On sunk costs, the value of wins, and the course of the season

DMZ · May 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Today’s earlier post veered frighteningly fast from my “here’s a good thing that’s happened” to “blow the team up aieeeeee!”

Which was a little disconcerting for me. But it took an interesting turn late into sunk costs, with a comment about, as I understand it, a box with contents almost everyone would find disappointing.

As fans, we’re in a really strange spot for what to hope for.

Uncontroversial tenets:
Not a lot of faith that the team’s going to compete
We know the team is great at marketing and has huge amounts of revenue and a sweet stadium deal that allows them to print money
Ownership that is not particularly savvy and isn’t interested in getting with the program, if you will
A front office that reflects that philosophy
A front office that isn’t particularly good at talent evaluation, but pretty good at drafting and player development

Which leads to a whole other spiral: you don’t want anyone fired if you can reasonably believe that their replacements will be worse (and I really do think that Bavasi & Co are as forward-thinking and talented as we’re likely to get hired under Lincoln’s stewardship). Then what?

If you think they’re totally incompetent, you don’t want them to tear the team down because they’ll never recover from the funk. And even if they tore down, who would they trade, and why should you think they would get anything worthwhile back? But then again, they were pretty good at losing there before, and player development pretty much saved their butts… and you don’t want them to go for it, because they’ll trade the rest of the team for the wrong veteran reinforcements. Even if they rally, keep it close, that’ll just extend the current regime’s reign. And playoffs? This punchless, no-field team with a shaky pen’s going to have a hard time getting anywhere even if they do luck into it, but their berth will get everyone even longer contracts.

Really, if you believe that the people running the team are totally incompetent, there’s no course of action you want to happen except a team sale and house cleaning.

Your fandom, not the off-season acquisitions, are the sunk cost.

Still, I’d like to talk for a second about something Dave and I wrote about repeatedly during the worst of the losing years: there’s no need for a Cleveland-style rebuilding. There’s no need for the team to blow everything up and lose 100 games for a few years. There’s a huge reason for them not to: while as a borderline obsessed fan I might willingly trade years of terrible teams for a World Series title, the team’s financial viability and fanbase depends on winning games. People who come to see the team and watch the M’s lose over and over stop coming to games.

Others have done a lot of research into what drives a team’s marketing reach, and we find that it’s a team’s success over years that brings in the TV deals, keeps the turnstiles going, and so on. It’s worth winning 76 games instead of 72, and it’s worth winning 72 over 68, because unless you get the #1 or #2 draft pick, it’s not that big of a deal.

Or to put it more bluntly, a win is probably worth $2m to the M’s. Probably more. Winning keeps the revenue coming.

To tie that back in, look at the rest of the season. The M’s are unlikely to make a playoff run at this point. Do you, as many people have advocated, tear it all down?

I don’t see the point. For many of these guys, the M’s don’t have internal replacements and it’s hard to see who’s going to trade them enough prospects in return. There’s value in giving playing time to young prospects if you’re trying to develop them, or sort out how they fare against major league competition. If they’re all organizational fodder with no long-term future, it doesn’t help anyone (except the fodder, who get delicious service time).

Take Beltre. Beltre, as Dave’s argued, is a fine value when weighed against his competition, even as he’s generally slagged for being a free-agent bust. If you traded Beltre now and stuck Bloomquist out there (or Cairo!) to finish out the season, whoever you received in return would have to be good enough to make up for that loss over their Mariner career. I don’t see who offers that. Better to take his contributions this year and enjoy his play.

And so on, down the roster. Maybe you pull a Beane and try and haul some top-line guys for Bedard, but to who, and when, and what can they offer the M’s that helps in the long term?

Because of the way the team budgets (the “no carry-over” accounting method) there’s almost no point even in trading Sexson. Saved salary doesn’t benefit you next year, so unless you can make an improvement on the field now, you might as well pay him.

It’s no good to argue that the M’s should trade their vets for good prospects. That’s all fine and dandy. But on any serious consideration, it becomes extremely hard to imagine reasonable scenarios where the players the Mariners have on hand that have trade value would get them the blue chip prospects they’d need to get in return.

And similarly, I’d argue that even if the M’s have a 10% chance at the playoffs, there’s no reason not to keep working towards improving the team. Ibanez is still a huge defensive liability — if they had a chance to upgrade left field and move Ibanez to DH… whoops, Clement’s there now. My point is that there’s no reason for this team to ever give up wins, much less seasons. I for one would much rather see a .500 team playing interesting baseball late in the season without a shot at a division title than I would a torn-down team patched with more Cairo-style acquisitions to patch newly created holes from trading off players they don’t have replacements for.

