See ya, Rick

DMZ · September 6, 2007 at 5:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Rick White’s gone.

I’m not sure what the point is, with rosters this full, but anyway. He’s 38, stank in Houston and stank here. Anyway, so yeah, that’s the M’s for you: first you’re being thrown into extremely high-pressure important game situations you’re entirely unsuited for and then you’re discarded like all the empty cans of Febreeze used on the Moose costume every week.

Comments

128 Responses to “See ya, Rick”

  1. Russ on September 6th, 2007 5:45 pm

    sheesh, we couldn’t have done this prior to him losing a few games for us?

  2. Teej on September 6th, 2007 5:46 pm

    Thanks for the help, Rick.

  3. Russ on September 6th, 2007 5:46 pm

    hey, where is the buy a beer button…makes me laugh when I think about it…

  4. Karen on September 6th, 2007 5:54 pm

    (head banging against wall emoticon)

  5. thefin190 on September 6th, 2007 6:02 pm

    Good news…even though the damage has already been done :( . M’s are toast this year, partly thanks to White.

  6. jlc on September 6th, 2007 6:07 pm

    How bad is the M’s management that I knew it was a horrible idea to sign White when I was sitting in my kitchen in Portland, following the M’s on TV? (Rhetorical, of course.) Not to mention actually playing him. No wonder every idiot fan thinks they can run a team better than the pros.

  7. Mat on September 6th, 2007 6:09 pm

    I don’t generally trust analysts whose opinions change that quickly, and I also don’t trust management whose opinions change that quickly. What a joke.

  8. drjeff on September 6th, 2007 6:10 pm

    Now we’re completely fucked… that was some strong veteran presence AND the faux-Anthrax beard. He was just coming into form, and I think Felix was learning a lot from him by watching from the dugout. Because, as we M’s fans know, that is how you learn to play Major League Ball… from the dugout.

    Now I’ve lost all hope.

  9. Doc Baseball on September 6th, 2007 6:11 pm

    please dear god don’t let Bavasi say in any press conference that Rick White was released in some measure because he gave the finger to an ump — please on all that is good and right in the world let’s hope the lesson they say this moves shows they have learned is that talent beats age, and that assessing pitching skills correctly is important, and that they got that assessment wrong this time and are working to get it right in the future….

  10. ColanderOfDeath on September 6th, 2007 6:16 pm

    But, but, he’s a veteran. He’s been through wars!

    Sadly, or perhaps not so sadly, the letters W-A-R-S gets you 57% of the way to spelling W-A-I-V-E-R-S.

  11. cgmonk on September 6th, 2007 6:17 pm

    @7

    Would you rather have them stinking up the team for a couple years or have the Mariners admit they made a mistake and move on.

  12. rcc on September 6th, 2007 6:25 pm

    Rick White is another example of what drives Mariner fans crazy. A front office that is either unable or unwilling to properly analyze and construct a roster of major league players. A field manager that continued to put this “veteran presence” into situations where he cost Mariners crucial games.

    Can anyone imagine this incompetence would be displayed in a similar manner by the A’s or the Angels?

    The M’s made progress this year, and they will make a ton of dough….just enough progress, and just enough money to continue with the same leadership group in the front office, and on the field. Ichiro’s agent is probably looking for ways out of his contract.

  13. Sec 108 on September 6th, 2007 6:28 pm

    I feel dumb for rooting for this team.

  14. kwk on September 6th, 2007 6:37 pm

    Ahhh, man! Rick White, we hardly knew ye. Well, I guess it was enough to realize that you were a complete douche bag.

  15. pumpkinhead on September 6th, 2007 6:37 pm

    Hahah, what a terrible terrible experiment in ‘veteran’ pitching. Game over, man.

  16. Mat on September 6th, 2007 6:45 pm

    Would you rather have them stinking up the team for a couple years or have the Mariners admit they made a mistake and move on.

    I would rather have the Mariners figure out how to evaluate pitching talent so that they don’t make stupid mistakes in the first place.

  17. jephdood on September 6th, 2007 6:59 pm

    So what old fart will they pick up now to put in his place?

    Hey, what’s Keith Comstock doing these days?

  18. George_Argyros_Lives on September 6th, 2007 7:00 pm

    Say it ain’t so.

    Rick White was the future. If the future is the apocalypse.

  19. smb on September 6th, 2007 7:00 pm

    Good relate on the Febreze to the moose costume. I can personally attest to how stank that thing is.

  20. Rick L on September 6th, 2007 7:03 pm

    And they’re keeping John Parrish?

    Will they put Mickolio on the 40 man and bring him up?

  21. Churchill on September 6th, 2007 7:06 pm

    Mickolio remains on the Minor League DL and will not pitch again until the Arizona Fall League.

    And Lowe was shut down for the year.

  22. terry on September 6th, 2007 7:06 pm

    Releasing White just doesn’t seem like enough. Does the CBA allow for the Ms making White wear a dress as he vacates the clubhouse?

  23. Ben Ramm on September 6th, 2007 7:15 pm

    Rick WHite must be laughing his ass off. He was on the major league roster for almost two weeks. That’s got to be worth a down payment on a decent house in Omaha.

  24. AQ on September 6th, 2007 7:16 pm

    I wonder if White will get a 2007 playoff share from either the Angels or the Yankees? That’s what inquiring minds want to know.

  25. huhwhat on September 6th, 2007 7:19 pm

    So does this mean Baek may be activated tomorrow off the major league DL or do we see a call up of another AAA starter?

  26. JMHawkins on September 6th, 2007 7:23 pm

    I would call this Brownian motion, but it doesn’t seem random. It seems like they intend to screw up.

