Mariners to season ticket holders: Bavasi, Hargrove to return
With commentary. Short version: Lincoln/Armstrong says “Bill Bavasi will continue to lead our baseball operations and Mike Hargrove will continue to manage the team.”
The full letter, with extra snarky comments, after the break.
With the 2006 baseball season about to conclude, the Seattle Mariners would like to thank you for your support and share our thoughts as we look ahead to 2007.
It would have been great if they’d just left this blank, to mirror the ownership’s general cluelessness.
Or put “duh” and then signed off. I would have accepted that, too.
Although this was our third consecutive losing season, there were a number of bright spots and several areas of improvement on the team this year, which are discussed in more detail below. We are well aware that your patience is not infinite. Neither is ours. Like you, we wish the rebuilding process was much quicker and that the Mariners would be in the playoffs next week. We remain determined to get things turned around as quickly as we possibly can, and in doing so, we ask for your continued patience.
We’re experiencing technical difficulties. “Full House” will return in a moment.
While our goal remains the same – to bring a World Championship to Seattle – we recognize that you will judge us by the results. We know that there is still a great deal of work to do to get us to our goal and that you, like us, are anxious to see some concrete progress. Well, we do think we have made progress!
After reviewing all aspects of our organization and looking ahead, we believe that:
â€¢ The Mariners are much better at both the Major League and minor league levels than we were in 2004, when the rebuilding process began. The talent level is better and deeper and gives us the flexibility to make trades that will help us.
â€¢ More pieces of the puzzle are in place today than a year ago. The emergence of shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, second baseman Jose Lopez, catcher Kenji Johjima and outfielder Chris Snelling have solidified several key positions for us. Along with veterans Raul IbaÃ±ez, Ichiro Suzuki, Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, there is a good foundation in place to build upon.
Uhhhh… so is the implication here that Sexson/Beltre/Ichiro are all going to be back? Because that’s going to do a lot to keep the team from improving next year.
â€¢ Our bullpen, with J.J. Putz, Rafael Soriano, Julio Mateo, Mark Lowe, George Sherrill, Jake Woods and several other young arms, is a strength. It allows us to build the pitching staff from back to front, and our main off-season focus will be on upgrading the starting rotation. Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn are the only current starters under contract beyond this season.
“Back to front”? What the heck does that mean? Is that the roster construction version of “shortening the game”?
â€¢ During the second half of the season, the Mariners became the second youngest team in Major League Baseball (only the Florida Marlins were younger), including the youngest pitching staff. This transition from a veteran team was by design and it bodes well for the future. The first step for young players is to establish themselves as quality Major Leaguers. The next step is for them to grow together as a “team,” a winning team that evolves into a legitimate contender.
Oooooooooh boy, the grow-together-as-a-team. Instead of sending players to winter ball, they’re going to send them to winter camp, where they’ll roast marshmellows and tell ghost stories. Wheee!
Also: the move to youth generally, sure. But they signed Carl Everett last off-season and gave Ibanez a ridiculous extension. Was it a weighted youth movement?
â€¢ Our farm system has become much more productive. Prior to the roster expansion on September 1, 19 of the 25 players on our roster were either products of our farm system or originally signed by the Mariners (Ichiro, Kenji, Sherrill).
That’s a weird metric to use, but oookay.
â€¢ The Mariners have shown steady improvement over the past three seasons, with win totals increasing from 63 to 69 to 76 (with three games to play this weekend), including a 42-36 mark at Safeco in front of the home crowds.
That’s not a particularly hard mark to improve on. They’re kind of bragging about how awful the 2004 retooling was (and they didn’t go into that as a rebuilding year, either).
â€¢ We have more work to do. And we believe that we have the right people in place to get the job done. Bill Bavasi will continue to lead our baseball operations and Mike Hargrove will continue to manage the team. We believe that they are the right people to lead us to the next level. We have great confidence in their abilities. In our view, continuity of leadership is extremely important at this point in time.
If the ownership of the team wants us to know that they have great confidence in Hargrove, doesn’t that tell us that their confidence is worthless? That they really, truly are unable to judge managerial talent? Or, at the very least, that they’re lying to us?
As Ralph Malph commented: If Mike Hargrove is uniquely qualified to lead a young team, then Iâ€™m uniquely qualified to perform neurosurgery on wombats.
And if the other message is that continuity of leadership is more important than competence, what are we to take from that?
Under Bill’s watch, we have seen a dramatic improvement in our scouting and player development departments, which has already resulted in several top prospects climbing quickly up the minor league ladder and playing key roles for us this year.
Mike is uniquely equipped to lead a young team. His experience in developing and dealing with young players is one of the reasons we hired him in the first place. And we have watched as Mike has kept all his players – veterans and young players alike – focused and playing hard every day of the season. We bounced back from the tough road trip in August by winning series from the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Tigers, and continued to play well in September.
I can’t even believe that.
Mike is uniquely equipped to lead a young team.
This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard from M’s ownership. Hargrove has demonstrated, over and over again, that he prefers experience to talent, age to youth, is a poor judge of talent, a poor in-game manager. What are those unique qualifications, exactly?
I cannot believe that Hargrove has the endorsement of ownership, much less that he’s returning next year. Whether or not the team played well in selected series late in the season, whether or not they had a winning record at home, Hargrove went through stretches this year where he could not do right, running the team out of games, mismanaging the bullpen. The Twins may well owe their playoff berth to the M’s, who laid down for them mid-season, after which the Twins pulled themselves together and went on a long run of success. The A’s ran circles around the M’s. They were trounced by divisional opponents.
Hargrove is not a good manager. He’s not a good manager of young teams in particular, but he’s not a good manager in general.
This is appalling.
This is where things stand as we prepare for a busy off-season. Our ownership group will continue to provide the necessary financial resources for the club’s success. Their goal is to get the Mariners back to the playoffs and bring a World Series to our fans in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Uh huh. Soooo… payroll cuts?
Along with you, nearly 2.5 million fans enjoyed watching Major League Baseball at Safeco Field this past season. The fan support has been remarkable. In addition to our commitment to the team itself, we are also committed to making Safeco Field a special place where you, your family and guests can enjoy a first-class entertainment experience in a safe, clean and family-friendly environment.
That’s the M’s, folks: they’re the Family Fun Center with the Moose in a uniform. Yayyyy!
Once again, we appreciate and thank you for your support of Mariners Baseball.
I wish I could return the thought.
Chief Executive Officer Chuck Armstrong
Chief Operating Officer