Brundage out

DMZ · October 9, 2006 at 12:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Dave Brundage, manager of the Rainiers, former manager of the Missions (where he earned all kinds of accolades), won’t be back next year. The M’s organizational shakeup continues, it seems.

Previous Brundage mentions on USSM here and here.


96 Responses to “Brundage out”

  1. Eleven11 on October 9th, 2006 2:45 pm

    OK, now that’s an interesting post DMZ. According to Lincoln, Bill and Grover are on a win or go status now, chained together. It appeared that Rohn was vocal and got fired. Now, is it likely that all this is connected in that some organization types had back door channels above Bill’s head and used them last year? If his back is to the wall, he does not need or want anything from anyone going that route. Close?

  2. Oly Rainiers Fan on October 9th, 2006 3:20 pm

    #49: and if you’re not a supporter of that philosophy and it affects your bottom-line profit cuz you want your minor league team to be competitive instead of just a training camp…(like say, if you’re one of our minor league affilliates), you’re also out. Out signing affiliation agreements with, oh, somebody like the Padres.

  3. DMZ on October 9th, 2006 3:35 pm

    When Bavasi says “get with the program,” what exactly is his program?

    Bavasi’s been very clear and open that he likes to promote prospects far more aggressively than other organizations. In his view, he wants them to struggle and overcome adversity before they’re promoted to the majors and face that level of competition.

    Now, whether that’s a good approach or not is beside the point of this discussion.

    Now, is it likely that all this is connected in that some organization types had back door channels above Bill’s head and used them last year? If his back is to the wall, he does not need or want anything from anyone going that route. Close?

    I don’t understand what you’re asking.

  4. msb on October 9th, 2006 3:41 pm

    #40– yes. Oct. 29, 2004– New Mariners manager Mike Hargrove yesterday hired Ron Hassey as the team’s bench coach. … “Ron is a good baseball man with a lot to offer,” Hargrove said yesterday. “He worked with Don Baylor in Colorado and Tony La Russa in St. Louis, and was a big part of the World Series teams in Oakland. Ron’s very creative and will be a good fit here in Seattle.”

  5. Eleven11 on October 9th, 2006 3:44 pm

    Speculation only. Sounded like, from your post that a common thread may run through all of this. That thread may be minor league or other managers going back channel with complaints about handling of personnel and such. Was not really asking for a response because only Bill B really knows.

  6. JAS on October 9th, 2006 3:57 pm

    I’m not sure why Dave overreacted to Jim Thompsen? Some history there? Jim makes a valid point – as valid as any speculation spewed since:

    “More people get fired the hotter the boss’ seat.” Jim’s point seems clear to me. He has as much chance of being correct as anyone.

    As far as the organization philosophy: “promote to adversity” is hardly equivalent to the Oakland walk-rate philosophy. What KIND of players is Bavasi trying to develop??????

  7. oNeiRiC232 on October 9th, 2006 4:17 pm

    I may be mistaken but I remember hearing gripes about how recent callups including Blackley, Nageotte, et al bombed and were called soft because they supposedly didn’t experience enough adversity in the minors.

    So I would speculate that Bavasi’s spectacularly brilliant plan is to develop any kind of player that’s not like them. Apparently even if it’s worse?

  8. Jim Thomsen on October 9th, 2006 4:20 pm

    Let’s not needlessly stir the pot here. I have a lot of respect for Dave, and he’s right — I’m offering opinions based on things I don’t definitively know to be true. Rather than get ugly about it — it is his forum, after all — I’m just going to see what emerges to be true, and get on with my life in the meantime.

    Let’s just say I don’t have much faith in Bill Bavasi’s judgment of personnel, and leave it at that.

  9. Mr. Egaas on October 9th, 2006 4:27 pm

    Is interfering with the system top down as common as it may seem? Beane comes off as a bit of a Nazi, controlling and worrying about every little thing including a line-up from day to day.

    I’m not sure Bavasi is that way.

  10. Vidya on October 9th, 2006 4:32 pm

    #48. Bocachica is busy playing in the ALCS.

    I’m from Tacoma and especially like Dan Rohn. I didn’t go to enough games this summer to get a personal feeling on Dave Brundage. I do know a lot of fans liked him. Dave Meyers was a favorite as a third base coach under Lou. He was the first coach to get a bobblehead. Well, sort of. It was sad to learn how far he had fallen under Bavasi.