  27. dlb on September 6th, 2007 7:28 pm

    The decision makers on this team are just inept. It’s so sad. I know we joke about how this team loves grit and veteranness and all that, but honestly, the management has no real plan or strategy. They just go with hunches, guesses, and opinions from yesteryear that just can’t be shaken. Its really sad. Anyone who knows anything about how to run an organization know they must first create an organizational philosophy by which to run the entire organization. Something that they hold dear that they will believe will differentiate themselves from the competition. Our organization has no such belief, no such differentiator, and clearly no philosophy that they want to stick with that they believe will make them a winner.

  28. Bremerton guy on September 6th, 2007 7:48 pm

    Perhaps Bavasi will say that they are letting him go to give him a chance to catch on with a playoff team now that rosters are expanded. It makes as much sense as anything else.

  29. HamNasty on September 6th, 2007 7:51 pm

    “…the management has no real plan or strategy”

    Isn’t that the philosophy of the organization? Like you said go on hunches and pin the tail on the next player as long as they are old or had one flawed season. Praying for lightening in a bottle, your Seattle Mariners!

  30. SMJ on September 6th, 2007 8:24 pm

    Wow. Talk about a dishonorable discharge.

    If White gets picked up by another team, I’ll laugh, knowing that he’ll stink up another bullpen. If White retires, I’ll laugh even harder, because it’s more egg on Bavasi’s face.

  31. scott19 on September 6th, 2007 8:27 pm

    Oh bummers…guess we won’t the ole’ Gas Can to kick around anymore!

    17 & 20: On that oh-so-related note, however, maybe we can DFA Parrish next…then see if Greg Cadaret can come out of retirement.

  32. rrose on September 6th, 2007 8:27 pm

    Well, at this point I’m not sure we can afford to lose someone whose been through wars, but there could be a silver lining… it frees up a roster spot for Doug Creek (I’m pretty sure he’s been through wars too).

  33. jlc on September 6th, 2007 8:28 pm

    If White gets picked up by another team…

    At least then we’ll know we don’t have the worst GM.

  34. scott19 on September 6th, 2007 8:31 pm

    32: Well, granted, Creek IS from West Virginia — and he IS old enough to have participated in the Hatfield-McCoy feud. :)

  35. JMHawkins on September 6th, 2007 8:45 pm

    Kinda like how he was used in games. Run him out there with the game/season on the line, then send in Sherrill to clean up after White has everyone saying “wait till tommorrow/next year”.

  36. Thom Jimsen on September 6th, 2007 8:45 pm

    Justin Lehr, maybe?

  37. westfried on September 6th, 2007 8:55 pm

    You know, I’m kinda with Doc (#9) here – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Ms finally dropped him due to the finger incident – it’s not “family friendly”.

    Look, the dude sucked some serious eggs for us, but flipping the ump the bird was about the only sign of life I’ve seen from this team in 2 weeks.

    I don’t believe in “veteran presense” at all, but at least this guy cared. Rick White, all of 3 weeks on the team, he of the horrendous suckitude, showed more life than half the team has in the whole season.

    He may suck, but he didn’t hang his head, mope, and wonder what happened. It’s not RW’s fault that McLoser used one of the worst relievers in MLB in 3 critical situations for which he was way over matched.

    “Chemistry” doesn’t beget winning (it’s the other way around, of course), but a losing attitude sure begets losing.

  38. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 6th, 2007 9:02 pm

    As I said before, in flabbergasted fashion, Bavasi and others Ms brass were in Tacoma watching game after game one homestand, 4 or 5 nights in a row. At the end of that stretch, they chose to call up Rick White. That decision speaks volumes, and is more directly related to this teams’ failures than the performance of Rick White himself once on the big club, or the decisions of McLaren to use him.

  39. elsid on September 6th, 2007 9:07 pm

    They are already ready to make a move, since White has been removed. The USSM guys will be proud, I think, even though maybe a little late.

  40. Tek Jansen on September 6th, 2007 9:10 pm

    #37 — Rick White did not care anymore than any other player. He simply acted like a bigger jerk than everyone else.

  41. fetish on September 6th, 2007 9:12 pm

    While it should have been obvious the Rick White wouldn’t help the team from the jump, this is the type of move the USSM has been advocating and that ‘we’ laud the Oakland A’s for pulling off all the time – picking up freely available talent to fill an overvalued role (middle reliever). Granted, the A’s tend to do this with young guys (and the entire M’s bullpen sans Morrow could be considered ‘freely available talent’) and pass on guys who are proven to be marginal. and old.

    So, you could say the M’s are halfway there. At least they’re cutting their losses.

  42. WardP on September 6th, 2007 9:16 pm

    Vaya con dios, Gas Can. Don’t let the door hit you in the finger on the way out..

  43. scott19 on September 6th, 2007 9:16 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with SOMEBODY on the team showing a pulse when the chips are down — though instead of The Gas Can flipping off an ump, I would’ve preferred to see Felix knock a guy like Vladdy Guerrero or A-Hole down in the dirt with some chin music.

  44. scott19 on September 6th, 2007 9:18 pm

    43: Ward, ole’ buddy, I knew you couldn’t miss THIS thread! ;)

  45. WardP on September 6th, 2007 9:25 pm

    Better late than never, Scott.. :)

    I only wish we’d've seen this thread two weeks ago..

  46. JMHawkins on September 6th, 2007 9:28 pm

    this is the type of move the USSM has been advocating and that ‘we’ laud the Oakland A’s for pulling off all the time – picking up freely available talent to fill an overvalued role… So, you could say the M’s are halfway there

    A couple of points. Much like “replacmeent level” doesn’t mean any schoe off the street, not everyone available cheap qualifies as “freely available talent.” “Free” and “avalilable” sure, but that last word, y’know, talent, is actually the most important part of the description. And the hardest to get right.

