After the storm
I avoided the blog yesterday. I didn’t post, didn’t comment, and didn’t read. It wasn’t for lack of things to say, but I decided I just wanted to take 24 hours and pretend like the Mariners didn’t exist. I don’t think avoidance is one of the approved twelve steps, but sometimes, you just need a break. I collected my thoughts, let the emotions simmer, and now, hopefully, can give you a rational take on what the Vidro trade really means for the Mariners.
This trade doesn’t hurt the Mariners that badly next year. Most of the positive things Jeff said the other day are still true. This move didn’t make Felix’s arm fall off or send Ichiro to a planet far far away. This was a .500-ish club on Wednesday morning, and it’s a .500-ish club today. Even if the prayers of the saints go for naught and Jose Vidro passes his physical, it will still be a .500-ish club tomorrow.
The visceral reaction we all had to this trade isn’t because we believe it ruined the 2007 season or that we had dreams of Doyle winning the MVP award and carrying the team on his back. In reality, the team with Vidro isn’t much different than the team with Snelling and Fruto. We understand that the team is making moves it believes need to be made to contend, and that Bavasi and Hargrove would rather not lose their jobs because they staked their career to the continued health of Doyle.
The series of moves the Mariners have completed in the past 10 days aren’t the end of the world from a talent-on-field perspective. The team’s future hasn’t been sacrificed beyond repair, and the core of an eventual contender is still in place. But, in the past week and a half, we have been given conclusive evidence of one indisputable conclusion that cannot be avoided, cannot be waved away with talk of the volcanic market, and is a depressing fact to have to face as a fan. This management team is best described with one word:
Incompetent. Literally, they are legally unqualified, inadequate to or unsuitable for a particular purpose, lacking the qualities needed for effective action, and unable to function properly.
I’m not using the word as an attack on their intelligence out of an emotional reaction or as an insult to try to make myself feel better. I’m describing the baseball operations department as incompetent because the dictionary definition of the word fits the organization to a tee.
They are not ignorant, as they don’t lack information. They have access to better research, data, and reports than any of us could dream about. They just don’t understand how to apply the knowledge they have at their fingertips. They have unlimited resources and, with their appealing geographic location, they could easily obtain help from some of the best and brightest minds in the baseball world. Instead, Bill Bavasi, Dan Evans, and the staff of consultants continue to evaluate players with the same tools their mentors used 20 or 30 years ago.
It’s physically impossible to use any kind of analytical thinking and arrive at the conclusion that Jose Vidro, as a designated hitter, is worth $6 million a year. Even if you assign no value to Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto, you still have to completely misunderstand the amount of talent available to fill a DH position to decide that Jose Vidro is your best option.
This isn’t an isolated incidence. It’s Carlos Guillen for Ramon Santiago. It’s a three year deal for Scott Spiezio, non-tendering Mike Cameron, a four year deal for Jarrod Washburn, settling on Carl Everett as your 2006 DH, trying to pass Francisco Cruceta through waivers, trading Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez, and now, selecting Jose Vidro as the 2007-2008 DH and giving up actual talent for the right to overpay a below average player.
Incompetence – lacking the qualities needed for effective action. I like Bill Bavasi as a person (though after this post, I doubt the feeling will be mutual), but if he doesn’t like the label, take it up with Merriam Webster, because there’s not a better word in the English language to describe the abilities of those currently running the Seattle Mariners.
They all deserve to lose their jobs. Antonetti in ’08.