Reaction From the Scribes

Dave · September 28, 2007 at 8:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The day after the announcement, the local writers weigh in.

Larry Stone: Mariners Go for Stability.

Stone writes a straight news story instead of the opinion column, getting some solid quotes from all involved.

“John McLaren stepped in, and he led the team to a winning season,” Lincoln said. “He certainly has the confidence and trust and respect of our players. That’s extremely important. So I think he deserves another season.

Mariners record under John McLaren: 40-41. So, apparently, you can lead a team to a winning season while simultaneously losing more games than you win.

“In Bill’s case, Bill has produced a winning season. That was the first challenge. He didn’t get us to the playoffs, but I think he deserves to continue on as the general manager. It’s so disruptive to an organization to change general managers…

He’s got a point here – we really don’t want to disrupt this good thing we have going in Seattle. After all, we just had a winning season, our first in four years, despite outspending 80% of other teams in payroll. Can’t mess with that kind of success.

“Certainly, in baseball you cannot please everybody,” he said. “I fully expect some people will support this decision, some people will not. But somebody has to make the decision. And somebody has to figure out what’s in the best interest of the franchise. And that’s my job.”

The faction they’ve chosen not to please – the people who want to see this team win.

Said Armstrong: “No matter how you slice it and dice it — and we are disappointed with falling back — we’re still over .500. We’ve made great improvement. We are appreciative and greatly impressed at the job McLaren did coming in at a very difficult time, right before the All-Star break, and keeping this team together. They never quit. They’re not quitting now.”

Do you think that Chuck Armstrong is aware that the Mariners have been outscored by 27 runs this year? They didn’t have to quit – they were beaten instead.

Geoff Baker: M’s celebrate in win over Indians.

Baker gets some of the player’s perspective in his game wrap-up. Jose Guillen, Baker’s personal quote machine:

“Hopefully, we got the right man for the job, but we’ll see,” Guillen said. “We’re going to have to wait and see next year what kind of manager he’s going to be.

“He’s too nice to everybody. I want to see him get tougher and get mean to a lot of people. That’s what I want to see from him, and I told him. I don’t care. That’s what I want to see from him.”

Amen, Jose. Amen. Hopefully, John McLaren can learn how to be a manager, and not the veteran’s best friend, by next spring.

“I think he did a great job,” Ibanez said. “He’s got great qualities as a leader and he’s a stand-up guy. He looks you in the eye and tells you the truth. What you see is what you get with him and I really appreciate that, not just as a boss but as a human being.”

Great qualities as a leader = He lets me do whatever I want. Asking Ibanez if he likes McLaren is like asking the eight year old who is eating chocolate cake for dinner and playing video games til midnight if he likes his babysitter.

“Since Bavasi’s been here, the record’s gotten better,” (Sherrill) said. “Hearing you [media] guys talk, some people out there aren’t real happy with how we run stuff but I think our record speaks for itself.”

Winning ~85 games while being outscored by your opponents on a $110 million payroll does indeed speak for yourself. It just doesn’t say what you think it says, George.

“You’re managing people,” Ibanez said. “Twenty-five different personalities. You’re managing different people than in other industries. You’re managing personnel. Intense, driven. There’s an obsessive drive with that. So it’s not an easy job to come into.”

The moment a manager thinks his job is more about managing people than winning baseball games, he’s lost. Managing people is certainly a huge part of his job, but it absolutely cannot come at the expense of the primary goal. That’s something the Mariners have just failed to grasp.

John Hickey: Bavasi, McLaren to return for 2008 season.

Here’s Hickey’s version of the story with a few different quotes.

As always, the Mariners need starting pitching, but Bavasi already made it clear he will not trade the players he considers his best prospects in exchange for pitching. Outfielder Adam Jones and catcher Jeff Clement will not be dealt, Bavasi said.

Wladimir Balentien, on the other hand, should start packing his bags right now.

“When all is said and done, we had a good year,” McLaren said. “We got into the final week of the season in contention for the wild card. I think we’ve come a long way.”

Only in McLarenville is “if the Yankees lose every game the rest of the way, the Tigers don’t get hot, and we win eight straight to end the season” a definition of contention.

“We didn’t finish quite the way we wanted,” Washburn said. “But we’re in position now to have solidarity going into next season.”

Oh, well, hold your horses – the team is going to have solidarity next year. That should make up for the lack of talent.

Larry LaRue: Standing Pat to Standing O.

A few quotes here that only LaRue worked into his piece.

“We are not at all happy with the big collapse at the end. But when you look at the overall, big picture we finished way above anybody’s expectations,” Washburn said.

“So we’re disappointed that we didn’t get to the playoffs. … But I think we exceeded everybody’s expectations, and it’s pretty ironic that people are bashing people at the end because we didn’t make the playoffs.”

This is just a myth that needs to die. Almost everyone here had the team pegged for 80-85 wins, which is almost exactly what they’re going to end up with. They exceeded expectations for four months, then regressed heavily to the mean. With all apologies to Dennis Green, they are what we thought they were – a mediocre team with strengths and weaknesses that wasn’t good enough to get to the playoffs.

“It’s a complex job, it’s not as simple as it seems. It’s not fantasy baseball. It just isn’t,” Bavasi said. “We actually deal with the day-to-day realities of putting humans out there.”

And, there you go – the obligatory reference to fans not understanding how things work in the real world and trying to run the franchise like a fantasy team. Here’s a little hint, though – we don’t want you to run the Mariners like a fantasy team – we want you to run them like a real baseball organization, utilizing all information possible and not holding yourselves above learning new things. You know, like the Red Sox, Indians, A’s, Diamondbacks, Padres, Yankees, or Brewers do. Real analysis isn’t just for nerds with spreadsheets anymore.

Comments

141 Responses to “Reaction From the Scribes”

  1. Jonathan on September 28th, 2007 8:33 am

    I guess I can get an early start on my off-season blues. The thing I continue to not understand is why Ichiro! is such a McLaren booster. For some reason (projection?) I want to credit Ichiro! with a bigger picture understanding than I would expect from most of the players. In any case, let’s get the “Free Adam Jones” t-shirts ready for April. Actually, better make them sweatshirts for April.
    And thanks for another outstanding season of analysis, USSM. You almost make it all bearable.

  2. Mike Honcho on September 28th, 2007 8:33 am

    John McLaren = Michael Scott, from “The Office.” Here’s a quote from last night’s episode:

    Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like this, compulsive, need, to be liked. Like my need to be praised.

    Like a glove…

  3. bermanator on September 28th, 2007 8:41 am

    He’s got a point here – we really don’t want to disrupt this good thing we have going in Seattle. After all, we just had a winning season, our first in four years, despite outspending 80% of other teams in payroll. Can’t mess with that kind of success.

    True. But to play Bavasi’s attorney for a minute, three of the four teams in the AL playoffs have even higher payrolls than Seattle’s, including the AL West champion. The only American League teams to win more games than Seattle while spending less money were Cleveland and Detroit.

  4. HamNasty on September 28th, 2007 8:48 am

    The McLaren talk baffles me. He is just awful at what he does, plain and simple.

  5. rcc on September 28th, 2007 8:52 am

    The only M’s quote missing is the one that they are thinking….”We are making a money, and that is our number one priority, and why mess a good thing with bringing in a GM or a Manager who could shake things up.”

  6. HamNasty on September 28th, 2007 8:55 am

    The difference between Raul and Guillen’s quotes just show the type of players they are. I would take Guillen any day over Raul.

    Sorry to make you earn your roster spot there Ral, just thought we might try and make the team competitive sometime soon.

  7. Dan W on September 28th, 2007 8:56 am

    Come on Dave, tell us how you REALLY feel…. The snarko-meter is crackling like a bowl of Rice-Krispies.

  8. Max Power on September 28th, 2007 8:59 am

    While I’m not surprised by the Bavasi retention, the McLaren extension really puzzles me. He offers up quotes on a daily basis that demonstrate why he shouldn’t be a manager – wanting to be liked, managing personalities etc etc.

    Then you throw on top the Guillen/Ibanez quotes and it seems crystal clear at least to me that McLaren just isn’t in charge of the clubhouse.

  9. CCW on September 28th, 2007 9:16 am

    But to play Bavasi’s attorney for a minute, three of the four teams in the AL playoffs have even higher payrolls than Seattle’s, including the AL West champion. The only American League teams to win more games than Seattle while spending less money were Cleveland and Detroit.