    Besides, the M’s clearly weren’t looking at White as a “cheap” alternative for Middle Relief. They were beating the bushes before the trade deadline trying to get an expensive setup guy. To his credit, Bavasi kept his hand on his wallet and settled for Parrish at the cost of organizational filler instead of Gagne or Dotel at the cost of Wlad or Jones. That they called White up shortly after the Parrish experiment failed, then stuck him in high-leverage situations, indicates he was not supposed to be a cheap middle reliever filling in for an injured Lowe. They thought they needed a setup guy (cause, Green’s too, um, green, and Sherrill is just a LOOGY) and they thought White was the best option they could afford.

    They’re not halfway there.

  47. JMHawkins on September 6th, 2007 9:35 pm

    Oh yeah, and another thing. When White was in Tacoma, he was the Closer. Now, you, me, Dave and Derek all know this “closer” business a bunch of hooey, but the M’s believe in it. They believe the last three outs are the hardest to get. So, having White closing in Tacoma indicated they thought he was a part of the future, and would be needed in high-leverage situations. They were prepping him for a setup role on the big league club if they couldn’t trade for someone.

    What a waste. Assume for a momnet that closing really is different, that it really does require a special skill set. Shouldn’t one of the, ah, younger, relievers in Tacoma done that job, to prep them for a ML career? I mean, if you believe in that stuff, which the M’s do.

  48. fetish on September 6th, 2007 9:57 pm

    Yeah, like I said – they should have known White (and Parrish) were weak.

    But we’ve gott to acknowledge that Green, O’Flaherty, Sherril, Putz, Green, Lowe etc. are all more or less free pick ups that have worked out nicely. When weighed against Reitsma/Parrish/White, they’re still further in the black than we deserve to be.

  49. bradguy on September 6th, 2007 10:01 pm

    I’ve really lost a lot of confidence in the opinion of Norm Charlton. He’s the guy who reccomended picking White up in the first place.

  50. G-Man on September 6th, 2007 10:07 pm

    C’mon guys. First, we trash Bavasi and Associates for inertia. Then they do something that makes sense, and we have nothing good to say. So I’ll say it:

    Way to go, Bill! You acknowledged a mistake and did something about it. Rather than letting him finish the season, you ditched him.

    Yeah, it might have been about personal conduct, or maybe not, but I don’t care – when BB finally cuts loose someone we hate, let’s give him a “well done” so that he is encouraged to make another move sometime. Who knows, maybe it will make the diff between AJ in left field next year and Raul futiley chasing fly balls for all of 2008.

  51. jephdood on September 6th, 2007 10:09 pm

    Norm let his gritty veteran’ness bias his better judgement.

  52. VaughnStreet on September 6th, 2007 10:09 pm

    Good now he can come over and fixed my cable

  53. jephdood on September 6th, 2007 10:12 pm

    #51.. Uh.. I’m not going to pat a guy on the back for finally releasing crap that HE brought in.. or to give him an atta-boy when he does so TOO LATE.

    And no, praise for this is NOT going to correct his decision making in the future. His skills as a GM are fundamentally flawed.

  54. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 6th, 2007 10:13 pm

    48: good point, I hadn’t thought about the whole ‘closer’ thing playing into White’s promotion. It had played into Huber’s promotion the year before, and, well, what with shipping Mateo off (he was the Tacoma closer for a time) and the disabled list Mickolio (who closed a few games), White was their choice.

    Of course, it was also their choice to initially choose to place White (amongst all available Tacoma choices) into that ‘closer’ role as well. (Unless you really think Daren Brown was given the latitude to make those decisions himself).

  55. Jeff Nye on September 6th, 2007 10:15 pm

    In order to praise someone for picking up freely available talent, the pickups actually have to, you know, have talent.

    There was no evidence that Rick White ever had any.

  56. thefin190 on September 6th, 2007 10:28 pm

    53 – Yea if he dyed his goatee dark brown or black, he will look like the satiellite installation guy from the old cable commercials. That’s probably the only job he’ll get from here on out.

  57. PADJ on September 6th, 2007 10:39 pm

    Ah…Rick White. One of USSM’s favorite target blimps of late. The only reason I’m sorry to see him go is he had to be with the club in order to leave.

    If they wanted to bring him to Tacoma…fine.

    Have him close in Tacoma…meh.

    Even bring him up to the Mariners AS LONG AS your other pieces are all okay and in place (because you need someone to stick into the game when you’re down by 10 in the 5th inning)…yawn.

    Dropping him into high leverage game situations with your season arguably on the line because your pen is “tired” and JJ hasn’t pitched in a week…terminable offense.

  58. westfried on September 6th, 2007 10:59 pm

    Well, Tek (41), maybe he is a jerk. But after watching this team seemingly lay down and fold in every big series the past two years, it’s nice seeing a little emotion.

    Maybe it’s more accurate (and perhaps more of an indictment) to say that the rest of the team doesn’t seem to give a rip.

    No, I don’t want a clubhouse full of Carl Everett “fiery” types, but I do want to see a little oomph from the hometown 9.

    Also, thugh I got a bit derailed, I had started my post focused on the possibility that dropping White was more a reaction to the finger than the fact that he sucked. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but it’d really tick me off.

  59. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 12:04 am

    Actually, it’s a shame in a way for the gang from KJR that RW doesn’t live around here — they could hire him part-time to fill in for Mike Gastineau when he’s on vacation.

    Then, instead of the Gas Man they’d have the Gas CAN! (D’OH! :) )

  60. Rydogg2122 on September 7th, 2007 1:14 am

    You know what I don’t understand is why the organization doesn’t focus more on its minor league system and develop its own talent instead of overspending on has beens and rolling the dice on a guy that had off-season surgery but used to be good. I mean its alot cheaper and they have the ability to resign there own talent unlike Minnesota or Oakland.

    This team doesn’t have a #1 starter, doesn’t have a #5 starter (Ho-Ram doesn’t count), created another void by dealing its best setup man. Baek would have been just as good as Ho-Ram, probably better. They have an overpaid DH with no power. The only move that makes some sense to me is the Guillen signing, but once again they’re not molding their team around its ballpark. How bout some power from the left side people?

