“Miracle at Minute Maid”

JMB · October 18, 2005 at 12:23 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

Courtsey of my friend David, who emailed me this one today, I present an article so heavy with cliches that it could have been written by a computer. Rick Rizzs, or Rico, as Dave Valle would call him, would be proud.


89 Responses to ““Miracle at Minute Maid””

  1. Russ on October 19th, 2005 1:22 pm

    Once again, Deanna strikes. lmao.

  2. msb on October 19th, 2005 8:49 pm

    ok, what so what cliches do we need now? 🙂

    the best thing about tonight is that it came after all the talking heads today who announced that there was NO way for the Astros to come back from that crushing defeat the other night

  3. troy on October 19th, 2005 10:17 pm

    But, I thought the “05 Cards were all about finding a way?”

    Well played, Gordo.

  4. LB on October 19th, 2005 11:34 pm

    How does the offseason trade look now: Mulder for Danny Haren, Kiko Calero, and (hitting) prospect Daric Barton?

    Mulder: $6m in 2005 and $7.25m option for 2006. 2005 ERA+ was 117 over 205 IP, but the Cardinals liked him because he was a proven postseason veteran. This postseason, he pitched them to 1 NLDS win (versus NL West scrubs) and 2 NLCS losses.

    Calero: MLB minimum in 2005. Not arb-eligible in 2006. 2005 ERA+ was 139 over 55 IP.

    Haren: MLB minimum wage in 2005. AAV of new contract (incl 2010 option year): $3.88m/year. 2005 ERA+ was 120 over 217 IP.

    Barton: 20 years old. This year, batted .318/.438/.469 in 79 games at high-A Stockton; .316/.410/.491 in 56 games at AA Midland.

    So, why can’t we get a GM who can make trades like that?

  5. Rusty on October 20th, 2005 10:05 am

    I think you have to have someone of the calibur of Mark Mulder, with his record, in order to pull off a trade like this. The M’s haven’t had a guy without trade veto rights of this quality to trade since 1998.

  6. LB on October 20th, 2005 11:52 am

    #56: Freddy Garcia had gone 3-2 with an ERA under 4 in the postseason with the M’s. He was traded after 1998. Mark Mulder had gone 2-2 with an ERA under 3 in the postseason with the A’s.

    Regular season career records for the two pitchers were also pretty close. Before the trades, Freddy was 76-50 with an ERA of 4.15; Mulder was 81-42 with an ERA of 3.92.

    Mulder had the better numbers, but Mulder was no Sandy Koufax and Freddy was no Ryan Franklin.

    So, Olivo, Reed, and Morse? Or Haren, Calero, and Barton? Which is the better package?

  7. Dave on October 20th, 2005 12:06 pm

    The Cardinals traded for two years of Mark Mulder. The White Sox traded for two months of Freddy Garcia. Massive, massive difference.

  8. LB on October 20th, 2005 12:28 pm

    #57: Good point, but how long did it take the White Sox to convert those 2 months (really, 3 months, but who’s gonna be pedantic) to 3 more years?

    The trade happened on June 27; the extension was signed on July 6. I think Chicago had a pretty good idea what they could get what they made the trade, even if Freddy wasn’t legally committed to them.

  9. Dave on October 20th, 2005 2:11 pm

    Certainly, the White Sox understood, thanks to Freddy’s friendship with Ozzie, that they could get him signed relatively quickly. That’s a unique advantage that the White Sox had, though. That advantage wasn’t conveyed to the other 29 teams, and thus, the demand for Freddy wasn’t nearly as high as it was for Mark Mulder, who was under contract for the next two years to whoever traded for him.

    Supply and demand. The demand for Mulder was significantly higher than Mulder, for good reasons, and expecting the M’s to be able to fetch the same for a less valuable object is just unfair.

    The Freddy trade was a great one for the M’s. The Mulder trade was a great one for the A’s. Trying to work a criticism of the M’s front office because Beane got more for Mulder than the M’s did for Garcia is just grasping at straws.

  10. LB on October 20th, 2005 2:45 pm

    Well, we agree that the A’s made a great trade. With the benefit of hindsight, I have trouble seeing how Reed (10 Win Shares in 2005), Olivo (-1 Win Shares) and Morse (5 Win Shares) coming back make Garcia’s a great trade for the M’s. “Best they could do” is not equivalent in my mind to “great.”