If you think the team’s run by incompetents, there’s no course of action short of a Politburo-style purge by a new leader that won’t make your skin crawl, so your skin’s going to be crawling. Sorry.

If you think they’re about as good as we’re going to get right now, we have to accept that and draw our enjoyment from what we can (Ichiro! Felix Day and so forth).

Comments

32 Responses to “On sunk costs, the value of wins, and the course of the season”

  1. themedia on May 5th, 2008 5:58 pm

    Wow. Never thought I’d see the day. I agree with parts of this post, like the part that says my skin is going to be crawling.

    This basically accepts that the team is destined to be a somewhat mediocre failure season after season, and that we should just be happy we have some players with great talent like Beltre, Felix and Ichiro. I love watching those guys. But I would trade all of them — every last player on the team — if it made us perennial contenders.

    I’m not ready to give up on this team, but if there isn’t a commitment to winning, it’s going to be hard not to.

  2. Sports on a Schtick on May 5th, 2008 5:59 pm

    From a business and competitive point the only untouchables should be Ichiro and Felix, although considering how this team is constructed it would be damn near impossible to improve while trading away Beltre or Putz.

  3. msb on May 5th, 2008 6:12 pm

    to quote Greg Johns last year:

    “Lincoln himself can be replaced at the discretion of the franchise’s seven-man board of directors. He is chairman of that group, but each member has one equal vote. The seven — Lincoln, John Ellis, Minoru Arakawa, Chris Larson, Wayne Perry, Frank Shrontz and Craig Watjen — are all part of the original 1992 ownership team that remains almost completely intact.

    Don’t expect an overthrow, given that Arakawa was Lincoln’s long-time partner at Nintendo, Ellis is the man he replaced, Shrontz remains one of his closest friends after retiring as Boeing’s CEO and the entire group has worked together with scarcely a bicker for the past 15 years.”

  4. Jeff Nye on May 5th, 2008 6:18 pm

    Well, I’m not sure a Cleveland-style rebuild is what we should be doing, either (hopefully my posts didn’t present my argument that way).

    And I agree with your premise that Bavasi is probably the best we’re going to get as a GM given current ownership.

    The upside? By all accounts, Bill’s a smart guy. So…he can probably be educated. All of the things we criticize about him, can be improved. This is part of why I get irritated when people continue to say personally negative things about Bavasi; I don’t think he’s a dumb guy, at all, he just has some antiquated notions about talent evaluation, and is probably getting some bad instructions from those over his head.

    So you don’t blow up the team, no; at the same time, if you get a good offer for a player you have who isn’t named Ichiro or Felix (helpful hint: you need to know how to evaluate a good offer before this is feasible, so this is an area we need to get better) that improves your team either now, in the future, or both; then you take it.

    What you don’t do is pretend that there’s value in keeping the current roster intact that doesn’t actually exist; what you also don’t do is keep making bad trades and/or free agent acquisitions in the name of some questionable notion of “staying competitive”.

    What matters is the overall talent level in your organization; the specific places it “lives” has been given far too much importance in recent years.

    Does any of this actually make sense? I can’t tell.

  5. tomas on May 5th, 2008 6:19 pm

    I agree with what you said. The M’s will never settle for rebuilding given the fickleness of their fans and the resultant loss of revenues. BTW, I have never really followed the M’s because of this. With their scouting and the revenues they should be shooting higher. They should be able to maintain contender status like the Seahawks. Not that I really follow the Hawks either, I’m just saying. I’m waiting for the Sounders FC. If Allen can get some competent people running the show, that could be exciting. More exciting than perpetual mediocrity.

  6. msb on May 5th, 2008 6:21 pm

    I don’t think he’s a dumb guy, at all, he just has some antiquated notions about talent evaluation, and is probably getting some bad instructions from those over his head.

    I think the latter is one of the most likely problems…

  7. John in L.A. on May 5th, 2008 6:26 pm

    “But I would trade all of them — every last player on the team — if it made us perennial contenders.”

    Who wouldn’t? But why on earth should we believe that it WOULD make us perennial contenders?

  8. bat guano on May 5th, 2008 6:38 pm

    This brings up something I’ve suspected for several years now, namely, that the team is run by consensus and that as long as that is the case we’re doomed to mediocrity. It starts at the top and results in a very conservative approach. As long as there’s money to be made and a wholesome image to project, we’re unlikely to finish last, but we’re even more unlikely to win a World Series. The moves they make with players are “safe” but uninspiring, and you could say the same thing about the people brought in to manage the team in the front office and on the field. I find it depressing, but I agree that with these owners in place there’s more downside than upside to making significant changes. Bavasi (much like Gillick before him) probably is better than most of the alternatives that this ownership group would find palatable, and at least he’s trying. It won’t be enough to reach the promised land anytime soon, but people keep coming to the games and the value of the franchise keeps climbing. Yup, we’re screwed.