  61. thefin190 on September 7th, 2007 1:26 am

    61 – you are totally right. The Yankees do that very thing, such as with Jeter, Posada and etc. I mean using the free agent market is great if you have one void to fill and you have the ability to get a good player, but you are right, the M’s aren’t depending on its farm as much as it should, its farm seems to have brought them talent in the past, and in the present. And as not good as Baek is, he would’ve been no worse than HoRam as the 5th starter, and we would’ve still had a reliable set up guy as well as Morrow developing as a starter rather than being rushed in as a reliever. I never even heard of HoRam before he was traded the the Mariners, that’s how bad of a deal that was. O well, good riddance gas can. Thanks for ruining our season.

  62. davepaisley on September 7th, 2007 1:29 am

    60 – tough to tell which of them has the edge in poundage, too.

  63. AQ on September 7th, 2007 7:00 am

    #58 – So, to paraphrase, you’d like to see your favorite M’s yell, throw something, curse, etc when they don’t succeed? I don’t see what difference any of that stuff makes, since the outcome is still the outcome whether the player reacts with a smile or a curse.

    I’ve never understood this need for people to see some sort of outward display of emotion from their favorite team/players, as if it is some scientifically-proven barometer of caring or something.

  64. JJD on September 7th, 2007 7:04 am

    I liked this line in Baker’s blog entry about White’s release.

    You don’t bring possible solutions in unless you’re going to try them.

    Or, I suppose, if they are not “veteran-y” enough. *cough*AdamJones*cough*

  65. AQ on September 7th, 2007 7:05 am

    #64 – Rick White shouldn’t have been a solution to anything, unless the M’s problem was: “We’re in dire need of a human punching bag”.

  66. AQ on September 7th, 2007 7:07 am

    Hey – maybe that’s how that could’ve used Rick White appropriately. They could stow Rick White away somewhere and bring him out just before they take a trip to Cleveland. If they did this, Ichiro could’ve went ahead and punched Rick White repeatedly in the face. This would alleviate concerns that Ichiro might punch himself in the face.

  67. Tek Jansen on September 7th, 2007 7:09 am

    #64 — Haven’t read Baker’s blog yet, but that is a great response. Plus, no one on the M’s should have considered him a solution. He was, until rosters expanded, the seventh best relief pitcher on the team.

  68. bongo on September 7th, 2007 7:39 am

    The Mariners releasing Rick “Game Over” White over an argument with an umpire is like Wells Fargo announcing that John Dillinger has been terminated for insubordination.

  69. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 7th, 2007 7:49 am

    64: It’s cuz the Ms don’t see AJ as a solution to a problem. That was pretty clear given Bavasi’s appearance at the Tacoma Q&A where he made it very clear Jones was going to be a role player used in very limited fashion after his call-up.

    Bench players, individually, probably aren’t generally referred to as ‘solutions’ for a big-league club, though the bench, as an aggregate, may be a problem for a big-league club any individual bench player isn’t.

  70. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 8:04 am

    Is there someone the M’s are looking to add to the 40-man right this very second? If not, this seems like kind of a jerk move to release White for the sheer spite of it — just shelve him for the season and dump him after the finale like a bunch of other teams will do with their crappy players.

    Maybe it’s me, but cutting him in this way seems to make him a scapegoat for what’s happened over the past couple of weeks. But it’s hard for me to blame White … it’s not like he put himself in the game in all of those spots. He is what he is, and he did about what everyone expected, which is to stink. I’d point the finger at the staff that kept calling him into key games in big spots.

  71. Carson on September 7th, 2007 8:05 am

    I’d love to make a joke about sending Rick White a Thank You card for his veteran leadership down the stretch, but seriously, you can’t be mad at the guy. Would you turn down a major league contract? I’m pretty sure Rick knows how bad he is, and perhaps chuckles every time he is given a contract.

  72. zugzwang on September 7th, 2007 8:14 am

    The team’s skewed risk aversion is weird. They’ll roll the dice on veterans, hoping they’ll bounce back from some injury, a few (or more) off seasons, and regain some of their youthful magic, all the while being afraid to roll the dice with some younger guys whose youthful magic is still in front of them.

  73. WardP on September 7th, 2007 8:43 am

    It’s absolutely not Gas Can’s fault that his grizzled veteran suckage manifested itself in high leverage situations.

    It’s the fault of the FO, which stocked multiple grizzled veteran Gas Cans. We can’t be sure whether their intent was to use the Gas Cans to fight high-leverage fires, or to burn innings in low-leverage blowout situations (you know, the ones where we all wonder whether we’ll see Ichiro pitch).

    It’s the fault of McLaren, who when spying a proven grizzled veteran Gas Can in his bullpen, will conscientiously save him for deployment until the embers of the opposing are glowing bright orange. And then act surprise when said deployment leads to an explosion.

    It’s almost a shame that Gas Can birded the ump (talk about combustible; you gotta love it), because, as has been mentioned before, we’ll never know for certain why they left. What’s certain is that this franchise — whose “family-friendly” policies would strangle middle-of-the-road fans in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston — couldn’t tolerate that behavior.

    Maybe Gas Can flipped off authority because he wanted out.

    Be that as it may, Gas Cans don’t torch seasons. Stockpilers and deployers of Gas Cans torch seasons.

  74. strong silence on September 7th, 2007 8:45 am

    zugzwang,

    The M’s are 10 games over .500. Did you think Bavasi would do this well? Could you do this well?