    On a dollars per win basis, over the Bavasi administration, the M’s are one of the worst teams in baseball. Here are $/win over the past four years for a few representative teams:

    $/win:
    Seattle: $1,228,082.84
    Oakland: $662,259.84
    Anaheim: $1,097,000.84
    Cleveland: $574,340

  10. Brooklyn on September 28th, 2007 9:22 am

    This is frustrating to be sure, but I’m not sure dumping Bavasi and/or McLaren would have made that much of a difference. Until there is a change at the top – Lincoln and Armstrong – I don’t think it really matters. Bavasi and McLaren would have simply been replaced with two very similar types. As the writers of this blog point out time and again until the orginizational philosophy changes drastically it’s bound to be more of the same. The best we can hope for is dumb luck . . . or a complete collapse and a housecleaning that starts in Lincoln and Armstrong’s office.

  11. Mousse on September 28th, 2007 9:32 am

    What about Steve Kelley’s article, in which he makes the following remark:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/stevekelley/2003909312_kelley28.html

    “Bavasi has to make decisions on wunderkindren Adam Jones, Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement. He should bundle all of them and ship them to Minnesota for left-handed starter Johan Santana.

    But on Thursday Bavasi said he wasn’t trading either Jones or Clement. Does that make baseball sense?”

  12. davepaisley on September 28th, 2007 9:34 am

    Generally, I have liked Bavasi, but the interview on the KOMO post game last night was just brutal – awash in conventional wisdom and the same old crap we’ve been hearing all year.

    The Guillen quotes are really right on the money – the more I hear from him the more I tend to like the guy. Candour is always great to hear. I’m not sure I’d want to pay him what he wants to stick around for another three years or so, but relative to what Bavasi might do instead, re-signing him isn’t the worst thing that could happen. And if he really wants to stay here, he ought to come (a bit) cheaper than on the FA market.

  13. Tek Jansen on September 28th, 2007 9:40 am

    Guillen’s quotes are interesting, but I have to wonder if he would be OK with Mac benching him in situations that require it.

  14. Colorado Mariner Fan on September 28th, 2007 9:50 am

    Wow. Many thoughts come to mind. USSM *is* too dismissive of considerations that don’t quantify nicely into spreadsheet analysis. Dave, you guys should work on that. You are clearly responsible for 1.24% of the Mariner’s troubles this year.

    As for the other 98.76% of our problems? It makes no sense to routinely value “veteraness” over talent. With $100m in payroll, we really shouldn’t be making excuses. There is *no* weighty reason to reward a 40-41 performance as unusually successful in this instance.

    My favorite, though, has to be “solidarity… the new grit”. That right there has to be at least 50% of our problem.

    What do you even get when you mix solidarity and grit? A stone?

  15. JMHawkins on September 28th, 2007 9:54 am

    The thing I continue to not understand is why Ichiro! is such a McLaren booster

    McLaren is a nice guy who went out of his way to make Ichiro welcome back in 2001. Both Bavasi and McLaren are nice guys, or at least stand-up guys. I like, and respect, both of them. I just wish they’d adopt a few different strategies for their decision making, because they’re using an increasingly outdated framework.

    Steve Kelley’s article… “Bavasi has to make decisions on wunderkindren Adam Jones, Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement. He should bundle all of them and ship them to Minnesota for left-handed starter Johan Santana.”

    Now that is playing fantasy baseball.

  16. JMHawkins on September 28th, 2007 9:56 am

    Guillen’s quotes are interesting, but I have to wonder if he would be OK with Mac benching him in situations that require it.

    Probably not, which is exactly the point Guillen’s making.

  17. Earl of Tacoma on September 28th, 2007 10:04 am

    This organization needs to be disrupted. That’s the point!

    Is it me or does it seem as if Bavasi built his career here on picking up guys that the Angels didn’t want anymore? These are guys he has something very basic in common with–being unwanted by the Angels. I’d like somebody to explain to me how we’re supposed to beat the Angels using players who weren’t good enough for them to keep.

  18. awolfgang on September 28th, 2007 10:04 am

    #12, And if he really wants to stay here, he ought to come (a bit) cheaper than on the FA market

    Since when have non-NW-native Free Agents given this club a discount on the open market? Actually, every year we hear how the M’s have to overpay just to entice players to come out to the boonies and play in the rain. How come they never mention that their dollars go further in WA, due to no income tax and low property taxes.

  19. IchirosTalkingDog on September 28th, 2007 10:09 am

    Guillen wouldn’t be OK with being benched. He’s a real competitor, he wants to play, and he wants to win. The ‘people part’ of being a good manager is dealing with benching guys who want to play and want to win. The only player Mac has really benched this year has been Jose Lopez, a young kid far from home who just lost his brother. (I don’t mean to make it sound pathetic, but I think if anyone on that roster deserves to play through their struggles, it’s Lopez).

    Mac won’t stand up to any vets, and that is a recipe for disaster. If Bavasi does not make idiot-proof improvements to this team in the offseason, 2008 will be a train wreck.

  20. Carson on September 28th, 2007 10:12 am

    11 (Mousse) – I’m not a fan of Kelley’s writing, and that statement is all the proof you need. Yes, Johan is the best pitcher on the planet, but trading perhaps your three best prospects/trade bait for one pitcher is not going to solve much.

    The decrease in production we can get from Jones on a daily basis will not be made up for by a guy who only plays once every five games. Then, you toss in the only other real trade chips you have, and you can’t aquire anything else.

    Johan is a lefty, and having Ibanez field the bulk of his fly balls in that spacious left field would be the suck.

  21. Carson on September 28th, 2007 10:13 am

    Not to mention, the M’s would never be dumb enough to initiate that trade.

    ..I think.

  22. metz123 on September 28th, 2007 10:13 am

    The M’s didn’t get a dime of my $ this year and now they aren’t going to get a nickel next year. I used to go to 10+ games a year. If that’s the kind of forward progress they want to make, I’ll continue supporting them in this fashion.

  23. IchirosTalkingDog on September 28th, 2007 10:17 am

    22- Same here. I used to get the 20-game, then the 16-game plan every year, but last year I only went to 2 games, both with tickets I got for free. It’s coming to the point where I might even say no to the “free” tickets. (Which cost me $50-$100 to use, depending how much I have to drink to watch the team).

  24. bergamot on September 28th, 2007 10:23 am

    Is Steve “Bring Me The Arm Of Johan Santana” Kelley one of the local writers who last year was clamoring for the M’s to acquire Barry Zito?

  25. pdb on September 28th, 2007 10:23 am

    What do you even get when you mix solidarity and grit?

    Willie Bloomquist.

  26. BLYKMYK44 on September 28th, 2007 10:23 am

    23:”(Which cost me $50-$100 to use, depending how much I have to drink to watch the team)”

    - $100 bucks, eh? What is that these days…three beers? Or maybe 2 domestic beers and a splurge on a microbrew?

  27. Grizz on September 28th, 2007 10:26 am

    I used to split season tickets until we mutually decided to give them up after the Washburn/Everett signings. This year, discounting free tickets from work, friends, or giveaways, I think I paid for tickets to four games. That sounds about right for 2008.

  28. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 10:30 am

    Some of us got a lot of grief around here for hoping the Mariners would lose games once it became apparent that they weren’t going to win… or be competent. The “bad fan” weeks.

    Granted that an organization this f***ed up would probably have found another way to justify its disfunction… But I still can’t help but think that if we’d won four or five fewer games this year, we might have a losing season and some much needed housecleaning.

    Seattle Mariners… where doing just enough to not fired is job #1.

  29. IchirosTalkingDog on September 28th, 2007 10:30 am

    26 – that’s an average – of my two “free” games, one was a Weaver start, which necessitated heavy drinking, of course; many cheap beers. The other was a Felix start, which I skated through with only one beer, the biggest microbrew I could find.

  30. Xteve X on September 28th, 2007 10:31 am

    “Actually, every year we hear how the M’s have to overpay just to entice players to come out to the boonies and play in the rain. How come they never mention that their dollars go further in WA, due to no income tax and low property taxes.”

    Low property taxes? Was that a joke or something?

    I see this brought up a lot with regards to being a lure to free agents. From the athletes I’ve talked to about income tax/property tax in different markets (NBA players) it’s really no incentive, or not enough of one to outweigh other considerations like warm weather or being on a winning team. Most players especially ones making star money have pretty good accountants anyways so the savings really aren’t what you think they are.

    It’s similar to saying would you change jobs to move to Bangor Maine for a 5% raise.