    I know that Bavasi wants to move players quickly through the system and that seems like a good idea to me. I just don’t understand how firing these guys relates to that. If Bavasi had some organizational philosophy like “more OBP” then why hasn’t he stated it?

    Loyalty is a two-way thing. If he wants more loyalty, why would he fire some of the most loyal coaches in the system?

    All I see from these moves is that Bill is feeling very comfortable in his position and is moving the guys he likes into the positions he wants them. He may not have felt so comfortable last year. I don’t seem him as being on any kind of “hot seat” at all. I think he feels very secure.

  11. eponymous coward on October 9th, 2006 4:44 pm

    What KIND of players is Bavasi trying to develop??????

    I’m not really sure you can discern much of a theme in terms of what KIND of players Bavasi is developing, personally, if you look at Bavasi’s time at Anaheim, LA and Seattle. You get everything from Troy Glaus to David Eckstein.

    That being said:

    Darin Erstad: signed pro contract, July 26, 1995. MLB debut: June 14, 1996
    Troy Glaus: signed pro contract, September 29, 1997. MLB debut: July 31, 1998

    So, yeah, that’s kind of a trend.

  12. Mr. Egaas on October 9th, 2006 5:07 pm

    Dave Meyers was a favorite as a third base coach under Lou. He was the first coach to get a bobblehead. Well, sort of. It was sad to learn how far he had fallen under Bavasi.

    I freakin’ hate Dave Meyers. That Dave ‘late to throw up a stop sign and tear up Doyle’s knee back in the day’ Meyers. What a hack.

  13. DMZ on October 9th, 2006 5:11 pm



    Come on now.

  14. Jim Thomsen on October 9th, 2006 5:43 pm

    And can we stop blaming Myers for Snelling’s injury? That’s been examined and discredited.

  15. msb on October 9th, 2006 5:49 pm

    no 🙂

  16. Steve T on October 9th, 2006 6:01 pm

    I’m interested in the question of what kind of players Bavasi is interested in, and what kind of coaching he wants from his coaches up and down the system. Because on the face of it, it looks like he has a serious preference for free-swinging hackers and aggressive baserunners to the point of stupidity. Is there anyone in the organization committed to patience and the base on balls? Because until that happens this team is going to continue to underperform.

    Does the Brundage firing shed any light on that all?

  17. Bobby Valentine's Porn Mustache on October 9th, 2006 6:17 pm

    “Promote to adversity” can also be rephrased as the Peter Principle.

  18. Herb R on October 9th, 2006 6:22 pm

    56, I share your assessment. Whether or not Jim was bothered by it, I was.

  19. JMB on October 9th, 2006 6:28 pm

    Yeah. Otherwise you’re talking about Chad Meyers.

    And I don’t know about Erstad, but Glaus was a pretty advanced college player.

  20. David J. Corcoran I on October 9th, 2006 6:37 pm

    67: At least we aren’t following the Dilbert Principle and promoting our best prospects straight to management, skipping their playing careers altogether.

  21. Mike Snow on October 9th, 2006 6:48 pm

    I don’t know about Erstad, but Glaus was a pretty advanced college player.

    Erstad was only the first pick overall in the draft out of the University of Nebraska. And both of them performed well enough in the minors to justify their promotions.

    Bavasi’s drafting record in Seattle isn’t long enough to compare with these cases. A catcher and a pitcher would have different timetables, even leaving aside the health issues that have slowed down Clement and Morrow. But while Clement has been pushed, I’m not sure Bavasi would have brought him to the majors already even if there had been no hiccups.

  22. terry on October 9th, 2006 7:14 pm

    Ms moves aren’t tantamount to executing loyalists in a feudal town square???????

    What the F%&K????? Why did I buy my Ms jersey this season then? 😛

  23. docmwj on October 9th, 2006 7:25 pm

    Re: #67

    “The implication of the Peter Principle for an organization as a whole is that the organization is prone to collapse when the number of incompetents among its ranks reaches a critical mass, resulting in the inability of the organization to perform its functions.”

    Sound familiar?

    Nice reference…mj

  24. Oly Rainiers Fan on October 9th, 2006 7:50 pm

    Awesome – I love the twisted insight that brings us ‘promote to adversity’ = ‘peter principle’. Awesome.

