Thiel: yay continuity

DMZ · September 29, 2006 at 11:50 am · Filed Under Mariners 

His PI column today

Which argues, pretty much, that firing Bavasi & Hargrove wouldn’t have helped

Unless it can be established that a manager/GM is incompetent or lazy, sports-franchise firings usually, but not always, are PR stunts for hapless organizations (that would include at one time the Yankees, who went without playoffs from 1981 to 1995 and fired so many managers and executives that the final total awaits confirmation from the archeological record, like Pompeii).

Makes a weird stop in the middle to make an error:

The Mariners are owned by a Japanese billionaire, who in 14 seasons has never seen his team play, takes serious interest only in his countrymen and never has been personally accountable to the Mariners fan base.

The Mariners aren’t owned by a Japanese billionaire and haven’t been in some time. Majority ownership is Nintendo of America. You could argue that amounts to the same thing, but he is not the owner.

And ends up with

They each made mistakes, the team made some progress, and both guys have a guaranteed year on their contracts that would have been Mariners money out the window had they been fired.

In the end, a third consecutive last-place finish for one of the game’s wealthiest franchises is the fault of everyone in general, and no one in particular. So the bosses chose to stick with a direction, because the other choice was to get back into the hamster wheel.

I disagree that you had to fire both of them.
I disagree that being under contract should confer any kind of job security.
I disagree that Hargrove didn’t particularly contribute to the problem.
I disagree that going 20-15 after an eleven-game losing streak proves anything about the team, much less Hargrove.

I understand the point that firings are often pointless scapegoating. But if you’re going to raise that question, and Thiel does make some kinda anti-Lincoln statements, we shoud be talking in some detail about how they’re the root cause, not shrugging our shoulders and going “mehhh”.


55 Responses to “Thiel: yay continuity”

  1. Livengood on September 29th, 2006 5:51 pm

    Graham wrote:

    “I have a real hard time labelling Sexson and Beltre as busts.”

    I’m not sure they are accurately described as “busts” either, but it is fair to criticize the moves on a performance relative to contract basis. Also, I think the Sexson contract is more subject to fair criticism than the Beltre deal, and was at the time the deal was made.

    Sexson was coming off a bad shoulder injury, caused simply by swinging a bat, and some thought it difficult to assess the risk of it being (or becoming) chronic. He had already turned 30 by the time he signed with Seattle, for a ridiculously high ($50M), too long (4 years) and back-loaded ($44M of the $50M, including pro-rated bonus, over the last three years of the deal). If you look at Sexson’s “most similar” player comps at, all of the players who have already hit 30 on that list fell of a cliff at an age when Richie will be right in the middle of his contract, making $14M a year. Although Richie has basically been a productive hitter in all but two months of his Seattle career, there is still plenty of reason to think his will be a huge albatross contract sometime over the next two seasons.

    In contrast, Beltre had not yet had his 26th birthday when he was signed, and was coming off a year in which he finished #2 in NL MVP voting. There was (and remains) plenty of reason to think Beltre was just coming into his peak years, which should last through the life of the contract he signed.

    Though both players have played well this year from June on, Beltre is probably the better bet to sustain it over the course of the next couple of years, simply based on an expectation of age-related decline for Sexson. Though they signed for roughly the same average annual salary (including bonus), Beltre was (and is, even though thus far Richie has been more consistently productive) the far more likely bet to produce throughout the life of the contract than Sexson.

  2. DMZ on September 29th, 2006 5:59 pm

    This site does tend to give Bavasi a pass, while ranking on Hargrove.

    I disagree, and for a couple reasons. Because Hargrove’s in front of us 162 games, we rightfully have much more frequent opportunity to observe his actions and criticize them. So I understand that in raw terms of words expended, sure.

    But we’ve given Bavasi the same hard time when we disagree with him. Our reactions this off-season were pretty clear: we hated the Everett signing, we hated the Washburn signing, and we weren’t happy about the Ibanez extension (though that’s not a Bavasi thing).

    There was no pass there, and if we haven’t been particularly critical in a while, that’s the cyclical nature of the GM’s work. I’m sure before the season starts it’ll look like we beat on Bavasi too much and Hargrove gets off easy.

  3. Bodhizefa on September 29th, 2006 6:07 pm

    It’s not that Bavasi or Hargrove are dispassionate, it’s that they are so corporate and PC. The whole organization is. This is baseball, not Nintendo.

    What’s funny is that in the videogaming industry, Nintendo is the team always looking to do things differently — the road less traveled, so to speak. It’s too bad they’ve opted for the status quo approach in baseball instead.

  4. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 29th, 2006 6:15 pm

    I understand giving him somewhat of a pass on typical GM stuff. As with evaluating the manager (the other thread), it’s a very hard position to find reliable methods and measurements from which one can objectively evaluate success or failure in relative terms.

    But…on the issue of his advocating on behalf of Hargrove’s return, he’s getting a pass. Or, maybe people commenting just haven’t read whatever article(s) it was that I was reading this morning (perhaps Larue in the TNT…) that talked explicitly about how Bavasi advocated more fiercely on behalf of Hargrove than he did for himself (not at all).

    From comments last year and earlier this year (inclusive of Bavasi’s seeming disgust with Hargrove’s 12 man bullpen thing, though he said that was Mike’s decision), it seemed like Bavasi was never really on Hargrove’s side. But perhaps that was incorrect (perception on my part, or others as well).

  5. Steve T on September 29th, 2006 7:29 pm

    I was right. I said in April or May that the things Hargrove was being criticized for here are the very kinds of things that ensure his survival with the brass. More recently I said again that there was no way he would be fired this year or afterwards. Maybe next year, midseason, if we are floundering. Unofortunately, I think we are likely to be doing just that.

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