  31. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 10:31 am

    Someone needs to keep sending that dollars spent per win comparison to the Mariners FO, every hour on the hour, until they understand that a .500 season cannot be considered any sort of success.

  32. JMB on September 28th, 2007 10:42 am

    Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?!

  33. bat guano on September 28th, 2007 10:47 am

    This is what happens when your business is run conservatively and with the primary eye to the bottom line. When you’re making money you don’t want to risk shaking things up, and it’s easy to settle for the status quo. The majority of the fans become attached to the players, and the owners don’t want to mess with that. It’s much easier to tinker than to make wholesale changes. It’s depressing to think that it will just be more of the same until there’s a change at the top….

  34. bermanator on September 28th, 2007 10:50 am

    Someone needs to keep sending that dollars spent per win comparison to the Mariners FO, every hour on the hour, until they understand that a .500 season cannot be considered any sort of success.

    And the Mariners FO will ask Bavasi, and Bavasi will say “Look at the dollars we spent per win this season, as opposed to the dollars that Anaheim, New York and Boston spent per win this season. That’s just the cost of doing business. Don’t count Cleveland — their success is just flukey.”

  35. Earl of Tacoma on September 28th, 2007 10:50 am

    Anybody ever spent a winter in Minnesota? If the Twins can win a World Series, there’s no reason other than poor management, that the Mariners can’t.

  36. ira on September 28th, 2007 10:51 am

    “We didn’t finish quite the way we wanted,” Washburn said. “But we’re in position now to have solidarity going into next season.”

    Who knew? The M’s have signed Lech Walesa.

  37. elsid on September 28th, 2007 10:55 am

    The thing about you guys is that you will never be happy, no matter what. Even if the M’s won the WS there would be some sort of disappointment that you could find.

    The M’s didn’t have a .500 season as #31 states. Currently they are at .525+. Even, if they were hot through the losing streak, in order to get 95 wins, that would only have been .586. There are not many .600 and .700 seasons. In fact, this year there are only 2 teams with a chance at a .600 season — and that is if they win out — no team will win 100 games.

    And by the way, what is “almost exactly”??? Isn’t that impossible. If the M’s lose out, they will have 85 wins, at the top of what everyone supposedly predicted.

    On my brother’s comments from the Times, he stated facts — so how do you know what he was thinking. You took it to mean the standard, “we did good enough” or “we did what we were supposed to”, when in fact it meant that “we did what we did — nothing special — we were decent all season, no great”

  38. galaxieboi on September 28th, 2007 10:55 am

    Judging from what I’ve heard Lincoln say and how this team is run I don’t think they could be happier. They make a TON of money every year, which is their primary goal. They spend enough so casual fans think they really are trying but are utterly pound-foolish about it. Like Connie Mack said if they win it all everyone is gonna want a huge raise. As #33 points out they’re looking at the bottom line. And really, for them that’s all that matters.

  39. Grizz on September 28th, 2007 10:55 am

    The income tax issue is not a make or break consideration, but the person to talk to would be the agent, not the player. The agent certainly factors in income tax obligations when evaluating competing offers from teams.

    From a purely financial standpoint, a $100 million offer from the Mariners is 4% better than a $100 million offer from the Cubs due to the income tax obligations. When a player asks his agent who is offering the most money, the agent is going to say the M’s in that case.

  40. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 10:59 am

    So you nitpick over the fact that they’re actually going to finish 3 games over .500 when I made a minor point that they were going to have a .500 season, but ignore the information I was emphasizing, which is that their dollars per win is one of the worst in the league?

    PI blog ———->

  41. joser on September 28th, 2007 11:02 am

    No Bavasi, this isn’t fantasy baseball. It’s reality baseball. And the reality is, you’re not doing so well at it.

  42. elsid on September 28th, 2007 11:02 am

    If the last half of the statement is not true, then how can the first half be relevant.

  43. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 11:04 am

    Fine, let me reformat then:

    Someone needs to keep sending that dollars spent per win comparison to the Mariners FO, every hour on the hour, until they understand that a SLIGHTLY OVER .500 season cannot be considered any sort of success.

  44. joser on September 28th, 2007 11:04 am

    Who knew? The M’s have signed Lech Walesa

    I bet he’s another guy who really can only DH, or 1B (badly) in a pinch. Willie must be worried: he’s the union rep, afterall.

  45. Earl of Tacoma on September 28th, 2007 11:06 am

    If the goal of this organization is to win it all, (maybe that’s a big if,) there is no other possible conclusion than that ownership and management has failed miserably year after year.

    It says something about the mindset in the front office that failing to advance beyond the ALCS in ’95 is such a great source of pride that the anniversary of it was turned into a marketing promotion this season.

    “Buy your tickets now for “the one year we didn’t totally suck night!”

    10 years from now they can celebrate being the wild card leader in late August.

    Instead of blaming the suits, why don’t we the fans blame ourselves for financially supporting this culture of underachievement?

  46. HamNasty on September 28th, 2007 11:15 am

    45- Cause every year 29 teams wouldn’t have fans??

    If you go to a restaurant and your burger sucks do you blame yourself for being hungry and getting food? Or do you blame the cook for not doing his job? I blame the cook, maybe I am the only one.

  47. Doc Baseball on September 28th, 2007 11:16 am

    Someone needs to keep sending that dollars spent per win comparison to the Mariners FO, every hour on the hour, until they understand that a SLIGHTLY OVER .500 season and having your opponents outscore you by 30 runs cannot be considered any sort of success.

    And what are you talking about, “you guys will never be happy”? That is just bullshit. Essentially everyone here will be ecstatic if the M’s win the World Series. If you really are George’s brother, you’d think that’s what he and all of them want too. No one here wants to be sad and frustrated. We also just want to tell the truth — this team was badly constituted by Bavasi and badly managed by McLaren. Please explain how this was a success ?!? The team met expectations — WHICH EXPECTATIONS WERE LOWER THAN THEY SHOULD BE BECAUSE BAVASI PUT TOGETHER A FLAWED TEAM. Expectations for a $100 Million club should always be make the playoffs, win the World Series. If you really are George’s brother, tell us — are the players really happy? Look at Guillen’s comments — he knows they need more pieces. He knows McLaren needs to manage differently….

  48. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 11:25 am

    The ‘people part’ of being a good manager is dealing with benching guys who want to play and want to win.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

  49. scott19 on September 28th, 2007 11:29 am

    1) Great quote from JW there, LaRue…I noticed how he’s REALLY been “exceeding everybody’s expectations” since he got here.

    2) 44: Perhaps we should sign the former union leader/Polish president as the #5 starter for next year. I mean, he’s probably about seventy by now, never played baseball in his life…yet could STILL pitch better than HoRam.

  50. Earl of Tacoma on September 28th, 2007 11:30 am

    If I go to the restaurant for 30 straight years knowing the food sucks, I blame myself.

    I’m not saying don’t support a team that fails to win the world series every year. I’m saying we should consider withdrawing support for a poorly run sports team that year after year measures it’s success in dollars as opposed to winning, or to use the restaurant analogy, a restaurant that puts out bad food because it can get away with it.

    The problem in Seattle is that we’ve been taught to fear ownership will abandon us, to be grateful they continue to play in the $500 million dollar stadium we bought them.

    We’re grateful for the schlock they continue to sell us. Why?

    The Florida Marlins were still an expansion team in 1995 and they won the series a couple years later, nuked the team and then won it again a few years after that. Arizona is on the verge of doing the same.

  51. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 11:31 am

    The thing about you guys is that you will never be happy, no matter what.

    Why SHOULD we be happy with this year?

  52. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 11:35 am

    37 – “The thing about you guys is that you will never be happy, no matter what. Even if the M’s won the WS there would be some sort of disappointment that you could find.”

    Not only is that stupid statement not true:

    I’d think you’d find that this group, as much as there is any “group” at all, would be more forgiving than most at a losing season, two losing seasons, a 40-122 season… IF it was in the interest of building a much stronger team for the future.

    But take this treading-water mediocrity and bury it. It is utterly useless.

    I could love every game of a losing season if I felt it was really preparing for the future. This team is not.

  53. jimbob on September 28th, 2007 11:39 am

    Mariner management loves the way Bavasi runs the team — attendance is way up this year and he’s swapped in new hacks for the Wilson/Boonie/Edgar/Olerud rotting carcasses of yore. Keep hiring washed up rubber-armed losers like Washburn to soak up innings and paint over Safeco with Raul’s picture or whatever marketable veteran spews great press quotes and it’s all good — WFB would be perfect if he had talent. This is entertainment for the casual tourist/fan and Beltre and Ichiro need to examine what misguided karma landed them in this hell world.