  75. WardP on September 7th, 2007 8:45 am

    Apologies for passages of fractured syntax in the previous post.. the phone rang and I got distracted. I trust my intent is clear; I will proofread better next time. :)

  76. petec on September 7th, 2007 9:07 am

    .74 are you seriously defending Bavasi’s record? 3 straight last place finishes, consistently getting his ass kicked by teams with lower payrolls, can’t get over .500 (this year a possible exception) with one of the higher payrolls in baseball?

    I guess one year being 10 games over .500 is a rousing success.

  77. BP on September 7th, 2007 9:12 am

    I hope Parrish follows him out the door.

    Then I imagine Bobby Ayala and Heathcliff Slocumb will be their replacements. And Ayala will promptly be put in to face Magglio in the ninth inning this weekend with the game tied.

    Hooray!

  78. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 9:22 am

    Woo, more results based analysis!

    One year of the team playing over their true talent level does not excuse multiple and ongoing boneheaded moves by the management team.

  79. strong silence on September 7th, 2007 9:25 am

    petec,
    no I’m not defending him. I’m really asking each one of us to compare his record to what we expected of his ability. It’s nice that fans have a standard of reaching the playoffs. That’s a good thing. Yet, most of us expected little of Bavasi so I think it would be useful for each fan to consider the team Bavasi has built.

    I admit that he has exceeded my expectations as I thought this team would be near .500.

    As a point of comparison:
    *This team has a better record than Gillick’s team.
    *This team has a better record than Schuerholz’s team.
    *This team had a better record than Shapiro’s team about two or three weeks ago.
    *Bavasi didn’t have much to begin with when Gillick left.

    I preferred another GM at the time the M’s hired Bavasi.

  80. Matt from Tacoma on September 7th, 2007 9:25 am

    Can anyone name a player whose career ended by getting tossed by an ump? I’m sure that there must be at least a couple, and I’ll bet the stories are equally entertaining.

  81. strong silence on September 7th, 2007 9:26 am

    Jeff, what is their true talent level?

  82. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 9:36 am

    There are multiple tools out there that can help you get at that information, and most of them have been referenced here previously. Pythagorean wins, various implementations of VORP, etc.

    But there is a reason that most people pegged the Mariners at about a 70-80 win team this year.

    Even within the realm of results-based analysis being generally bad, looking at the team’s record is a particularly terrible way to evaluate a GM, since so much of what determines a team’s win-loss record is out of his control.

    The leadership team (meaning BavaHargroMcLaren), this season, has been much more of a hindrance to the team being successful than a help. The stubborn refusal to call up, and then refusal to play Adam Jones; the acquisitions of White and Parrish, who added nothing of value to the team; trading for HoRam; over-valuing Turbo’s empty batting average…the legion of mistakes just go on and on.

    If being a GM was solely about evaluating and obtaining talent, I think there are multiple people on this site that could do a better job than Bill Bavasi.

    Obviously, there is a lot more to the job than that, but saying that the Mariners have a winning record and thus the M’s leadership is good at their jobs is just bad analysis.

  83. strong silence on September 7th, 2007 9:39 am

    But what has he done right, Jeff? And why aren’t you giving him any credit?

  84. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 9:44 am

    What should I give him credit for, exactly?

    Making sure that Felix’s arm doesn’t get destroyed is the only thing I can think of, off the top of my head.

    Bill Bavasi is a nice and charming guy, and is good at handling the media, which is probably part of why he’s still got his job; but if you’re going to assert that he’s skilled at player evaluation and acquisition when we have so much solid evidence to the contrary, you’re going to have to come up with something a lot better than the team’s won-loss record to convince anyone.

    Unless, of course, you just plan on continuing to try to shift the burden of proof onto others.

  85. Brent Overman on September 7th, 2007 9:46 am

    In a linked article, it says that Balentien still has one more option year left. Is that really the case?

  86. metz123 on September 7th, 2007 9:50 am

    The season isn’t over yet. With a slightly negative run differential the M’s expected record is around .500. They still have to win 7 games before even claiming they will finish over .500 for the season.

    The M’s compete in the only division in baseball with only 4 teams. They have the financial might to outspend 2 of those 4 teams and match the other. They have the finances to spend among the top 5 in the AL.

    Given all that, am I happy when they barely compete 1 year out of the last 4? Absolutely not.

  87. msb on September 7th, 2007 9:58 am

    FWIW, the current standings ranked in (April 2007) payroll order:

    2nd ALE Yankees
    1st ALE Red Sox 1
    1st NLE Mets
    5th ALC White Sox
    1st ALW Angels
    3rd ALE Dodgers
    2nd ALW Mariners
    2nd NLC Cubs
    2nd ALC Tigers
    4th ALE Orioles
    5th NLW Giants
    3rd NLC Cardinals
    3rd NLE Braves
    2nd NLE Phillies
    5th NLC Astros
    3rd ALW Athletics
    3rd ALE Blue Jays
    1st NLC Brewers
    3rd ALC Twins
    4th NLC Reds
    4th NLW Rangers
    4th NLC Royals
    1st NLC Indians
    2nd NLW Padres
    4th NLW Rockies
    1st NLW D-backs
    6th NLC Pirates
    4th NLE Nationals
    5th NLE Marlins
    5th ALE Devil Rays

  88. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 9:58 am

    Jeff-

    Here is what I honestly don’t get … Isn’t there a disconnect between the expectations for Seattle to be a 70-80 win team and the belief that the current leadership team has been a drag on performance?

    Isn’t that saying that Seattle is doing much better than the models expected, and yet management should be replaced because the team isn’t doing even better than it is?

  89. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 10:04 am

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to evaluate the leadership team based on the results, period. There are just too many factors involved that they can’t have any control over to make it a fair way to evaluate them. Injuries, the overall talent level of the competition, and just plain dumb luck all play a factor.

    Much like evaluating players, it’s better to look at their talent level; in this case, the “talent” is evaluating and appropriately using their players, and I don’t see how you can make a good case that the current leadership team is any good at that.

