview my old buddy Jim I knew back from the Braves,” you say “I’m afraid Jim’s not what we’re looking for, and we’re concentrating on finding the best candidate available.”
But that’s not at all what the M’s are doing — they’ve wandered into their local electronics store looking for an appliance, and they have no idea of where it’s going to go, or what it needs to do, or how much it’ll cost to buy, or operate, and the chances they’ll buy something that happens to be perfect are pretty slim.
Astros asst. GM Tim Purpura confirmed in his chat with Baseball Prospectus that the Mariners have not contacted him, but he would be interested in the job. For the M’s to not consider Purpura is a real shame. He is exactly the kind of person they should be interested in. Of course, with the News Tribune reporting that Bill Bavasi is a candidate, we shouldn’t be surprised. My optimism that the M’s will hire a non-retread dims each day.
Reader Andrew Kobayashi reports that Japanese news is reporting Li’l Matsui filed for free agency and can begin negotiating with other teams Nov 8th.
How’s that for hearsay?