  25. firova on October 9th, 2006 9:46 pm

    23. “Gillick . . .did far more harm to this organization than he ever did good. For all his “winning”, he brought us exactly zero appearances in the World Series, ran off a slew of players who had bright futures here, and left the organization in a burning rubble when he walked away.”

    As a defense, this one is wanting. Dave, what part of the 393-255 record, the only consecutive playoff appearances, and the two ACLS series against the Yankees, and the 116-win season needs to be qualified with quotation marks? You can’t say both that Gillick did it wrong and that the winning doesn’t count. It counts. It is in the record books. We all remember it, and you were probably happy about it, too, warming up to those showdowns with the Yankees. Nothing wrong with October excitement once in a while. Why do you think everyone’s in a bad mood around here and questioning the firing of a minor league manager? It was real. Gillick was both shortsighted and successful. While it lasted.

    And who were the players Gillick ran off? Griffey? Rodriguez? Injury-prone Carlos Guillen never performed in Seattle the way he has in Detroit, and it was Bavasi who only got Santiago back in return. Mike Cameron? Maybe. You’ll have to convince me.

    “His entire focus while he was GM was to sacrifice the future to win in the present. In spite of that, the team still failed to even reach the World Series, and he jumped off the sinking ship right as it hit the iceberg.”

    There are some other GMs whose teams have not appeared in, much less won, the World Series. I don’t know how anyone can be a fan for any length of time anywhere if that is the standard. But while Gillick’s philosophy surely was not a long-term vision, at least the critique should include the fact that the strategy did bring about the most successful four year run, by far, in franchise history. If he did it wrong, he nevertheless succeeded on his own intentionally shortsighted terms. No amount of slamming him is going to erase that. A big “although” needs to be employed here. And yes, the rat left the ship as he had done before. The Talleyrand of MLB.

    “The Mariners would have been exponentially better off had Pat Gillick never been hired. His tenure in Seattle was a disaster for the organization.”

    It just isn’t that simple. There are too many angles beyond the farm system, from the actual on-field performance, to attendance, general fan excitement, national media exposure, the remarkable All-Star Game filled with Mariners because of the great season, and so on. It should be sufficient to critique the Gillick regime, as you have done on several occasions, by analyzing a shortsighted strategy that left the team lurching by late 2003. But statements like these just don’t hold up under scrutiny. It is preposterous to say that they would have been “exponentially” better off given that they won as they did, at a percentage that actually was exponentially better than in a couple of years of the francise’s sorry history (I actually remember the 56-win 1978 Mariners–you might feel less animosity toward Gillick had you suffered through that season with Leon Roberts leading the charge). It is just as hamhanded and unnuanced an analysis as those that say Pat Gillick is some kind of baseball genius.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that people would gladly trade the four-year record for a much worse one, complete with no playoff appearances, if only the team had been constructed the “right way,” because surely we would be in the midst of an even better four-year run that will turn into Atlanta, only with more rings. Even the best of times have to be qualified, and it takes some of the fun out of it. Oakland does it right, and maybe Beane will get his first Series appearance this year–he’s still tied with the Mariners in that department. What happened to Cleveland? Detroit got roasted for signing injury-prone free agents like Rodriguez and Ordondez to big contracts, but along with the youngsters, they won this year. It’s a crazy game.

  26. PFK on October 9th, 2006 11:03 pm

    I also think the Gillick bashing is too easy and too cheap. When Gillick was here, we felt we were building a tremendous amount of pitching talent in Tacoma. I’m not sure I share the perception that our farm system is better now by comparison. My recollection is that the won-lost record of our farm teams back in 2001 was better than today. Unfortunately, most of the pitching talent that we stockpiled in Tacoma crashed with injuries. Whether it was overuse or bad luck I don’t know, but if the Little Unit, Nageotte, Blackley and others hadn’t developed sore arms, perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to damn Gillick today for depleting our talent. Instead, we might be praising him for developing talent that fit our ballpark. Gillick at least seemed to have a strategy which fit Safeco: pitching, defense and speed. Gillick picked up Sasaki, Nelson and Rhodes and suddenly our bullpen was lights out. If we had a lead after sixth the game was over. And we picked up players like Olerud, McLemore, and Javier, to create a team with better OBP and useful flexibility. Who gives him credit for that? And perhaps its not an accident that Gillick was also successful in other cities. I think Gillick’s overall work and body of results is difficult to dismiss with such self-confidence. Does Bavasi track record measure up? I think Bavasi’s record here is very mixed. He’s had some good international hires with Yubet and Kenji, and Raul has worked out nicely (though he should be the DH), but on average he’s made a lot of losing hires and trades. More importantly, the team no longer seems matched to the ballpark. The outfield defense is marginal; our OBP is abysmal; and our starting pitching is almost non-existent.