    The M’s, it seems to me, could have taken at least two other paths than making the trade they did:

    1) Give Freddy his money, and maybe it would have taken a bit more than the White Sox gave him. I’ll stick a finger in the air and guess that 3/$30m instead of 3/$27m would have gotten it done, though maybe it’s closer to 3/$33m. Whatever the price, if that deal gets done, there’s one less pitcher the M’s have to chase on the thin FA market this offseason, and it looks like Burnett and Millwood are both going to get quite a bit more than that.
    2) Let Freddy finish his contract and walk as a FA, offering him arbitration and improve the team’s position in last year’s Rule 4 draft.

    Which of the three players do you think makes the Freddy trade “great?” Olivo? The M’s shipped him down to San Diego before he even played a full season here. Will Reed get his slugging over .430 or his OBP up to .340? And as for Morse, well, I have a hard time seeing him as “league average” with a bat for a LF-er anytime soon.

    Call me for looking at this with 20/20 hindsight if you like, but that’s the way I’m judging the Mulder trade, too.

  11. Dave on October 20th, 2005 4:21 pm

    It’s a bad way to evaluate trades. If you decide to drive to work tomorrow and get in a 25 car collision, I’m not going to call you an idiot for not taking the bus.

  12. Evan on October 20th, 2005 4:29 pm

    I’m with Dave. Evaluating trades like that is analogous to calling a winning gambler an astute financial planner just because the roulette wheel happened to come up 19.

  13. LB on October 20th, 2005 5:23 pm

    No, it’s not roulette. I think this is more like evaluating a $10,000 investment in a given stock you bought in 1990. You get to decide if that was a good investment in 2005 by looking at the share price today. Why is it a dumb idea to look at how the ballplayers the M’s bought have performed when evaluating the trade?

    Was Bagwell for Anderson a great trade because the Red Sox needed a proven reliever for the 1990 stretch drive and they already had a pretty good third baseman? And was Lowe+Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb a great trade since the M’s needed a proven closer for the 1997 pennant race.

    If you want to say the M’s made the best trade they could once they decided that the only option was to trade Freddy, certainly one can make that case. I’ve given two options for not trading Freddy last year, neither of which seem like a 25-car collision to me.

    If you want to say it was a great trade, period, I’d be really interested to know which player that came back in the deal failed to play up to your expectations. Because the way they’ve played so far, I’d be pretty scared to see what a bad trade would have gotten the M’s.

  14. Dave on October 20th, 2005 6:07 pm

    Perhaps you should consider, LB, that one year doesn’t make or break a player, hmm?

    We’ve written extensively about the Garcia trade. Feel free to use the search site to see our previously written discussions on the topic.

  15. LB on October 20th, 2005 7:35 pm

    #64: Hmm, I guess that is true. When do you think a fair time will be to evaluate if the trade is actually “great?” Three years? More? Less?

    Would you agree that the M’s have given us their verdict on Olivo? To a lesser extent, would you agree that they’ve done so with Morse by virtue of giving the SS job to Betancourt? (Not that I disagree with either move!)

    I have read just about everything you guys wrote on the trade when it happened and since, but I appeciate your directing me to the search button.

  16. Dave on October 20th, 2005 8:06 pm

    Based on the information available at the time, the trade was a fantastic deal. That cannot change as time goes by. Consider this:

    The M’s correctly decided that Freddy Garcia was not worth a long term contract. Trading him is significantly better than receiving draft picks as compensation for him leaving.

    Jeremy Reed, at the time of the deal, was the White Sox best prospect. They got the best player the White Sox could have offered the M’s. Getting down on him after one mediocre rookie season is foolish.

    Miguel Olivo, despite his collosal failure here, was a good pickup. The team had nothing at catcher in the organization, and Olivo was a productive major league backstop. He failed here, but that doesn’t invalidate his acquistion.

    Morse, I’ve never been a big fan of, and I’ve written quite a bit about him. He was a throw-in. No big deal.

    Getting Reed for Garcia would be a good deal. Getting Reed and Olivo for Garcia was a great deal. It was trading 50 cents for a dollar.