  54. Mike Honcho on September 28th, 2007 11:44 am

    Understanding that this is a moot point now, but I don’t recall the USSM guys ever giving a recommendation for a new manager.

    We know Chris Antonetti is a fave for the GM spot, but who do (did) Dave, DMZ, and JMB like for managerial candidates?

  55. Max Power on September 28th, 2007 11:47 am

    IF it was in the interest of building a much stronger team for the future.

    Made this point in the other post but realistically, this is the one area where Bavasi should be credited. The consensus is that he’s drafted well – the writers here were overjoyed at Aumont just a couple of months ago. There’s a really solid core of young players on the roster today and a decent crop of at-least-useful players in the minors.

    Bavasi’s not good at locating and evaluating talent at the ML level, but the farm system is by all accounts in much better shape since he joined the organization.

  56. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 11:48 am

    “I could love every game of a losing season if I felt it was really preparing for the future. This team is not.”

    Even if there was any reason to believe the team was being run shrewdly and just had some bad breaks, that would be fine.

    But with the payroll the Mariners have, they should be a perennial playoff contender, and they WOULD be if they spent their money better.

    Instead, they waste huge gobs of money on poorly constructed teams, and THAT is why we’re unhappy, because the Bavasi/McLaren extensions mean that the team’s higher-level leadership thinks the team is being run well, and that is just empirically not true.

  57. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 11:48 am

    That is some kind of crappy organization that can say “attendance is way up!” because they only look back one year.

    Attendance is pretty much what it was 2 years ago – which was a five year low.

    When “not quite as crappy” becomes “success!” you need new people in charge.

  58. joser on September 28th, 2007 11:48 am

    I think it’s pretty clear the right path is the Angels model: keep Bavasi around for a couple more years to build up the farm, then fire him and win the world series a couple of years later (bonus strategy: hire Buck Showalter to manage for one year)

  59. DMZ on September 28th, 2007 11:49 am

    w/r/t Kelley — we’ve discussed this before, but there’s a reason we don’t generally give Steve Kelley columns any notice: he has the baseball knowledge of a doorknob and the writing and analysis skills of the door.

  60. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 11:49 am

    The impression I’ve always gotten is that the farm system being in good shape is mostly Bob Fontaine, not Bavasi, but I don’t have any problem giving him credit for the minor leagues improving.

    He just doesn’t understand how to construct a team at the MLB level, and that is the far more important part of his job.

  61. Tuomas on September 28th, 2007 11:50 am

    Apparently the Seattle Mariners = McDonalds. Who knew?

  62. Tuomas on September 28th, 2007 11:52 am

    54: I remember hearing about Manny Acta from them.

  63. awolfgang on September 28th, 2007 11:52 am

    –#30, #39
    In case you care, here are the sales tax, income tax, and property tax (per $1,000) for the AL markets, excluding Toronto. So for Seattle, that is 107 AL games in tax free states, with the 5th lowest property tax.
    Sales Income Property
    Seattle – 8.80% – 0.00% – $10.83
    Anaheim – 7.75% – 6.00% – $8.29
    Arlington – 8.00% – 0.00% – $20.88
    Oakland – 8.75% – 6.00% – $8.24
    Cleveland – 8.00% – 6.99% – $16.08
    Minneapolis – 7.00% – 8.00% – $14.31
    Detroit – 6.00% – 7.40% – $16.22
    Kansas City – 7.35% – 7.00% – $12.91
    Chicago – 8.75% – 3.00% – $15.89
    New York – 8.63% – 10.53% – $7.23
    Boston – 5.00% – 5.95% – $10.10
    Tampa – 7.00% – 0.00% – $14.92
    Baltimore – 5.00% – 7.45% – $18.70
    Toronto don’t know, but the loonie is equal to the dollar now.

    data provided courtesy of bestplaces.net

  64. bayoumariner on September 28th, 2007 11:54 am

    Meanwhile Bob Melvin and Bryan Price are laughing at us while they play games that matter and will likely head to the playoffs.

  65. joser on September 28th, 2007 11:55 am

    The thing about you guys is that you will never be happy, no matter what.
    Ask us after they return to the postseason. Ask us after they reach the WS.

    #56: exactly. I’ve said it before: I don’t mind losing, I can tolerate losing badly, I can even live with losing ugly. But what I cannot abide is losing stupidly. If the A’s had a bigger payroll it would be one thing, but it was infuriating to watch them win the division so often the past few years simply by being smarter. And it’s not going to get better: the Angels have deep pockets and aren’t showing a lot of evidence of stupidity, and the A’s are going to be moving into a new stadium and seeing a lot more revenue in a few years. If the strategy is simply to spend money and not be the dumbest team in the division, that’a a recipe to merely outplay the Rangers (heaven help this team if Texas ever gets a clue).

  66. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 11:56 am

    55 – I think you have a valid point, but that’s not what I meant.

    At no time lately have I felt like the team was choosing the future over the present when they came in conflict.

    It threw money at overpriced, old players. It used Morrow (because they didn’t care enough about the future to draft you know who) as a reliever, setting back any starter development he may have (and if he doesn’t then… hey, high draft pick reliever, whee), it sat Adam Jones instead of getting him comfortable and ready for next year, it brought in Parrish and White…

    It did the bare minimum to prepare for next year. And we go into next year no better and with the same question marks, plus some new ones.

    It scoffed at the Cleveland model and instead we get this heap of a team.

  67. Max Power on September 28th, 2007 11:56 am

    The impression I’ve always gotten is that the farm system being in good shape is mostly Bob Fontaine, not Bavasi, but I don’t have any problem giving him credit for the minor leagues improving

    He should get as much credit for the farm system as he does criticism for McLaren’s in-game management fiasco. Both guys are his employees – so ultimately what they do is his responsibility.

  68. Russ on September 28th, 2007 11:56 am

    I’d like to be upset about McLaren coming back as I don’t have any hope of him evolving. However it’s totally expected. I knew it was coming.

    Just remember that we gave Melvin an extension and let him go the following season. This doesn’t mean much at this point. If Mac comes out of Spring training sucking it up and missing opportunities, he is still disposable.

    As was already mentioned above, quite eloquently I might add, it really doesn’t matter as this FO will continue to hire managers of the same ilk as Hargrove, McLaren and Melvin as that is the type of manager they identify with. This FO simply isn’t going to make a dramatic change in how they evaluate talent in either players or managers. They don’t see a problem and even if they did, they would see a different problem then most of us here.

  69. kwk on September 28th, 2007 11:57 am

    This is what happens when your business is run conservatively and with the primary eye to the bottom line.

    Bingo. I think the elephant in the room here is that the team’s front office doesn’t care about building a team the right way. That’s not in the business plan. The emphasis has never been on creating revenue by building a team that’s great at baseball. They draw fans with slick PR, homegrown NW and Japanese ballplayers, and a beautiful stadium that they didn’t pay for. The guys put in management positions don’t have to be good at there jobs, they just have to be non-controversial “people” people. And they throw in enough money to the payroll so that it’s pretty damn hard to finish below .500.

    Here’s what we all need to understand: the Mariners decided a while back to make money in a different way than the teams that have embraced statistical analysis. This probably isn’t going to change unless the current system stops working.

    I think a few of us stat geeks might want to start finding another favorite team. It’s like being a big fan of action movies, but you only watch romantic comedies because that’s what they play at the theater right by your house.

  70. Max Power on September 28th, 2007 12:05 pm

    At no time lately have I felt like the team was choosing the future over the present when they came in conflict…
    It did the bare minimum to prepare for next year. And we go into next year no better and with the same question marks, plus some new ones.

    I think some of the offseason mistakes last year were likely unintended consequences of the ‘hot-seat’ designation last year that may not apply this year. I’d specualate Bavasi entered the off-season last year knowing two things:

    1) He had to show an improvement (I’m guessing a winning record)
    2) He only had 2 arms he considered serviceable in the rotation

    Wild guess, but I think this lead to some really panicky moves – Soriano comes to mind, but also the Batista and Weaver signings (of course it doesn’t explain Vidro – I still don’t get that one).

    I think his situation coming into this offseason is different, and hope it will turn out better. I’m actually more optimistic than I was a year ago for what it’s worth.