  9. gwangung on May 5th, 2008 6:52 pm

    This brings up something I’ve suspected for several years now, namely, that the team is run by consensus and that as long as that is the case we’re doomed to mediocrity. It starts at the top and results in a very conservative approach. As long as there’s money to be made and a wholesome image to project, we’re unlikely to finish last, but we’re even more unlikely to win a World Series. The moves they make with players are “safe” but uninspiring, and you could say the same thing about the people brought in to manage the team in the front office and on the field.

    I think this is accurate (at least from where I stand).

    And the group is run by committee, by consensus, because none of the ownership group knows jack about baseball. Someone who DID know something about baseball could steamroller the others and get things done.

  10. Joe C on May 5th, 2008 6:56 pm

    So really what you’re saying is that the Mariners are so committed to winning that they won’t take one step back to take three steps forward:
    - Won’t put Morrow in the minors so he can start 2009 in the rotation.
    - Refuse to wait a week to call up Clement even though they might lose a full year on the back end.
    - Push their top minor leaguers so hard.
    - Refuse to cut Sexson and hope he turns it around…
    It could be worse. At least they are trying to win.

  11. Paul B on May 5th, 2008 7:03 pm

    The Cleveland style rebuild should have been done 4 years ago.

    I wanted to add, though, that if a team continually trades prospects for players who are on the downslope of their careers and have at best only a few years left, it eventually will catch up with a franchise. Sure, some or even most of the prospects would have washed out. But over time it will get harder and harder to fill the holes in the roster (because there will be more and more holes) with stopgap veterans.

  12. batura on May 5th, 2008 7:09 pm

    Thank you Derek– This is a point I’ve wanted to make for a long, long time. When people were all over the “Fire Mike Hargrove” bandwagon, all I could really think about is “How much worse is the next guy?”. Well, we’re there now, fans are again unhappy, and it wasn’t bad luck — it’s simply how the owners and executives in the organization want their ballclub run.

    It’s the same thing with Bavasi– I know Lincoln likes to send out letters stating that managers and general managers are in the hot seat and whatnot, but there’s really nothing that would change by firing Bavasi. The organization would simply find the next general manager for their ballclub that likes to play it safe and signs veteran, nice-guy leadership-type players.

    Why would I want to get rid of awesome players? They are likely better than what we would ever get back. If you notice, the ballclub has no problems with evaluating unsigned development talent, and yet, has many problems dealing with talent from trade (development or otherwise). Do people really think this is going to change?

    There is a culture in any organization, whether it’s a ballclub or a major company, that is typically promoted by ownership or the most involved executives. Once there is a culture in place, decisisions are made to put the pieces in place that fall in line with that culture. The only way for the Mariners to really, seriously change, is to change this culture. This could be with an ownership change, or perhaps, with a Sr. Executive change.

    This team has acted more or less the same way since I’ve been a fan (’92), and conveniently, these people have been in place for pretty much that entire time.

    So, while we all like to think that what we suggest would save the Mariners at one time or another, in reality, there is very little we can do. The Mariners are a private business and free to decide who owns the team and who runs its operations. All I can really do is watch, which I do, and commiserate with my friends, which I also do.

  13. nickwest1976 on May 5th, 2008 7:14 pm

    Great post Derek…

    Exactly my point earlier in the day that we don’t need to blow this team up.

    There are still more postivies with this team than negatives.

    I think the frustration from fans is we finally have depth in the starting rotation and two aces and now we have defensive holes, offensive issues and bullpen issues.

    Felix, Bedard, Beltre, Ichiro, Clement, Balentien, Yuni, Ibanez, Lopez are all good players. If we can get more left-handed hitting and better speed/defense, the offense can get fixed.

    We’ll see, one can hope.

  14. gwangung on May 5th, 2008 7:15 pm

    There is a culture in any organization, whether it’s a ballclub or a major company, that is typically promoted by ownership or the most involved executives. Once there is a culture in place, decisisions are made to put the pieces in place that fall in line with that culture. The only way for the Mariners to really, seriously change, is to change this culture. This could be with an ownership change, or perhaps, with a Sr. Executive change.

    These two are equivalent, given how entrenched the rest of the organization is.

  15. batura on May 5th, 2008 7:34 pm

    Good point, though I believe the Japanese owners do still retain controlling interest, so it is possible they could force Lincoln and/or Armstrong from their positions and possibly require them to sell their interests.

  16. msb on May 5th, 2008 7:45 pm

    Good point, though I believe the Japanese owners do still retain controlling interest, so it is possible they could force Lincoln and/or Armstrong from their positions and possibly require them to sell their interests.