  90. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 10:06 am

    78: Agreed — any more than Anaheim’s one lucky “ligntning-in-a-bottle” season in 2002 could excuse all of his boneheaded “Angels In The Outfield” (and soupcans in the starting rotation) teams that preceded them when BB was down there.

  91. msb on September 7th, 2007 10:11 am

    #90– interesting take on Bavasi from the Angel Blog POV

  92. Dan W on September 7th, 2007 10:13 am

    On every team I’ve played on, and at every company I’ve worked for and with, if you said “it’s a bad idea to evaluate the leadership team based on results” you would get a lot of funny looks.

  93. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 10:14 am

    Jeff, I still don’t get it. If the “talent” was supposed to be good for 70-80 wins and this team will exceed that (barring a total free-fall), how can the leadership be blamed for not doing enough with what it had? Did the model not accurately assess the talent level in Seattle, or has the team just been really, really lucky?

  94. Sports on a Schtick on September 7th, 2007 10:18 am

    Now the Rick White era is over it can be put into perspective. Was he one of the most hated Mariners relievers ever?

  95. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 10:26 am

    Being bad at talent evaluation isn’t exclusive to baseball organizations, Dan. Results are important in and of themselves, but they’re a poor evaluative tool, and more successful businesses realize that. In any business, if you concentrate on bringing in the right talent and using it correctly, the results follow naturally.

    I’ll point out that the current leadership team is responsible for creating that baseline of talent that led most people to project the 2007 Mariners at 70-80 wins. Thus, that projection inherently included the expectation that the leadership team would perform at their historical levels.

    The problem with looking at that 70-80 win projection and saying that the Mariners will end up, say, an 86 win team, ignores the fact that, with the same amount of luck, the team COULD have been even better, but the litany of bad management decisions I detailed (and others I may have missed) cost them opportunities to improve the team.

  96. metz123 on September 7th, 2007 10:27 am

    re: 93…

    The M’s spent $109 million in payroll this team. The argument is that when you spend that much money (5th in the AL, 7th in baseball) you should be assembling talent that’s good for a lot more than 80 wins.

    The Angels (with close to the same payroll $106 million) have a +100 run differential. The M’s currently have a -9 run differential. The M’s have assembled a team closer in talent to the A’s ($80 million) than they have the Angels. That’s the big issue. With the resources they have available, Bavasi and the M’s management have assembled a sub par team. They can’t evaluate talent and don’t effectively use the money they have.

  97. metz123 on September 7th, 2007 10:28 am

    And Rick White is hardly the level of hate that was spent on Heathcliff Slocumb and Bobby Ayala. Even Mike Schooler had more vented in his direction than White.

  98. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 10:32 am

    Yep, I don’t see Rick White as anything horrible, other than being symptomatic of the same things we’ve been harping for years now.

    metz123 makes a good point, too. The Mariners should consistently be one of the best teams in baseball, based on the resources they can apply to acquiring top talent.

    Instead, they’re almost always around the middle of the pack, because they spend their money very poorly.

  99. VaughnStreet on September 7th, 2007 10:35 am

    If Rick White had managed to stay on with the Mariners for the rest of the season, no doubt he would have blown enough games to achieve Bobby Ayala-hate status.

  100. zugzwang on September 7th, 2007 10:36 am

    Strong Silence –

    You ask if we could do better than Bavasi. I don’t know, but when he makes transparently bad moves that a bunch of amateur bloggers and posters immediately recognize as deluded, and when you compare the amateurs’ resources (limited time, relying on publicly available info) with Bavasi’s (beyond the $106MM payroll, he’s a full-time professional with a staff of full-time professionals tracking the sport), it certainly raises the question about his competence.

  101. Dave in Palo Alto on September 7th, 2007 10:39 am

    I’m not buying the theory that Rick White was dumped for flipping off the ump. He was dumped because he has no value. The organization is happy to retain the services of bad boys (Guillen, Everett) if it makes sense. White can now pursue his true calling at a Texaco near Barstow.

    msb — I liked the list in #87. Must really hurt to be a Chisox fan — total collapse and Hawk on the play by play.

  102. Dan W on September 7th, 2007 10:41 am

    Jeff, of course that’s true, but what I pointed out is also true. Most reasonable people would agree with me. They’d also agree with you, but they’d have to read the fine print or think about it for 30 seconds (which of course many people do not do). I think that’s one reason why the opinions of many on this blog are sometimes misconstrued.

    Just as the criticism is justified for all the mistakes (Ramirez, White, etc) we’ve discussed at length, you HAVE to give Bavasi credit for the quality and cost-effectiveness of the bullpen (ahem, last 2 weeks excluded), for Guillen, for Beltre’s solid play, even for Weaver’s strangely surprising effectivess for good chunks of the season. Add it all up: starging point + hits – misses = results.

    At the end of the day Jeff Weaver pitched the World Series clinching win for the Cardinals. If I was a Cardinal fan I could care less why they brought him to the team, gave him a significant role, or chose him to start game 5.

  103. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 10:47 am

    But baseball is inherently a results-oriented business, so those numbers have to mean something. If the Red Sox win the World Series, they won’t be denied the trophy in favor of the Indians because Boston spent money foolishly this offseason and Cleveland did not.

    I’m a process guy both for business and pleasure, so I understand the importance of what you’re saying, but I don’t think results can be discounted entirely as you seem to be doing here. The model’s results aren’t what decides who makes the playoffs.

    Maybe we’re talking around each other … I don’t know. But I don’t get how the GM of a team that’s exceeding its win model as Seattle is doing here can be criticized both for producing a mediocre team and also for not for exceeding expectations by even more. The team was supposed to stink, but it doesn’t stink, but it’s leadership’s fault that the team was supposed to stink in the first place and it’s leadership’s fault that the team turned out to be a playoff contender but not (likely to be) a playoff team. The bad signings were all on Bavasi; the Ichiro signing gets credited elsewhere or ignored. Etc.