  71. bermanator on September 28th, 2007 12:06 pm

    Bingo. I think the elephant in the room here is that the team’s front office doesn’t care about building a team the right way. That’s not in the business plan. The emphasis has never been on creating revenue by building a team that’s great at baseball. They draw fans with slick PR, homegrown NW and Japanese ballplayers, and a beautiful stadium that they didn’t pay for.

    That’s too simplistic. Winning generates more revenue than losing — PR, homegrown talent, or Japanese ballplayers on a 65-win team wouldn’t get much of a walk-up crowd. They’re giving Bavasi money to spend, and Bavasi cares about winning.

    To the front office, an 85-win season only ratifies that Bavasi’s way is the right way, Internet criticism be damned.

  72. Manzanillos Cup on September 28th, 2007 12:14 pm

    71: Sure he cares about winning. But he’s an old dog. He’s predictable, obedient, and set in his outdated methods. Bavasi is given a lot of money to work with, and he turns it into a team that wins just enough games so that the fans keep coming and buying stuff.

    I’m sure they know that winning is important, but their definition of a successful season is much different than ours.

  73. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 12:14 pm

    “This is what happens when your business is run conservatively and with the primary eye to the bottom line.”

    I would say ANNUAL bottom line. Caring about the bottom line is fine, but not at the expense of future bottom lines, not unless you’re signing the hundredth monkey to a 3 year deal.

    That’s why you need an owner or board of directors or CEO for a business that looks at the big picture… because the heads of departments are only worried about the annual numbers… and that’s a crappy way to run a business… someone has to be thinking bigger.

    Lincoln is on record as saying his goal is a profit “every year”. That’s how he thinks. That’s how he is trained to think. That’s not helpful.

    #70 – I totally agree with all of that… except for next year being different. Not sure why you would think that. The pressure is only getting hotter.

  74. Max Power on September 28th, 2007 12:22 pm

    I totally agree with all of that… except for next year being different. Not sure why you would think that. The pressure is only getting hotter.

    Yeah, it is going to be a tougher hill for him to climb, but I don’t think he would see as many needs as he did a year ago. For all their mediocrity, he can continue to run Washburn/Batista/Baek out there from a pitching standpoint, and he’s got at least two guys from AAA who one would expect to be able to contribute to the ML roster in Balentien & Jones.

    I think going into the offseason last year, there were more clear question marks and he’d been told win or get fired. I think he’s got a better core of players headed into next year than he did a year ago, and am hopeful this will lead to more judicious decision-making when it comes to acquisitions.

  75. scraps on September 28th, 2007 12:32 pm

    The thing about you guys is that you will never be happy, no matter what. Even if the M’s won the WS there would be some sort of disappointment that you could find.

    Anyone who says any variant of this has left the realm of decent civilized conversation. Not only is it eye-rollingly unoriginal and clearly false to anyone whose eyes aren’t flecked with their own spittle, it is a pure personal attack disguised as a general comment. Why bother responding to anything such a person says?

  76. Paul B on September 28th, 2007 12:49 pm

    Chiming in on this subject:

    Same here. I used to get the 20-game, then the 16-game plan every year, but last year I only went to 2 games, both with tickets I got for free. It’s coming to the point where I might even say no to the “free” tickets.

    I moved to the Northwest in 1984. Since then, I’ve had 20 game plans some years, weekend plans other years, season tickets for a couple of years, and just gone to a lot of games in the other years. I’ve gone to spring training a couple of times, too.

    In the last few years, though, I’ve gone to very few games. I think I went to one game this year (obviously, it wasn’t memorable at all), and like the person I quoted, it was on tickets I got for free.

    I’ve pretty much decided to even set my Tivo to stop recording the games since I don’t watch them anymore. Heck, my wife (also a longtime baseball fan) won’t watch baseball with me anymore because I “complain too much”.

    I’ll check in here in the off season and next season, for a good dose of insight into what is going on. Maybe I can get interested again in M’s baseball when things change from the top down.

    I’ve got a dozen other hobbies to keep me busy in my free time.

  77. eponymous coward on September 28th, 2007 12:54 pm

    The Florida Marlins were still an expansion team in 1995 and they won the series a couple years later, nuked the team and then won it again a few years after that. Arizona is on the verge of doing the same.

    … and they draw 4,000 for games.

    Seriously, would you trade 1995 and 2001 for THAT?

    Also, moaning about 30 years of no World Series has to be pretty amusing for a Cubs fan to hear.

  78. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 1:00 pm

    Sure he cares about winning. But he’s an old dog. He’s predictable, obedient, and set in his outdated methods.

    Well the point is that ways are outdated…but they DO work after a fashion.

    The frustration is that there are newer, BETTER ways, but the front office innate conservatism is blinded to that, convinced that there results justify their methods.

    A better way to put it is that they’re leaving wins on the table with their methods. And that’s something NO businessman should be happy with.

  79. kentroyals5 on September 28th, 2007 1:05 pm

    Domino’s will fall…McLaren’s job is on the line early next year. He sucks early, he’s gone. Therefore, he’s not going to play AJ (or whoever) when experienced veterans are on his roster. We all know it.

  80. bermanator on September 28th, 2007 1:22 pm

    Domino’s will fall…McLaren’s job is on the line early next year. He sucks early, he’s gone.

    I’d be really disturbed if that was the thought process. Why bother bringing him back if he’s going to be on that short of a leash? What, are you going to fire him, hire another interim manager, and be convinced that the new guy deserves another shot in 2009?

  81. Bearman on September 28th, 2007 1:22 pm

    Well so Adam Jones and Jeff Clement are safe from being traded wow how very good of Bavasi.
    Just means all other top prospects are open to be traded for next group of overpaid on the downside bunch of “proven veterans” that Bavasi just has to have.

    As far as what the local sports writers are saying well to me it’s just the FO PR release rewritten to appear as a real article and just rehashing of what the FO has said over the season.The themes and opinions are too consistent and similar.

    You are the only ones the USS Mariner who has had the giuts to say what I’ve been saying for more than a year now.

    If this so called “ownership” really wants a contender and maybe a World Series for this club asd the fans.
    They must stand up,get the biggest broom they have available,FIRE the entire FO from Lincoln to Bavasi.

    Start over with a true GM who holds all the power and the offices of CEO and/or team President are what they should be largely PR only with little authority.

  82. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 1:24 pm

    Start over with a true GM who holds all the power and the offices of CEO and/or team President are what they should be largely PR only with little authority.

    Hm. Not sure ANY major league team is run like that.

  83. Max Power on September 28th, 2007 1:31 pm

    Start over with a true GM who holds all the power and the offices of CEO and/or team President are what they should be largely PR only with little authority.

    Hm. Not sure ANY major league team is run like that.

    Nor would you want one. Don’t know how good the average GM is at negotiating media contracts, vendor relationships, facilities maintenance, travel contracts (just to name a few).

    Other than that, it’s a great idea.

  84. Churchill on September 28th, 2007 1:31 pm

    I disagree. I think real analysis is for nerds with spreadsheet, still. The problem is, the Mariners hire idiots, not nerds.

  85. scraps on September 28th, 2007 2:20 pm

    I, too, want to thank you all for having the guts to say what Bearman has been saying for more than a year, because I couldn’t figure out what Bearman was saying.

  86. elsid on September 28th, 2007 2:30 pm

    #47 — Who said the season was a success? Not me. The team is looking to exceed most expectations. Which, in turn, is a “big whoop” to most, if not all of you guys. If you have a problem with the way things are run, do whatever you can about it. You can write letters. You can put a group together to buy the team (Anything is for sale, if you have the right amount of money). Sure, everything isn’t going to work for everyone — that is common sense.

    The M’s are the M’s — whatever that means. Only you guys know. They haven’t won the WS, so does that mean that everything has been run incorrectly by many different people for 30 years. The Cubs haven’t won one in 90 years. Does that mean that their club is run ineptly? If so, then why do they sell out nearly every game, every year. Why — because it is baseball. Yeah, everyone wants to win, everyone wants to win it all. The problem is only one team can, everyone else fails. As they say, 2nd place is just the first loser. So, in some senses this was a good sign. The team made progress into the right direction. Was it everything, no, no one said it was.

    In answer to your other question(s), yes, I am George’s brother. If you don’t believe me, then fine. As to your other question, the answer is a resounding “yes”, that everybody on that team liked McClaren as their manager. They were much happier as a team without Hargrove at the helm. Maybe McClaren was too soft, as Guillen said, not fully sure.