    I’m fundamentally opposed to criticizing general managers for not knowing the future. The Garcia trade was a great move. The Beltre signing was a great move. That they did not turn out, in season one, as we had hoped does not invalidate the thinking that went into those decisions.

  17. LB on October 20th, 2005 9:38 pm

    We agree that GM’s cannot be expected to possess an HDTV crystal ball.

    We disagree that Freddy did not deserve a long-term contract. (Maybe we disagree whether or not 3 years is “long-term.”) I’m not at all sure AJ Burnett is worth the 5/$65m offer that’s been reported, and if Freddy were still here for a few more years, maybe AJ would be DOA.

    If I poured a year’s salary into MSFT stock five years ago, I might tell myself until the end of time that the information at the time (current and projected P/E ratio, etc.) justified buying the stock. But the bottom line would still be that as of today, I would have been better served to put the same amount of money into another investment, even if it were as dull and boring as a municipal bond fund.

    I guess we’ll give Jeremy Reed and Freddy both a couple of years and judge the deal at the end of 2007.

  18. Mat on October 20th, 2005 9:54 pm

    To what end does it benefit you to criticize yourself for making a decision that you still feel was justified at the time?

    The results of these sorts of things (trades, stocks) are not deterministic. There’s no way that the optimal strategy will always lead you to the correct choice. So, you have to look at the process more than the results sometimes.

    Now, if your process is consistently giving you bad results, then you need to reevaluate your process. But just because things didn’t turn out in one particular circumstance? That’s a failure to recognize a small sample size when you see one.

  19. LB on October 20th, 2005 10:21 pm

    #68: Bingo. I reevaluated my process.

    Believe me, I’ve bought my share of bad stocks (otherwise known as buying the right stock at the wrong time). Now I avoid single issue stocks. I believe in index funds.

    (And no, I did not kick a year’s salary into MSFT. I just said that to pick an understood amount of money and a well-known symbol.)

  20. eponymous coward on October 20th, 2005 10:31 pm

    The M’s correctly decided that Freddy Garcia was not worth a long term contract.

    I would pretty much agree with everything you say on the trade but that point. If Freddy Garcia was on the FA market this offseason, you’d have to take him over both Millwood and Burnett. Would your argument seriously be that Millwood or Burnett aren’t worth long term contracts either?

    I think what the M’s thought processes were AT THE TIME were they had more than enough “young pitching” to make up for trading Freddy (remember, Bavasi was still only 6 months into his tenure and he’s admitted he thought there was more pitching in the organization than there actually is), plus there available money to spend in free agency (remember we charged hard after Carl Pavano), so they weren’t too worried about not getting an arm back, and that Freddy’s cost AT THE TIME was thus not worth it, in light of his inconsistency. However, they didn’t get anything that strengthened the rotation in the offseason, and pretty much NOTHING has gone the way they’d like as far as young pitching goes, with the exception of Felix- Piñeiro, Meche, Madritsch, Blackley and crew have all disappointed in one way or another. Ooops. Oh, well. Live and learn.

    That being said, I think the return on the deal was reasonable, and the logic wasn’t bad- especially if they had gotten a FA pitcher last offseason to replace Freddy (which I suspect was what Bavasi intended). Sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you’d like- and Dave’s point is absolutely right that judging return based on Reed’s rookie year is a bit unfair.

  21. Mat on October 21st, 2005 12:49 am

    You would have to take Garcia over Burnett or Millwood? I wouldn’t have to. I’d put Freddy up there towards the top of the FA class, but definitely behind Burnett and Millwood.

  22. Dave on October 21st, 2005 5:00 am

    Freddy’s ERA: 3.87. Freddy’s FIP: 4.09. Freddy’s xFIP: 4.12

    His FIP ranked 19th in the American League.

    Giving Freddy a long term deal was the right move. He’s just not that good.

  23. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 8:13 am

    I’d put Freddy up there towards the top of the FA class, but definitely behind Burnett and Millwood.

    Er, why, exactly? Contrast Freddy’s 2001 with Millwood’s 2005. Also consider Millwood’s in his 30’s.

  24. Mat on October 21st, 2005 9:22 am

    Millwood is 1-1.5 years older than Freddy, that’s not even a factor at this point in their careers.

