The Angels under Bavasi:
Year W-L Place
1994 47-68 4th
1995 78-67 2nd
1996 70-91 4th
1997 84-78 2nd
1998 85-77 2nd
1999 70-92 4th
TOT. 434-473 (.479)
I’m just sayin’, is all.
Soooo Bavasi pro:
He was a big part of USA Baseball, and that’s cool.
He signed Mo Vaughn to his current deal while GM of the Angles, a decision that’s… well, it’s pretty close to indefensible. And from here:
“When we embarked on this offseason, we decided we wanted to be real specific about the kind of players we wanted,” general manager Bill Bavasi said. “Only the best would do. We think we’ve done that, with the addition of Mo.”
Bavasi said the fact that Vaughn has star power was probably the third reason the team signed him.
“First and foremost is his ability on the field, and second to that but real close is his presence in the clubhouse and his presence on his ballclub,” Bavasi said.
Um, no, and no, and no. Also, no.
Responsible for the patchwork Angels teams of 94-99. Now, that’s sort of good and sort of bad. Those teams had some terrible players on them, but there’s also some weirdness. Take 1994’s team: Rex Hudler, Harold Reynolds at the end of his career, but also Jim Edmonds at 24, Tim Salmon at 25, and then Chad Curtis and DiSarcina at 25…. there are some good things to look at as you look at the Bavasi Years: Garret Anderson comes up and starts playing. Erstad debuts (as a first baseman!) in 1997 (and hits .290/.360/.466) (yes, that Erstad). In fact, 1997’s the only year they fielded good offensive and pitching units together: most of the time their hitting was awful (95, 97 the exceptions, when it was good).
During that time, the Angels farm system did pretty well, and the team did a pretty good job of bringing kids in as they went.
I covered the Angels for Baseball Prospectus when Stoneman came on to take over after Bavasi, and that organization was wasted, utterly devoid of hitters worth paying any attention to (and don’t mention Gary Johnson, because I called him out as not being interesting back then, and I was right), but with a couple of pitchers. For all of the talk about his farm system credentials, covering that farm system was like listening for signals from aliens at Arecebo, only without the hope and awe.
Well, I’ll leave at this, because I don’t have time to write something much longer: Bavasi is not the guy I wanted for the job, and I suspect he’s not the guy the M’s really wanted, either. I would have gone in another direction entirely looking for someone who could turn around the team’s weaknesses, rather than fit in with the team’s existing strengths, but it’s clear Bavasi is not the worst hire the team could have made, either.
This off-season will reveal a great deal about his abilities and thought processes.
Here’s the ESPN story, via the AP.
The M’s issued a statement — it’s Bavasi. Seattle Times (“Paper of Quality”), elsewhere. More thoughts later.
I think this hire is going to go badly.
While neither Bavasi or Looper were our candidates of choice, I think we can get lost in the negativity of them ignoring the sabermetrically friendly candidates. While I would have preferred a GM who understood the risks of developing high school players, made moves based on performance rather than potential, and had knowledge of freely available talent, it is possible for an “old-school” GM to be a good GM.
The main complaints about Gillick were:
1. He didn’t manage his budget well, spending lots of money on bad players.
2. He was not creative, choosing only to buy talent through free agency and ignoring other paths of acquisition.
3. He had a strong penchant for veteran players, choosing age over talent.
4. He was ridiculously stubborn, refusing to give an inch when it could gain him a foot.
These are things we will not know about Bavasi or Looper until he takes over. While neither would not have been my choice, they might turn out to exceed our expectations.