    But heck, you could blame the people on the team just as much as the manager or GM. Why does my brother have a 2.36 ERA, when he could have a 0.00, if he had pitched better? Why did he give up 4 HRs this year, when he didn’t give up any last year? Why he K/BB ratio only 3:1 instead of 4:1? Where does it end? It ends, when someone says this year was good, let’s make next year better!

  87. Red Apple on September 28th, 2007 2:39 pm

    As they say, 2nd place is just the first loser.

    Is that what they say? It seems to me it would be the last loser.

  88. zugzwang on September 28th, 2007 2:44 pm

    85 – LMAO

    One question: People keep saying Bavasi knows how to load up a farm system. Is this really true? What’s the criteria for that? It seems like there are no arms in the system that people are excited about. Do we have more promising position players than most other organizations? A while back I did a quick check on some of Bavasi’s drafts for the Angels. Yeah, he got some hits, but everyone does that. Did he really do better than average in all those drafts?

    OK, that was one meta-question with many sub-questions. Any illumination would be welcome.

  89. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 2:46 pm

    It seems like there are no arms in the system that people are excited about.

    Do some research.

  90. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 2:47 pm

    Who said the season was a success? Not me. The team is looking to exceed most expectations.

    Not on this site.

    Since you started out with an incorrect assumption, you may want to rethink that.

  91. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 2:48 pm

    And again, if the team leaves wins on the table, that can only be disappointing.

  92. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 2:55 pm

    86 –

    Why not ignore any shortcomings? Heck, maybe there aren’t any! I mean, why should the team improve at all? Who is to say what needs improvement? Maybe everybody will magically get better and win 120 games next year!

    Come on, man. If you can’t see where McLaren or Bavasi failed, then fine, but don’t assume no one else can.

    I’m not even sure what your point is. Don’t criticize anything? There aren’t people that are better at some jobs than other people? There aren’t better managers or GM’s out there?

    Let’s all just be happy to lose? And throw away another year?

    Whee.

    Your brother was great this year. Why compare him to a someone who made terrible decisions one after the other? He deserves better.

  93. Xteve X on September 28th, 2007 3:01 pm

    “The Cubs haven’t won one in 90 years. Does that mean that their club is run ineptly? If so, then why do they sell out nearly every game, every year. Why — because it is baseball.”

    elsid, they sell out every year because Cubs fans as a whole don’t have any illusion that their team is actually going to be good. They go to the ballpark to enjoy Wrigley Field and hear a different celebrity sing “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch.

    When I lived in Chicago in the early 00s I specifically remember one game I attended that crystallized everything about Cub fandom for me. It was a work function … we’re all sitting there in our seats with our hot dogs watching a Cubs/Cards game, beautiful afternoon. It was a fairly close game until Ryan Farnsworth loads the bases full and a hilariously misplayed fielder’s choice loses the game for the Cubs in the 7th. And the reaction of the fans in the stands was astonishing. They honestly weren’t angry. It was more a resigned shrug and “Well, that’s the Cubs for you.” And this is in a game against their biggest rival!

    So I thought, why should the Tribune Corporation do anything differently if they can still get 2 million saps walking through the turnstile regardless of the product on the field?

    Mariners management is no different. They don’t want to improve the product on the field because in their minds, there’s nothing wrong with it. If the expectations are set so low that a .500 or .525 record is a success, or that a 40-41 record down the stretch warrants platitudes like “a superb job,” it sure makes it pretty hard to fail, doesn’t it? I mean Lincoln’s quotes about McLaren are right up there with “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”

  94. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 3:03 pm

    Let me put it this way:

    Do you believe that in the entire world, McClaren is the best possible manager the Mariners could have?

    Do you believe that the Mariners could not a find a better GM for this team in the entire world?

    Of anyone available, would these guys be your very first choice?

    You’re spending a hundred million dollars a year to run one of 30 MLB teams in the world.

    Do you really want to hand those keys to people with gigantic question marks and bad track records?

    You can’t do better? Not even a little?

  95. jlc on September 28th, 2007 3:04 pm

    Your brother was great this year. Why compare him to a someone who made terrible decisions one after the other? He deserves better.

    That’s the real shame of it. We have some great pieces to build on, players who are fun to watch (and Sherrill’s been one of my favorites all year), and money to work with. If I thought there was even a 50-50 shot that Bavasi could pull off next season, I’d be fine. But I seriously think (not feel, or believe, but think, as in using my analytical abilities) that the only way BB can get a team to the playoffs is with an enormous helping of luck. I’m not willing to settle for that.

  96. westfried on September 28th, 2007 3:08 pm

    El Sid, thanks for commenting, here and at LL. I really do appreciate the inside insight that you bring. For example, listing the percentage of games that George has been available and warmed up, was fascinating. It adds quite a bit.

    One thing I wonder, though, is if your brother is looking at it through a colored lens. Ie, he likes MacLaren – but that was a great comment about the kid eating chocolate and loving the babysitter.

    There is such a thing as “tough love”, and can be necessary – I manage a team of software developers – it’d be real easy to be everybody’s friend (kind of like MacLaren is), but there are times when I need to be hard.

    George is in the game. He is giving it his all, and has become a damn fine pitcher. And he believes in his team, which is great. But he has a very close perspective, and maybe can’t see that swapping out some of the veterans could help the team. He believes in his buddies – he has to – so maybe he doesn’t want to see what they can’t do.

    I love getting his perspective, even second-hand. So please keep bringing it. But maybe it takes an outsider to see that a soft-touch manager like MacLaren can lose respect, and control, pretty quickly. Jose Guillen, of all people, seems to get it. Ibanez, from his quote, just wants the babysitter to let him keep playing.

  97. Red Apple on September 28th, 2007 3:11 pm

    Mariners management is no different. They don’t want to improve the product on the field because in their minds, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    I don’t know if that’s really the case — they were willing to throw almost $100m at Zito in the offseason, so that tells me they do want to improve the product. The problem is that they have fundamental misconceptions about how to successfully build a team. They spend money, but in many cases, do a bad job of it.

  98. Manzanillos Cup on September 28th, 2007 3:13 pm

    Cool! If we assume that elsid has good information, we now know that winning and chemistry in the Seattle clubhouse correlate negatively!

  99. Xteve X on September 28th, 2007 3:18 pm

    “I don’t know if that’s really the case — they were willing to throw almost $100m at Zito in the offseason, so that tells me they do want to improve the product. The problem is that they have fundamental misconceptions about how to successfully build a team. ”

    Spending $100 million for Barry Zito would be Exhibit A in that case, but point taken. I’m just saying that upper mgmt clearly measures success more at the turnstile than by wins and losses. John McLaren didn’t get re-upped because he won baseball games, he got re-upped because he didn’t rock the boat and because attendance didn’t go down.

    As long as mgmt gets their 2.5 million fans a year coming to the park buying garlic fries and beer they’re happy regardless of whether the team wins 90 games or 30.

  100. eric on September 28th, 2007 3:18 pm

    On the taxes thing and FAs. For the guys at the top we’re talking about I don’t think it matters because it isn’t about the amount of money they make for most of them, it is the ego thing of getting paid more than someone else.

  101. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 3:20 pm

    I don’t know if that’s really the case — they were willing to throw almost $100m at Zito in the offseason, so that tells me they do want to improve the product. The problem is that they have fundamental misconceptions about how to successfully build a team.

    Wouldn’t be such a problem if everyone else had the same conception.

    Of course, they don’t…

  102. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 3:23 pm

    Spending $100 million for Barry Zito would be Exhibit A in that case, but point taken. I’m just saying that upper mgmt clearly measures success more at the turnstile than by wins and losses. John McLaren didn’t get re-upped because he won baseball games, he got re-upped because he didn’t rock the boat and because attendance didn’t go down.

    That doesn’t make sense. Or, rather, it hashes up the correlations. Could just as easily said McLaren was held over because he was part of management that improved wins and THEY didn’t want to rock the boat.

  103. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 3:27 pm

    Yeah, I’ve never been convinced by the argument that the M’s don’t want to put a winning team on the field.

    I think the issue is more along the line of them not KNOWING how to put a winning team on the field. They don’t know how to properly value resources and utilize them effectively.

    Despite the team’s record for the year likely slightly surpassing what some folks had them projected at (myself, I though they’d be high 70-low 80 wins), the point we’re all trying to make is that if the M’s would have used their resources more effectively (not letting Adam Jones rot on the bench, not setting back Morrow’s development by putting him in the bullpen, etc etc), they could have been a 90 win team, and we’d be getting ready for a playoff run, however brief.

    This was a season of missed opportunities, and you can’t dismiss that just by saying that they’re going to win a couple more games than they did last year.