  104. msb on September 7th, 2007 10:54 am

    and FWIW, the A’s are right in the middle of the pack now, payroll-wise, and have a new stadium and additional revenues on the way…

  105. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 11:06 am

    Well, I was never really saying that results don’t matter, of course they do. The point I was trying to make is that due to all of the other factors that go into determining those results, they’re a bad tool for evaluating performance of individuals.

    In addition, the leadership team is even one more step removed from actually creating the results than the players are, so as bad as results-based analysis is for evaluating players, it’s even worse for the leadership team, since they have less direct influence on the results.

    Have they made some good moves? Of course. I’m very pleased at the Ichiro! deal in particular, since I have a man-crush on him.

    But the big picture, as much as I hate that term, is that in the main the current leadership team isn’t good at evaluating and acquiring talent. They highly overvalue things like “veteran leadership” and “clubhouse chemistry”; and don’t at all understand the concepts of freely available talent or aging curves for players.

    They have, simply put, made substantially more bad moves than good ones.

  106. gwangung on September 7th, 2007 11:09 am

    It’s not either/or. It’s a scale.

    They get SOME credit for results (even if it’s blind squirrel and an acorn-like). But they also get debits for building on those results (and they HAVE to get debits for not using Jones’ defense as effectively as they could).

  107. Adam S on September 7th, 2007 11:10 am

    But I don’t get how the GM of a team that’s exceeding its win model as Seattle is doing here can be criticized both for producing a mediocre team and also for not for exceeding expectations by even more. The team was supposed to stink, but it doesn’t stink, but it’s leadership’s fault that the team was supposed to stink in the first place and it’s leadership’s fault that the team turned out to be a playoff contender but not (likely to be) a playoff team.
    The Mariners were projected at 75-85 wins (maybe 72-82) and are going to wind up right at the high end of that. But let’s agree that, assuming that Mariners play .540 baseball not .100 baseball the rest of the year, the team is better than generally expected.

    But the relevant question is why is this the case and how much of it is the GM’s credit? Certainly the success isn’t because Ramirez and Weaver have set the world on fire. Reitsma was a bust from day one and the Mariners/GM have spent the season trying to find that “veteran presence” for the pen — Parrish, White — each one worse than the one proceeding him. And beyond anything else the bullpen — Putz, Sherill, Green, O’Flaherty, and Morrow — being AWESOME is why the Mariners are both better than expectation and better than Pythagorean projection. Guillen has worked. Vidro hasn’t been a disaster though he’s still a bad DH. Batista has been a good signing.

    I don’t know how you look at the Mariners roster with Sexson, Weaver, Ramirez, Vidro being paid $30M+ and collectively performing below replacement level and want to give Bavasi credit for this team.

  108. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 11:13 am

    96 & 98: I agree with you guys, but would also add that Bavasi isn’t the only one. The lack of cost effectiveness seems to be quite evident all over professional sports these days — the Portland ‘Blazers or New York Rangers in recent years have been perfect examples of the classic less-bang-for-your-buck roster.

    And, of course, who could forget those GLORIOUS “Power Rangers” teams that Tom Hicks put together in Texas a few years back. Last I looked, the schmuck was still paying the Yanks about $9-mil or so per season for the privilege of watching A-Hole come back to Arlington and kick the crap out of his pitchers several times a year!

  109. Evan on September 7th, 2007 11:21 am

    What could Rick White’s performance have possibly taught the team that they didn’t already know? He was crap before they got him, and he was crap here. That can’t have been news to them.

  110. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 11:22 am

    Oh, sure, the Mariners don’t have a monopoly on this, at all. It’s somewhat endemic in all of sports management, for a variety of reasons (old-boy networks, increasing influence of agents, etc.)

    But the Mariners should be the leaders of the pack in being able to get past all of that. They’re in a highly progressive, technology-focused town; they have one of the best scouting directors in baseball in Bob Fontaine; and they have a lot of talented people giving them high quality free information via this blog and others.

    Instead, their lunch is being eaten by teams like Oakland and Cleveland, who don’t have nearly the “natural” advantages that the M’s do.

  111. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 11:32 am

    It seems like most of us on here are looking at teams like Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, etc. and scratching our heads wondering why we can’t develop home-grown talent like they have.

  112. Ninja Jordan on September 7th, 2007 11:40 am

    The Chris Antonetti campaign must be revived.

  113. gwangung on September 7th, 2007 11:48 am

    96 & 98: I agree with you guys, but would also add that Bavasi isn’t the only one.

    Emphasize that Bavasi isn’t the only one in the M’s front office. There’s someone who’s feeding him all the information and he’s not the only one who’s doing player evaluation.

    It’s the whole philosophy that permeates the organization; get Antonetti in here and he’ll waste two or three years trying to get the organization oriented right—if he ever does it at all.

  114. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 11:53 am

    Oakland hasn’t been the paragon of good management this season either, though. Off the top of my head, they had no working backup plan for either Harden or Crosby despite the fact that both have a Doyle-like injury history, they gave Chavez a big contract that’s as much of an albatross to them as Sexson’s is here and weren’t able to move him, they stuck with Kendall for way too long despite the fact that he couldn’t hit water by falling out of a boat, etc.

    Is there any study out there that weighs how costly different management mistakes are? I’d love to see how Bavasi would score compared to the likes of the Twins, with their decision to give starts to the likes of Sidney Ponson early in the season.

  115. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 7th, 2007 11:56 am

    The problem (in determining credit to give Bavasi et al) is in defining the results accurately.

    If you’re going to do results-oriented analysis and base it only on wins accrued at the major league level, that’s far different than doing results-oriented analysis that includes that measure as well as additional measures 9success/failure of individual prospects through your system, success at instilling plate discipline, etc.)