  27. DMZ on October 9th, 2006 11:10 pm

    To think firing a AAA manager would provoke such a Gillick discussion.

  28. bongo on October 9th, 2006 11:50 pm

    I went to two Aquasox games this year, and the team appeared poorly prepared. Lots of errors, throwing to the wrong base, etc. The level of play in the field was particularly shocking given the quality of infield play back when Asdrubral Cabrera was on the team.

    Meyers didn’t even appear particularly involved in the game. When Dan Rohn managed the Rainiers, he would be one of the more animated third base coaches, giving signs, cajoling, encouraging, etc. Meyers sat in the dugout, didn’t come out once during the game, left pitchers in long after they should have been pulled, etc.

    I was not at all surprised when Dave Meyers was fired, and when I heard about it I thought “what took them so long?”

  29. Jim Thomsen on October 9th, 2006 11:55 pm

    #74: I think the Peter Principle was named after Peter Bavasi.

  30. JMHawkins on October 10th, 2006 12:01 am

    And who were the players Gillick ran off? Griffey? Rodriguez? Injury-prone Carlos Guillen never performed in Seattle the way he has in Detroit, and it was Bavasi who only got Santiago back in return. Mike Cameron? Maybe. You’ll have to convince me.

    I wasn’t sure if Dave was talking about these guys, or about prospects we lost signing free agents. I thougth it was the latter, and it would be really interesting to look at the list and where they are now, if anyone has it.

    I’m more neutral on the Gillick question. I’ll give him credit for back-to-back ALCS appearances. But I also recognize the barren cupboard he left behind and the failure to bolster either of the playoff teams, or the two 90-win teams that came after. The more I think of the ’02 season, the more angry I am at the M’s FO for missing an opportunity. If they were going for the “build it with FA” strategy, why was James Baldwin the big addition to the pitching staff?

    Anyhoo, back to the topic of fired managers and coaches, does anyone know yet why Hassey got the axe when Hargrove didn’t? I thought Bench Coaches were almost always the Manager’s pick.

  31. Mr. Egaas on October 10th, 2006 12:12 am

    Speaking of old M’s office…

    Lou Piniella will be in the Fox broadcast booth for the ALCS! WOOHOO!

  32. DMZ on October 10th, 2006 12:53 am

    Myers! Seriously, it’s not that hard. It’s M, then a y… this is not the question that makes or breaks your 1600 SAT score, it’s the guy’s name.

  33. firova on October 10th, 2006 5:08 am

    77. DMZ, you could have made that comment fifty posts earlier when one of your own stoked that particular fire.

  34. gwangung on October 10th, 2006 8:48 am

    Instead, we might be praising him for developing talent that fit our ballpark. Gillick at least seemed to have a strategy which fit Safeco: pitching, defense and speed.

    Except….that WASN’T what won at Safeco. Perhaps you’re taking the wrong lesson from the Gillick years (much like Howard Lincoln….)

  35. Ralph Malph on October 10th, 2006 9:03 am

    I don’t think it’s fair to say “I went to 2 games and the team didn’t look prepared therefore he’s a bad manager”. That all depends on what the guy had to work with.

    It’s short season rookie ball. Some of those kids are 18-19 years old. Of course they’re going to make a lot of mental errors. He was there to work with them and make them get better. I have no idea whether he was good at that or not. I don’t think your 2 games watching the team give you much more information to make that judgment.

  36. The Ancient Mariner on October 10th, 2006 9:05 am

    Re #83: it wasn’t “such a Gillick discussion” then.

  37. Ralph Malph on October 10th, 2006 9:06 am

    I would also mention Myers was plugged in as Everett manager in May which didn’t give him all that much time to work with those kids before whenever it was you watched them play.

  38. Dave on October 10th, 2006 9:17 am

    Okay, a few things.

    I consider Jim a friend. I was pointed in my criticism of his opinion mainly because I have some kind of comfort level in talking with him, and knew he could take it without getting offended. Like Jim said, no need to stir a pot that isn’t boiling.