  104. zugzwang on September 28th, 2007 3:28 pm

    89 — gee, thanks

    The question remains: is our farm system better stocked than average? If there are pitchers you’re excited about, they are long-range projects (Aumont, Ramirez), rehab cases (Baek, Lowe), or hopeful conversions (RRS, Morrow). It seemed to me, from the depths of my woeful ignorance, that there was a lot more hopeful buzz about our future pitching prospects five years ago than there is now. So, again: how does this staple of prospects compare? Does Bavasi deserve this particular pat on the shoulder?

  105. Sec 108 on September 28th, 2007 3:32 pm

    Thanks Dave. As I read the paper at lunch I said to myself many of the same things you said in response to these quotes. My response to the Ibanez quote was almost verbatim.

  106. elsid on September 28th, 2007 3:34 pm

    I am not saying that things don’t need to change, nor are there the right people running things. I am just saying that you can’t scrap the season as a total loss, becuase of the 85,000 reasons that y’all give — well yes y’all can.

    In answer to #92 question on my brother about comparing him to people that make terrible decisions one after that other — who again put my brother on the team????????(Some guy named Bavasi, whoever the hell he is) Sure my brother deserves better.

    He deserved to get a shot a long time ago. He has strived through more than most of you guys could ever even dream of. $400-$500/wk travelling around in buses (no planes), every trip being 6-20 hours. Just think, if the Mariners had been 5 minutes later, he would have been a Yankee.

    Again, take a look at what you have and grow on it. Make next year better than this year. This isn’t 2001, nor can every year be. Since I am not a Mariner fan, I don’t even remember them being in the playoffs in 2001, except for the zillion clips they show of it on FSNNW. So for me as a Mariners’ fan (actually only a fan of close games so my brother can get in — haha), this was their best year. To me they have been getting better every year. Sure things with ever team in every year could be better — all over MLB.

    If you aren’t happy with it, then step up — not to me, to the club. I am no one special. I just post here from time to time. I am by no means saying anything is perfect, nor has it been great, but it was fun to watch from out outside perspective. That is the thing to me, I watch it for being my brother and being baseball, nothing more. Take a step outside the box, look at it from a different point of view. It is fun not even being near the NW but can tell you things that go on closer to the field than most. I am not trying to knock anyone, just trying to give a different perspective.

    Also, it is strange to me in looking at the season…that if the M’s lose out and Boston or Cleveland wins out, that the M’s this year would only be 12 wins from the best record in baseball — but this year is a failure?!?

  107. elsid on September 28th, 2007 3:36 pm

    #96 — I never said that he didn’t want changes — nor can I directly. I can just say that he and everyone else liked McClaren, at least compared to the previous two mgrs.

  108. elsid on September 28th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Also to #96, the second part of George’s quotes from The Times was not listed here: “He knows everybody in here and knows how everybody clicks. It’s just a matter of bringing in the right pieces and doing something special next year.”

  109. Jeff Nye on September 28th, 2007 3:41 pm

    No one is saying that this season was a total loss. What we’re saying, again, is that there were a ton of missed opportunities this year, and if the team had been run better, this year would have been a significant step forward, rather than an arguable baby step forward.

    The talent was available (sort of, there are still some glaring holes) but it was utilized poorly.

    And I’m pretty sure we’ve all emailed Mariners Care repeatedly; it hasn’t helped very much, if at all, although the Hernandez pitch charting situation was a happy moment for a lot of us.

  110. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 3:42 pm

    #104:

    Look, there are people and blogs all excited about people like Tillman, Butler, Bibens Dirkx and the like. That’s a different question than whether or not the farm system is better stocked than average. With Bavasi’s time on the job, there’s no way there’s going to be immediate fruits from his tenure for the team of the past couple years—that’s the way players work their way through the system.

    And given the way prospects develop, die out or flare up, it’s a tricky thing to be evaluating in the first place.

    And given that the Mariners have been absolutely terrible at developing their own talent BEFORE Bavasi came on as GM, there may be confounding factors at work here…

  111. Ebenezer on September 28th, 2007 3:45 pm

    Baker covered this in his blog today, but in case you hadn’t heard Chuck Armstrong’s stated reason for trading Soriano (via an Associated Press article):

    Armstrong said the disastrous trade that brought Horacio Ramirez from Atlanta for proven veteran setup reliever Rafael Soriano wasn’t all Bavasi’s fault. Armstrong said, without naming specific off-field incidents, that “a lot of things went on that compelled us to make that move” of Soriano for whatever the Mariners could get.

    Nice to see the M’s front office taking responsibility for their mistakes. This sounds like the reason given for trading a former starting shortshop and staff ace for nothing.

  112. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 3:48 pm

    Nice to see the M’s front office taking responsibility for their mistakes.

    Hmmm….also noting that they’re admitting to meddling in the baseball operations. Guess they felt they could slip it past the fans.

    (Also…doesn’t that admit that they CAN’T handle difficult personalities in the clubhouse? That’s a big part of being a manager and it looks like their preferred solution is to ship ‘em off…)

  113. Bearman on September 28th, 2007 3:50 pm

    When I say a true GM with most of the power I mean most so called “CEO” and “Team President” rarly interfere with a competent one.
    However the last thing Lincoln and Armstrong and it seems the ownership as well wants is a COMPETENT GM or why would the stick with as poor a one as Bavasi remember he is ranked 30th out of 30 MLB GMs.

    Granted the drafts have been begining to pay off but when will Bavasi and the FO ALLOW the talent that’s surfacing play out their deserved chances before panicing and trading them away.
    That’s the point of the farm when it begins to show major talent you work with it before dipping into the FA,trade, or just acting like it’s not there.

    As to the question raised as to who would be a upgrade from Bavasi.I have list here that will answer that:
    Bob Engle:from my understanding was the FO’s orginial choice before the switch to Bavasi.He also is the one who brought Hernandez,Betancourt,Lopez and other top talent to the M’s.

    Chris Antonetti:presently the asst.GM with the Cleveland Indians as far as I know.Considering the
    success that franchise has and is experiencing.
    I believe he would have a formula that will bring a winner and champion to Seattle.

    These are two names that I believe are excellent replacements and definate upgrades to Bavasi.

  114. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 3:55 pm

    I think all teams have CEOs and Presidents that dabble a bit in team operations.

    But it could be fair to say that the Mariner upper brass have a greater tendency to meddle and not know their limits.

    I think their views on team chemistry and character (wife beaters aside)(or maybe they don’t consider that part of character) show that…

  115. Dayve on September 28th, 2007 3:56 pm

    M’s are a profitable business. Anyone disagree? Why would Lincoln and Armstrong want to fix what is not broken (as far as profitability goes)?

  116. jlc on September 28th, 2007 3:58 pm

    106 – I don’t think the season is a failure. I think the team is looking at the wrong parts of this season to move forward. I think the players outplayed the hand their management dealt them.

    As far as “…if the M’s lose out and Boston or Cleveland wins out, that the M’s this year would only be 12 wins from the best record in baseball,” you could also say that if the Oakland team had been healthy all year, we might have ended up third in the division.

    Some people misinterpret the passion that people on this site have as a desire to be negative all the time. But I guarantee when things go right, there are no people who appreciate it more than the folks here. I’ve only been around a few months, but this is a group of people who love and understand baseball. They understand how difficult it is to put together a winning team and will savor a post-season appearance more than just about anybody not actually playing the game.

  117. Xteve X on September 28th, 2007 4:01 pm

    “Could just as easily said McLaren was held over because he was part of management that improved wins and THEY didn’t want to rock the boat.”

    that expresses my sentiment much better than I did.

  118. msb on September 28th, 2007 4:02 pm

    Bob Engle:from my understanding was the FO’s orginial choice before the switch to Bavasi.

    you’ve mentioned that before; where did you hear this? He wasn’t in the final GM pool, or interviewed for the job.

  119. Teej on September 28th, 2007 4:08 pm

    Being profitable doesn’t mean you can’t be more profitable. Winning increases profits.

    Claims that the front office isn’t interested in winning are based on nothing. The M’s have the seventh-highest payroll in baseball, and Bavasi has said before that he’s never been hamstrung over financial flexibility.

    The team wants to win. Just because the team doesn’t know how to win doesn’t mean they’re committed to profitable losing. Let’s give them a little more credit than that. They know full well that the more they lose, the lower profits will be. This isn’t Chicago, and we’ve all seen that attendance drops markedly when the M’s are losing.