    You have to define your measures for success, then evaluate results up against those measures accordingly. If you’re just defining win-loss or playoff appearance as the sole measure, that’s very restrictive. Essentially you’re looking at creating a logic model so that you’re engaging in results-based analysis all the way through the logic model.

    The very last box would be WS championship, or playoff appearance, but it is built on top of a whole cascade of smaller boxes leading there – things like choosing the right prospect, getting them to sign, developing them well in your system, assembling a team of them that performs well in aggregate, etc. EACH step is results based, but trying to judge performance from only the top level alone is folly.

  116. HamNasty on September 7th, 2007 12:01 pm

    114- Sidney Ponson still isn’t starting for them.

    Ponson 5.06 FIP, 64 ERA+ 7 starts
    Ramirez 5.42 FIP, 66 ERA+ 18 starts, only 18 cause he went on the DL.

  117. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 12:08 pm

    115 — Absolutely, but you also have to define who gets credit for what, and what weighting system should be used. Should Ichiro’s new contract count for more than any of the free agent signings this offseason that turned out poorly, since he’s so central to the team’s future? Should not giving Adam Jones more playing time count for more than usual because of his skillset?

    And it is hard to do that in an unbiased manner. I suspect that a similar process-oriented group to this one that supported a different team would by more charitable towards Bavasi for the Vidro trade, for example.

  118. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 12:09 pm

    116 — Sure, but the Twins had Garza, Slowey and Baker (was he in the minors to start the season, or no?) as potential replacements. Seattle had … guys who weren’t as good.

  119. HamNasty on September 7th, 2007 12:12 pm

    118- And thats NOT Bavasi’s fault?? Seems to me he is in charge of finding players to put on the field.

  120. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 12:15 pm

    114: Re Eric Chavez, define irony. I was shocked a few years back when the A’s actually gave him a contract extension — something they don’t do very much these days. I guess Beane thought Chavez was enough of a stud to keep around as a team anchor…instead, it just seems like he’s gotten older and more hobbled-up.

    If you’re one of their young guys, good luck ever getting another long-term extension out of Beane.

  121. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 12:19 pm

    Here’s the difference, though:

    With Oakland, their bad moves are relatively isolated. You look at the Chavez contract and say “Wow, that’s not like Beane”.

    When we something like the Vidro trade, we say, “That’s the Mariners for you.” There is a history of bad judgement that colors our perception, that isn’t there with Billy Beane.

    He’s not perfect, but he’s done a very good job with much less resources available to him than the Mariners have.

  122. bermanator on September 7th, 2007 12:32 pm

    121 – I might argue that that’s because we’re more cynical.

    For whatever reason, Beane seems to get all the credit for his good moves (which are excellent) but the poorer decisions don’t get mentioned. One of the central points of “Moneyball” is that he’s furious at the scouts for picking a HS pitcher and deals him the first chance he gets … and I bet he wishes he had Bonderman back right now. He tried to get Durazo forever, overpaid for him, and found out he wasn’t that good. Then there’s Jason Kendall. And Chavez.

  123. bergamot on September 7th, 2007 12:50 pm

    122: I don’t know where you’re looking. At USSM, Beane has received criticism for some of his moves, but not very often since this isn’t an Oakland A’s site.

    Bavasi receives credit for his infrequent good moves. That doesn’t obscure his demonstrably poor skills at player evaluation.

    Beane and Bavasi have both made good and bad player acquisitions. Over several years, Beane consistently gets more talent at lower cost than Bavasi.

  124. scott19 on September 7th, 2007 12:55 pm

    122: I have a feeling that Beane wishes he had Jeremy Bonderman back, too, as opposed to the alternatives of keeping Spicoli or winding up with about a half-season of Ted Lilly (his choice).

    Interestingly, Lilly is the just the kind of guy that Bavasi would overpay for — though by comparison, Lilly looks like Tom Glavine circa 1995 next to HoRam.

  125. kenshabby on September 7th, 2007 1:00 pm

    Rick White, Mariners fans, M’s playoff hopes: all victims of wishful thinking.

  126. Jeff Nye on September 7th, 2007 1:16 pm

    As much as people like to paint it that the authors (and to a lesser extent, posters) hold personal grudges against various M’s personnel, it’s not true, nor are we looking for them to fail.

    Bill Bavasi seems to be a genuinely nice guy. He is very well-spoken, and has been generous enough to appear at USSM events even AFTER he has been ripped on this site. I genuinely wish he was better at his job, because he seems to be a good man.

    Billy Beane, on the other hand, I know nothing about as a person, so I have no investment in him personally. But in general, his moves pan out better than Bavasi’s, and in the end that matters more than him being a nice guy.

  127. Evan on September 7th, 2007 1:18 pm

    Billy Beane actually sounds like a bit of a prick, but he’s a GM I’d much rather have running my team, even though Bavasi’s a way more likeable a guy.

  128. metz123 on September 7th, 2007 3:27 pm

    The biggest point I keep bringing up is that MLB is not a level playing field. Unlike the NBA & NFL with their salary caps and attempts to exert external forces on keeping a league competitive, MLB makes little attempt to balance out the haves & have nots. The luxury tax is a bad attempt at keeping salaries down across the league, not an attempt at balancing talent.

    Teams that have the financial resources to spend more money should be the best teams in the league, period. The M’s have vast financial resources to spend. There should never be a pre season assessment that the M’s have assembled a squad that has the talent to win only 80 games. The M’s should always field a team that is competitive in the AL West and is in the wild card chase until the end of the year. The should have the talent to win 90 minimum games each year. Things may happen during the season, that prevents this from happening (major injuries) but they should never go into a season looking like a .500 club.

    Failing to live up to that level of talent acquisition is the failure of the current front office. They continually squander their home field advantage ($$$$) by spending money ineffectively. That is their failure.

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