    Why are we comparing Freddy’s age 25 season with Millwood’s age 30 season? Look at their career numbers. On BP’s DT cards, we see that Millwood has a translated K/9 and BB/9 of 6.5 and 2.3. Garcia has rates of 6.1 and 2.8 respectively. So even adjusting for Millwood’s advantage of being in the NL, he’s got a better strikeout rate and a better walk rate. Also, he has an edge in translated ERA 3.74 to 3.59. Garcia’s good, Millwood’s better.

  25. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 9:29 am

    Seriously, go put Freddy though the same workout you gave Millwood and Burnett here:


    and THEN tell me “he’s not that good”.

    Career ERA+ for Millwood and Garcia? 114. Identical.

    Garcia’s inconsistent? Here’s a 5 year stretch of Millwood’s ERAs:


    Heck, if you look at Millwood and Garcia on Baseball Reference, you’ll see they are comps for each other.

    Freddy CLEARLY beats Millwood on durability (his one injury was a broken arm, not a rotator cuff/shoulder/elbow injury that’s a result of wear and tear on the arm. Freddy’s actually remarkably durable.). I forgot Freddy turned 30 this year, age is pretty much a wash, but I’ll put it this way- if Freddy Garcia was on this year’s free agent market, and you said “Millwood’s clearly the superior signing, assuming they’d both sign for the same money”, I’d want you to actually PROVE it.

  26. Dave on October 21st, 2005 9:45 am

    You don’t see an obvious outlier in Millwood’s ERA track the last 4 years? Really?

    Millwood pitched fine in Philly. A ton of his flyballs left the yard, way more than can be expected, and that flukish performance reverted back to the norm in 2005.

    Millwood is so far superior to Garcia that I don’t even see an argument. Its like asking me to prove that $2 is worth more than $1. I can’t see one single area where Garcia has an advantage over Millwood. He’s just not even in the same class of pitchers.

  27. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 9:51 am

    OK, Mat, fair enough.

    Now, let’s look at total WARP from 2002-2004 off of the PECOTA cards:

    Garcia: 16.6
    Millwood: 15.4

    Granted, this doesn’t include 2005 (Advantage: Millwood). It also doesn’t include 2001 (Advantage, Garcia).

    Also not that Garcia’s and Millwood’s career DERA’s are damn near identical.

    My point in comparing 2001 and 2005 is that if you look at things like FIP for Garcia in 2001 or for Millwood in 2005, you’ll see “fluke season” written all over their ERA’s. Basically, neither of them are going to challenge for ERA titles unless they get lucky with the “at’em balls”.

    I really don’t see a big difference between ’em, in terms of what contribution you’ll get from them in your rotation. If Millwood’s has been giving slightly superior results, Freddy’s superior ability to stay healthy probably matches that. If they were on the FA market, you might as well flip a coin on which to pick, assuming they had identical salary demands that you could meet.

    All that being said, I don’t think the decision to trade Freddy was the wrong decision to make at all at the time- there was no guarantee Freddy wouldn’t have walked over to Chicago or elsewhere anyway (which I think was a definite scenario, considering Lincoln’s temper tantrum regarding losing arbitration), and we’d have been left with a draft pick instead of Reed/Olivo/Morse- and had we picked up, say, Matt Clement in the offseason, that combination would have CLEARLY been preferable than just Garcia. It just didn’t work out that way (and even this year, if we pick up Millwood or Burnett, we still could come out ahead). Sometimes that’s how things are.

  28. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 10:15 am

    Here’s Millwood’s 5 year ERA stretch, again:


    Here’s the same 5 year stretch for Garcia:


    You want to add a 6th year into it? Millwood: 4.66. Garcia: 3.91.

    That’s 6 years of what they did done, not xFIP, FIP, or ay other fancy stat that projects future ERA better than ERA does. Explain to me why it’s improbable that Millwood will have an ERA somewhere in the 4’s next year, when it’s happened 3 out of his last 6 years- especially when the FIP and xFIP YOU cited clearly show his ERA title’s not a clear indication of his level of ability?

    And yeah, Millwood’s so clearly superior that Garcia scores out as one of his comps on Baseball Reference (with the only HOF pitcher showing up on either of their comps being Jim Bunning, with contemporaries like Bartolo Colon, Jason Schmidt and Matt Morris being far more common). Tell me, is Millwood clearly superior to Jason Schmidt? Is Schmidt superior to Garcia? What about Bartolo Colon?