  120. Teej on September 28th, 2007 4:09 pm

    remember he is ranked 30th out of 30 MLB GMs.

    That’s true. Bavasi is dead last in this week’s AP poll.

  121. John in L.A. on September 28th, 2007 4:17 pm

    111- Compelled is such an interesting word, isn’t it?

    I guess he meant “felt compelled.” Which is a different animal.

    Because if these guys are compelled as much as they claim, trades, drafts (Don’t draft that guy! Yeah, the really good one! Don’t take him!) etc. then they are getting pushed around pretty good.

    How you can feel compelled to get rid of Soriano but hire Carl Everett is beyond me.

    Compelled. Bah.

  122. Evan on September 28th, 2007 4:17 pm

    Bavasi has said before that he’s never been hamstrung over financial flexibility.

    Bavasi says that because its good PR. What job have you ever known where you’re allowed to publicly badmouth your employer?

  123. Evan on September 28th, 2007 4:18 pm

    How you can feel compelled to get rid of Soriano but hire Carl Everett is beyond me.

    Especially since Soriano counts as a veteran, now. The article about his semi-successful appeal of his suspension on the Braves’ site calls him a “veteran reliever”.

  124. Teej on September 28th, 2007 4:27 pm

    Bavasi says that because its good PR. What job have you ever known where you’re allowed to publicly badmouth your employer?

    I hear you, but in this case I tend to believe him. I’m not defending any or all of this, but look at the contracts for Beltre, Sexson, Ichiro and Vidro. All I’m saying is Bavasi has been given the opportunity to spend money to improve this team. Whether he’s made wise choices with that money is obviously another question.

  125. scott19 on September 28th, 2007 5:42 pm

    We can all argue until we’re blue in the face about just how asinine some of the FO’s Family-Friendlier-Than-Thou policies are…however, does that justify NOT getting at least something of value in return when they do move their so-called “problem” guys?

  126. gwangung on September 28th, 2007 5:51 pm

    We can all argue until we’re blue in the face about just how asinine some of the FO’s Family-Friendlier-Than-Thou policies are…however, does that justify NOT getting at least something of value in return when they do move their so-called “problem” guys?

    Of course not…but it indicates to me that they consider character and internal chemistry as something as tangible as OBP and slugging.

  127. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 28th, 2007 7:05 pm

    111 – I heard from VERY reliable sources (not players, but people both in Soriano’s personal life AND his time at Safeco to know) that Soriano hated being with the Ms, acted totally insubordinate on numerous occasions (flatly telling manager and pitching coach as well as fellow pitchers which games he would/would not pitch in BEFORE THE GAME EVEN BEGAN, refusing to even warm up on occasion), etc.

    Yes, I agree his talents were a loss, but people in all professions can find a myriad of ways to sabotage themselves (my personal approach) or sabotage their employers ability to utilize that talent (what Soriano did here). Sometimes moving on is the only solution to unleashing the talent.

  128. elsid on September 28th, 2007 8:36 pm

    #127 is stating facts, but I am not allowed to go into details

  129. Dave on September 28th, 2007 8:46 pm

    Yea, that bastard Rafael Soriano, dictating when he wasn’t available to pitch to a manager who clearly had no interest in protecting an arm that the organization had already destroyed once.

  130. don52656 on September 28th, 2007 9:10 pm

    I’ve been as unhappy as anyone with the way the last month has gone, and I am not thrilled with the way McLaren has run the team. However, I am a little surprised by the shrillness of the “Bavasi/McLaren have to go” crowd.

    I think Bavasi is lousy at trading. I mean, really lousy. However, I also think he is pretty damn good at building a farm system. He did it with the Angels and got fired before his farm system could make a difference, which they did after he left. When Bavasi succeeded Gillick, he inherited an old team with virtually no minor league resources. Any objective analysis of the Mariners organization would conclude that the farm system is in much better shape than it was after Gillick was through pillaging it. Yeah, he has overspent for free agents, and not all of them have worked out well. But, Bavasi has signed Beltre, Johjima, and Guillen, and Batista. Yeah, there was Reese, Spiezio, and Aurilia, but that was 3-4 years ago. And a lot of people thought the Weaver signing was ok, since he was supposed to be the #5 starter. And, while this year has ended disappointingly, it is a fact that the team has improved it’s record every year since 2004. I think the decision to extend Bavasi is understandable and defensible.

    McLaren is a tougher sell for me. His apparent affection to veterans has cost the team this year, no doubt about it. But don’t you think that a manager who takes over in mid-season should be given the opportunity to see what he can do over a full season. Shouldn’t McLaren have the chance to put together his own staff? I mean, he hasn’t been a total disaster since he took over. Give the man a chance.

    Second guessing is one of the great things about baseball, and I plead guilty as charged. I guess I just don’t understand why the criticism of the decision to retain Bavasi and McLaren has to be so damn vitriolic.

  131. don52656 on September 28th, 2007 9:18 pm

    PS…how in the heck would you like to be a Mets fan tonight….

  132. elsid on September 28th, 2007 9:19 pm

    Dave believe what you want, but it was a lot more than that.

  133. don52656 on September 28th, 2007 9:24 pm

    I wonder if the alleged issues with Soriano were known in baseball circles. If so, this may explain why trading him didn’t bring more talent in return. Maybe Ramirez was the best we could get.

    On a related subject, I heard that the Guillen trade was made for non-talent reasons too. Never heard much details…

  134. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 28th, 2007 10:31 pm

    Re: Soriano.
    This is one of those cases where the despised human element comes into the equation.

    As in ANY workplace, a disgruntled employee or an employee who is seen as being treated with kid gloves or allowed to get away with breaking rules etc. because of their perceived ‘talent level’ can have a seriously detrimental effect on the team as a whole. ANY workplace, ANY manager, ANY profession. In baseball, it’s resolved via trade, release, demotion. In business, it’s resolved via dismissal or moving that employee off into a corner position where they can do the least amount of harm.

    To deny this is an issue, or may be an issue on a baseball team because of quantifiable STATS is one of the reasons that nerds with spreadsheets aren’t taken as seriously as they should be.

  135. Dave on September 29th, 2007 8:02 am

    Way to make up another strawman to argue against, Oly.

  136. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 29th, 2007 10:31 am

    Or, you could tell me how YOU would handle a player who, despite being perfectly healthy, would flatly refuse to play in front of his teammates.

    C’mon, give me the benefit of all the clinical psychology, motivational leader, coach/mentor management background that you’ve successfully exercised in the past.

  137. Dave on September 29th, 2007 11:24 am

    Just like the Red Sox have handled Manny Ramirez – do the best you can to manage the situation and, in the end, say “you know, he’s worth the headache.”

    The Soriano thing is a glaring example of how the organization would rather lose with players they like than win with players they don’t.

  138. Edman on September 30th, 2007 1:06 am

    Soriano worth the headache?

    If you can’t see the HUGE talent gap between having a Soriano versus a Manny Ramirez….then you aren’t the talent evaluator you profess to be.

    BTW….how quickly we forget that the BoSox were willing to send him packing a few years ago, for anyone who wanted the headaches and payroll.

    If Manny made what Soriano does, he’d have been moved out of town too.

    But, that doesn’t fit your rant, does it?

  139. DMZ on September 30th, 2007 1:46 am

    There’s no need to be a jerk about disagreement. Dave doesn’t argue they’re of a similar talent level. And I’m not sure where he professes to be a talent evaluator.

    His argument was that if you have a player who can contribute, but is difficult, you make it work. It’s what managers are paid to do.

    But the M’s don’t do that – they ship players who are difficult or perceived as such out.

  140. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 30th, 2007 10:38 am

    And Edman’s argument is that the talent level is what makes the difference between how much effort you put in to making it work, before deciding it’s not worth it. I mean, we have been told repeatedly that relievers are a dime a dozen. Surely that doesn’t make them worth a heckuva lot of ‘special handling’.

    I would never argue that we got equivalent (anywhere near) talent level back from the trade. But, the Braves probably were well aware that there were offsetting factors involved. And sometimes those kinds of things can tie your hands in the same way (though not likely to the same degree) as no-trade clauses or trying to dump high salaries can.

    These are examples of non-stat-quantifiable factors that impact the marketplace.

  141. Dave on October 1st, 2007 6:40 pm

    Okay, how about this – I know of three teams that were amazingly pissed off when the trade happened, because they would have loved to have Rafael Soriano and had no idea he was available.

    Isn’t the inside info game fun when it goes both ways?

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