    Also, as another friend pointed out to me, I didn’t do a very good job phrasing things at times in this conversation. The guys who have been fired, for the most part, are not Gillick loyalists, and most of them were here before Pat came aboard. They’re Benny Looper guys, and now that he’s been moved into a reduced role, that side of the organization is essentially being replaced.

    This isn’t Bavasi firing Gillick’s hires. This is just a continuation of the shift away from established organizational philosophies that has been going on for the past few years, with Bavasi and his guys bringing in people who fall more in line with their views philosophically.

  39. Steve Nelson on October 10th, 2006 11:18 am

    Dave: in a post several weeks ago – after Rohn was fired IIRC – you commented that many more changes were coming this winter, and that you agreed with some that were likely and disagreed with others.

    Is it now timely for you to elaborate on those thoughts?

  40. Dave on October 10th, 2006 11:42 am

    I’m sure we’ll talk about it Friday night – shameless plug – and I’ll address the front office issues in a big post coming up in the not too distant future.

  41. JAS on October 10th, 2006 12:27 pm

    I’d still like to know more detail about organization philosophies beyond “advance to adversity”.

  42. PFK on October 10th, 2006 5:00 pm

    84. I don’t know what team you were watching in 2001. We gave up the fewest runs of any team in the league. We set a record for fielding percentage. Yes we did also lead the league in runs scored, but it wasn’t based upon our slugging…we were very middle of the pack in HRs. We lead the league in batting average, OBP, stolen bases, sac flies, we were second in walks. Gillick did not assemble a bunch of big boppers. So how is it you say we didn’t win in 2001 with pitching, defense and speed?

  43. Steve Nelson on October 11th, 2006 3:23 am

    #92: The 2001 ranked 4th in the AL in SLG. Considering that they played half their games in Safeco, their “true” SLG ranking was higher than that.

    In fact, that 2001 Mariners team had the second highest road SLG in the league. On the whole, the only team that mashed better than the Mariners in 2001 was the Rangers (even after allowing for Ameriquest inflation).

    Contrary to popular belief, that 2001 Mariners team didn’t lead the league in scoring because they excelled at speed, little ball, and moving the runner along. That team scored their runs in bunches the old fashioned way, they put guys on base then brought those guys home with extra-base hits.

    When you say the offense wasn’t based on slugging, that’s just simply wrong. That offense was the product of being near the top of the league in both on-base percentage and slugging.

  44. Oly Rainiers Fan on October 11th, 2006 7:26 am

    I know no one will read this here, for no one ever goes back to read posts that are not on the top topic. (I wish there was some way other than manually keeping track of the # of posts on each topic that one would know someone added something…but that’s a different thing..)

    Anyway, an article by Darrin Beene in today’s TNT discusses Dave Brundage’s firing, and I gotta say, since he was ‘shocked’, I’m thinking that it’d be pretty hard to be shocked if you’d been told at any point in the last couple years that you weren’t doing your job the way the organization wanted you to. Meaning, if they had told him a year or two ago ‘hey, we have a new organizational philosophy we’d like you to follow’, and he decided not to follow it, he wouldn’t be ‘shocked’.

    At the very least, these Ms are showing that they’re not about valuing loyalty, and they’re not about letting guys know along the way that they’re losing favor in the front office. They seem to really like the whole surprise, you’re fired, thing. You gotta admit, that’s a pretty weird organizational philosophy, but I guess it’s kind of the ultimate ‘promote to adversity’ thing. (i.e., Hey, you’re a great AA manager, we’ll promote you to AAA. Hey, you’re a great AAA manager, we’ll promote you to….unemployment’) Maybe if Brundage and Rohn handle their newfound adversity ‘well’, they’ll have a future in the Ms someday.

  45. PFK on October 11th, 2006 8:38 am

    93. I disagree. The Mariners relatively high rank in slugging was based upon their high batting average, not on having boppers in their line-up. Their isolated slugging numbers (slugging less batting average) was slightly less than league average. Don’t get me wrong, I agree they had average power, and perhaps even slightly above average power taking Safeco field into account, but the unique strengths of that team did not include power. The unique strengths of that team were pitching, defense, batting average, OBP, speed.

  46. gwangung on October 11th, 2006 9:02 am

    The Mariners relatively high rank in slugging was based upon their high batting average, not on having boppers in their line-up. Their isolated slugging numbers (slugging less batting average) was slightly less than league average.

    Park effects, hm?

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