    Basically, I consider Millwood/Colon/Garcia/Schmidt as all being in the same general class of pitcher- right-handed, B-list 2/3 guys. “Rotation anchors”, not “aces”. None of them is going to the HOF without buying a ticket, they’re all capable of pretty decent, 115 ERA+, 200+ IP seasons (but they’ll vary a lot around that ERA+ depending on defense/park factors), and they all have slightly different upsides/downsides (a lot based on injury history). Their ages are comparable, and they show up on BR comp lists for each other. They’ll occasionally have years where they end up high in Cy Young voting, but they can’t hit those peaks consistently. They’ll occasionally have crap years too, but they come back to a mean of 115 ERA+ or so.

    And THAT’S why I consider ’em “pick ’em” when it comes to signing one for a FA contract. I suspect plain dumb luck (who gets a good defense/park behind them, who stays injury-free, who gets a lot of at’em balls) is more of a determinant of which one of them performs better over the life of a contract. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  29. Dave on October 21st, 2005 10:27 am

    That’s fine. You just overvalue Freddy Garcia.

    And Jason Schmidt, when he’s not hurt, is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else you just mentioned.

  30. Colm on October 21st, 2005 10:38 am

    Blimey, there is life after blog-thread death.

  31. Colm on October 21st, 2005 10:38 am

    Blimey, there is life after blog-thread death.

  32. Mat on October 21st, 2005 12:35 pm


    You don’t want to use WARP to compare Garcia and Millwood. Whoever would be pitching in Seattle, they wouldn’t be hitting. Over 2002-2004, though, Millwood’s WARP is negatively affected by his -17 batting runs over replacement. Their pitching runs above replacement over that period (which go into WARP) are 171 to 191, which is an edge to Garcia, but with the caveat that Millwood’s 2004 in Philadelphia was probably fluky.

  33. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 1:26 pm

    How about VORP as a comparison, then? Net VORP since both players were in the league (1999), per BP:

    Millwood: 210.1 VORP /7 years = 30 VORP/year

    Garcia: 319.5 VORP/7 years = 46 VORP/year

    This might surprise you: Garcia’s VORP this year 45.6) is pretty damned close to Millwood’s (52.3), higher xFIP and all. Why? Injuries- Garcia got several extra starts Millwood didn’t because of injuries. Good thing the Indians couldn’t have used an extra couple starts from their best pitcher to improve their chances of making the playoffs, huh? Oh, wait…

    The argument that “X (Millwood, Schmidt, Brown, Ken Girffey) is a better player than Y (Garcia, Kenny Rogers, Mike Cameron) when healthy” has a rather serious caveat- which is that your contribution to a team as a player is directly affected by your ability to stay healthy. It’s the old “my aunt would be my uncle if she had testicles argument”- we’re not talking about what your contribution would be an an ideal world where no-one gets injured, we’re talking about real-world contributions, where you don’t help your team win if you’re on the DL. If you want a more rarified example of that argument, Mickey Mantle was, at his peak, clearly a better player than Willie Mays. It’s not really that close, even. Mays still contributed more to his teams overall, though, because he stayed in the lineup better during a couple of years where Mickey missed playing time, and was still playing pretty well everyday in CF at a time when Mickey was well below his peak at 1B or hitting the golf links in retirement. So I understand the difference between “someone who is better but gets injured more” (Millwood) and “someone who stays around at a somewhat lower peak” (Garcia). And my argument is, gimme the guy who’s netted 45 VORP the last 7 years over the guy who’s netted 30, and I’ll take my chances.

  34. Dave on October 21st, 2005 1:42 pm

    VORP for pitchers is basically a useless tool.

  35. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 2:12 pm

    Yeah, the fact that VORP for pitchers shows that, say, Johan Santana’s been the best pitcher in the AL the last two years clearly shows it has no ability to convey useful information at all. I imagine that’s a completely random artifact, just like the fact that I can also use it to show that Mariano Rivera’s been one of the best relievers in baseball for the last 10 years, because we all know that useless statistical tools are quite prone to helping you make statements like these.

    Care to elucidate? Or is the argument “my statistical analysis tools are better than yours, nyah nyah nyah”?

