Bavasi’s Boys

DMZ · October 6, 2004 at 10:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Melvin speaks out on his firing in a Times piece. Essentially, the reason given to him for his canning was that players leaving the team got better, while players coming on got worse. This is an interesting argument and not one I’d have expected the team to advance. It seems good: that they’re paying attention, but also bad: there’s a lot of small sample size in this, and Safeco as a huge pitcher’s park… I don’t know what to think of this.

Bavasi also recommended Melvin for the Arizona job, which seems weird.

Jon Wells noted in the comments that remaking of the team in Bill’s image continues. This may be good, or bad, depending on your opinion of Bavasi. Not including the mid-season shake-up, the list lately includes:
Roger Jongewaard, listed on the site as “VP Special Asst to the GM” and sort of the institutional talent evaluator
Charlie Kerfeld, scout who signed Madritsch among others
Jim Slaton, the pitching coach for Tacoma who seemed to be able to turn anyone with a pea in their head and a good attitude into something worthwhile. I’m sad to see Slaton go. He did good work for the organization, and I wish him well.

As a larger issue, it’s clear that this is not Gillick’s organization anymore. I expect these are not the only changes we’re going to see, as Bavasi sorts through what he’s seen this first year and starts to perform the Heimlich maneuver on people until they spit up a resignation.

The change away from Mattox was the most important this season: the team has had a serious of disastrous drafts. It would have been hard to have intentionally picked a less productive strategy in the draft than the team pursued without doing something like taking the Baseball America draft projections and reversing them. No, even then…

If Bavasi’s moves so far are any indication, we can expect that he’s going to stock the organization with his people, those he’s worked with and liked in previous jobs, name floaters around the league. Dan Evans is already hanging around collecting alms, so might as well get him an office.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that’s how he’s going to get his manager — it’s going to be someone he’s comfortable with, and probably he knows, or has people he trust recommend to him. Given the likely other priorities of the team (name guy, different disposition) I have no idea who that might be.


11 Responses to “Bavasi’s Boys”

  1. giuseppe on October 6th, 2004 11:05 am

    wow, so ben davis raised his horrendous batting average? that’s amazing. it most certainly is a sample size issue. i’m no bob melvin fan, but that is not a reasonable justification for firing him. i sure hope that is not the real reason because if it is it’s just another indication that Bavasi and the front office still have no grasp on how to evaluate players, much less their manager.

    blaming melvin for aurilia and spezio’s collapse is laughable. raise your hand if you didn’t see those two players failing to be the stars we were promised the were. wow, no hands up in the entire blogosphere.

  2. Raymond on October 6th, 2004 11:29 am

    Melvin wasn’t the sole source of the “problems” with the Mariners, but a change had to be made.

  3. toshi on October 6th, 2004 11:50 am

    I think it will be funny if even Melvin does better outside of Mariners next year, as a manager in Arizona. Then, what’s next? They need to fire Bavasi?

  4. Brent Overman on October 6th, 2004 12:16 pm

    Toshi, I think that’s what we all have to hope for. Lincoln’s interview w/ Art Thiel basically (to me) lays the groundwork for his dismissal if they flop again next year. Lincoln’s putting all his eggs in one basket. It ought to be interesting. Surely Bavasi couldn’t repeat last year’s offseason, could he???

  5. PositivePaul on October 6th, 2004 12:56 pm

    Jongewaard gone? Yikes. He’s been HUGE for the M’s and their draft picks. I would’ve liked him to become GM instead of Bavasi. Slaton, too? Yikes again!

    BoMel might actually lure Bryan Price away if he gets the AZ job, and as long as they promote Rafael Chaves, I’d be okay with that.

    Indeed it’s clear that Bavasi is clearing house. At least someone is doing SOMETHING, and not just talking saying that they are going to do something. This dead air stagnicity has been pretty awful. Let’s hope this evolution actually changes the team. Not all evolution is good, but at least we won’t see more of the same.

    I hope.

  6. Jim Thomsen on October 6th, 2004 12:58 pm

    I was surprised to see that Jongewaard, Kerfeld and Slaton are all gone. I didn’t see any news coverage of this. Anybody know: Did they jump or were they pushed? Why would good men like that voluntarily leave an organization, if that’s what they did? Was it a matter of reading the tea leaves signaling a wholesale regime change, or is there something more complicated to it?

    Kerfeld to me is a big loss. He had what seems to be an unparalleled knack for rescuing talent from the indy leagues (second, maybe, only to whoever in Kansas City resurrected Jose Lima from the dead last year). Slaton, too, seems to have worked miracles. I had the opportunity to interview him twice when he was in Tacoma last year, and the man not only has a fine intellectual grasp on what constitutes good pitching theory, but loves to talk about it.

    I’m not sure I want a bunch of ex-Dodgers and ex-Angels to take their places just because Bill Bavasi had lunch with them in 1996 or 2002.

    By the way, anybody know much about Brad Mills? I’ve noticed his name taking a quantum leap in profile during today’s discussions in the mediaspehere of managerial candidates. All I know is a) he’s the bench coach for the Red Sox; b) was the Dodgers’ AAA manager before that; and c) was the Montreal Expos scrub who Nolan Ryan struck out to break Walter Johnson’s all-time strikeout record, circa 1983.

  7. tede on October 6th, 2004 1:46 pm

    “c) was the Montreal Expos scrub who Nolan Ryan struck out to break Walter Johnson’s all-time strikeout record, circa 1983”

    If that’s true then Brad Mills is hired. Rick Rizz will be able to squeeze out at least 4 pregame interviews just talking about that.

  8. msb on October 6th, 2004 1:46 pm

    #5 “BoMel might actually lure Bryan Price away if he gets the AZ job, and as long as they promote Rafael Chaves, I’d be okay with that.”–Comment by PositivePaul — 10/6/2004 @ 12:56 pm

    Isn’t Price under contract through 2005? IIRC, when he signed that contract there was a verbal agreement that he could leave early for a managerial job, but not for another pitching coach position…

  9. msb on October 6th, 2004 2:22 pm

    FWIW, what Melvin said was that it was ONE of the reasons he was canned (“But I have no problem telling you that, among other things, what he said was …”) Player performance wasn’t the sole reason given him in the meeting, but it was the one reason Melvin wanted to talk about with Finnigan, because he didn’t agree with the assessment.

    FWIW, on Tuesday he told Jim Street: “Melvin said, “I thought I was prepared for that meeting. I had a pretty good idea I might
    not return. But it’s tough to be let go like that. Bill was good to me from day one and I felt we had a good relationship. It could have been very uncomfortable with him coming in a year after I got here.”

    Melvin said the GM offered “some constructive stuff” during the meeting, but wouldn’t be more specific. “I’d love to manage again and I will reflect on what I need to change,” he said. “The experience was great. I think the second time you are clearer on what you want to do as far as implementing things. I was hesitant at first.””

    We still don’t know what the other ‘constructive stuff’ was, that may be more germaine to the firing.

  10. PaulP on October 6th, 2004 2:58 pm

    To #5, Bavasi said in his press conference that he would consider letting Brian Price go so he could be Melvin’s pitching coach. It seemed like that was one of the few situations in which that would be allowed.

  11. msb on October 6th, 2004 3:09 pm

    a-ha, found it; thanks: ‘As for Price, he’ll likely be back in the Seattle dugout in 2005. “I told Bryan Price I’d like him to come back. He wants to come back, but only if the new manager wants him,” Bavasi said. “The only alternative I see is that if Bob gets another job, we’d probably give that team permission to talk to Bryan. They have a close relationship.”‘