    Yeah, I know that according to VORP, Ryan Franklin was a very good pitcher in 2003, and we all know he wasn’t, really. If you used ERA, you’d get the same (incorrect) conclusion. But I’d argue it’s the same sort of conclusion if you thought Brady Anderson was a great home run hitter based on his 50 home run season- the sample size is too small and we got a fluke result. The difference is we’re not talking one fluke season here- we can objectively compare Garcia and Millwood’s over a period of time using various statistics and find, gee, there’s no huge, vast, immense gap between their overall performances in Millwood’s favor. Yeah, Millwood had a crappy year in 2004. You want to argue that’s a fluke of being in Philly. Fine. So, what was his excuse in 2001 (ERA: 4.31) and 2000 (ERA: 4.66) in Atlanta, where he basically had league-average ERA for two years (that is, when he wasn’t on the DL and not contributing to his team at all), much like Garcia did in 2002 and 2003?

  36. Dave on October 21st, 2005 2:34 pm

    VORP gives credit to pitchers for things that are not inherent abilities, but instead functions of context.

    I’m not trying to be rude, but I really don’t have time to put together the rebuttal you’re looking for. Basically, it comes down to this; you want to evaluate the pitchers using metrics that give Garcia credit for things that I give him no credit for. That causes you to overrate him, in my opinion.

  37. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 3:47 pm

    Seven years is an awfully long time to have a context illusion based on team defense and context- this isn’t Ryan Franklin, one year wonder we’re discussing here. Has Garcia had a lot of help from his defense and his ballpark? Sure. And someone who’s pitched in the NL and for Atlanta during much of that time doesn’t have some adjustment based on ballpark and context?

    You pointed out yourself Millwood’s 2005 FIP ERA is 3.77 and Garcia’s is 4.09. That’s simply not a vast difference in performance out of a starting pitcher (it’s a grand total of SEVEN runs per 200 IP)- especially when you add in the replacement-level starter who gets to make up the handful of starts Millwood tends to miss, the difference is less than seven runs. If “as far as pitchers go, Millwood’s basically as little of an injury risk as you’re going to find. He’s an innings eater and has proven quite durable”, what the hell does that make Freddy? And why is 2005 a true gauge of Millwood’s value over Freddy, but 2004 doesn’t count, or 2001 (where you can’t reasonably assert that Millwood outperformed Freddy)?

  38. eponymous coward on October 21st, 2005 4:33 pm

    This whole argument just gave me the redass (with all due respect to Dave), so in between builds and debugging Perl scripts I went and looked up 2004 FIP stats from Hardball Times for fun.


    Garcia’s 2004 FIP ERA: 3.91 (in a league where league-average is 4.64)
    Millwood’s 2004 FIP: 3.82 (in a league where league-average is 4.31)

    Note that their 2004 and 2005 FIP ERAs are pretty damn close to one another- Garcia goes from 3.91 to 4.09, Millwood goes from 3.82 to 3.77.

    Note, however, that Millwood’s pitched 333 innings the last two years. Freddy’s pitched 438. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out what effect that should have on judging their relative performance.

    So, uh, yeah, not going to retract my assertion that Freddy’s in the same class as Millwood in favor of saying “he’s just not that good” based on what I’m seeing so far.

  39. LB on October 21st, 2005 7:48 pm

    88: EC, It seems to me that you have made a good FIP-based case that “Freddy did not deserve a long term contract” is at least not as cut-and-dried as it seems.

    I think in your post #70, you also nailed the state of the FO’s thinking that there was enough young pitching in the farm system so the M’s wouldn’t miss Freddy. In fact, I remember Bavasi’s statement on the radio after they traded Freddy that the M’s were “a pitching rich organization” (his words, they stuck in my mind) and that they were going to bet the next few years of the franchise (my words, since I don’t have a transcript, but his tone) on that assessment.

    Aside from Felix, that bet sure looks like it was a bad one.

    I’m as far from an expert at evaluating minor league pitching as you can get. It seems to me to be a reasonable expectation that a GM should have a pretty good idea about that issue within his own organization, if not throughout professional baseball. An apologist for Bavasi might say, “Well, it was June 2003 and Bavasi was new to the M’s. You have to cut the guy some slack.” Aside from that, I don’t know how you’d defend him.