    They could, but it isn’t likely. Mr Yamauchi sold his shares to Nintendo of America, and those Nintendo shares are represented by Mr Arakawa (his son in law) and by Nintendo’s former chairman, Howard Lincoln.

  17. John in L.A. on May 5th, 2008 8:38 pm

    12 – Does anyone think McLaren is worse than Hargrove?

    I don’t love the choice for manager, but he is definitely an improvement, in my opinion, over Hargrove. Hargrove was double plus no good here.

  18. batura on May 5th, 2008 8:48 pm

    Hmm… I think they’re…. Baseball managers. Once you get past “styles” of management, I don’t really think there’s much difference between most baseball managers. I think Mac started off pretty shaky with his bullpen management, but for the most part, he’s leveled off and I don’t think he’s really helping or hurting the team. Mac and Grover were both what I would consider to be heavily “traditional” managers- they aren’t the only guys in baseball in love with roles. And its exactly what the GM and organizational culture want.

  19. Paul L on May 5th, 2008 8:57 pm

    Derek, you’re basically summarizing what I’ve come to call the George Karl theory.

    The Sonics were really good there in the 90s, but since they didn’t win the title the fans got restless. I remember telling everyone who would listen “Hey, there are some things I don’t like about Karl either, but who’s available that’s better? Who are we going to end up with?” And who did we end up with? Paul Westphal, and it’s been a steady downhill run ever since.

    The biggest frustration I have is that I want to see changes made because the players we have now aren’t cutting it, but the people we’re trusting to make changes are the ones who brought these players in in the first place.

    We’re pretty much screwed imo. It’ll take blind-a** luck with a few internally developed players that all gel at the right time for us to truly content for the WS.

  20. John in L.A. on May 5th, 2008 9:13 pm

    18 – I agree about Mac… no real impact.

    Hargrove was an exception to the rule about managers… he had a negative effect. His “aggressive baserunning” initiative alone was significantly detrimental.

    And to the larger issue of this thread… as useless as change for change’s sake can be, we have also seen the impact of not changing for not changing’s sake… both are bad.

    The only good answer, of course, is to change when you should and don’t when you shouldn’t. Blanket opposition to either isn’t helpful.

  21. MKT on May 5th, 2008 9:30 pm

    This basically accepts that the team is destined to be a somewhat mediocre failure season after season

    It is indeed what I think the forseeable future holds for Mariner fans. Good ballpark, good revenue, mediocre front office content to let the money roll in rather than make the mental adjustments needed to truly contend: it’s the Pacific Northwest version of the Chicago Cubs.

  22. joser on May 5th, 2008 9:46 pm

    It’ll take blind-a** luck with a few internally developed players that all gel at the right time for us to truly content for the WS.

    And even that may not be enough. Edgar, ARod, Griffey, RJ…

    I’m quite resigned the idea that the M’s will be the last team in baseball to play in a WS. The Rays will play in a WS before the M’s get there. So will the Rangers. So will the Nationals. Heck, the expansion teams in Portland Oregon and Las Vegas, whenever they arrive, will play in the WS before the Mariners do. As MKT says, it’s the PNW version of the Chicago Cubs. Except the Cubs have some World Series appearances to look back on.

  23. smb on May 5th, 2008 10:31 pm

    joser,

    You just summed up the conclusion behind every bitter post I’ve ever made. Eventually there will be a “1916!” type chant for fans of other teams to chant when we come to town, and sadly, for their fans to drown us out with when they overwhelm us in numbers at Safeco.

    This may be a disgusting fanboy comment to make, but the business enterprise behind this team doesn’t deserve Dave Cameron and Derek Zumsteg, nor does it deserve Jeff Sullivan or any of the other excellent M’s bloggers. They keep many devoted fans of the team that organization doesn’t deserve interested in what’s happening, which becomes butts in the seats and dollars and cents in the end. That leads me to my next point of bitterness…

    Multiple times I’ve seen reference made to the M’s excellent marketing. I would like to make an exception. They have an excellent marketing mix and overall strategy. They understand how signing Ichiro equals sustainable big bucks in Japan, but aside from that kind of literal common sense, what do we get? Bobbleheads at best. Washed up “veteran grit,” a pony ridin’ hometown hero, and a once-in-a-generation talent in a kid phenom that can’t possibly carry this mess on his back forever, at best.

    I understand that you have to balance your organization’s perception of what the public wants with your efforts to build a winner, but we are clearly leaning far too far away from the “winning cures all” universal truth. Evaluate talent with the best methods and minds possible. Build a team that is built to win baseball games, period. You will sell Ichiro jerseys in Oklahoma even after we’ve snatched the Sonics back.

    Also, the commercials are weak now, and face it, baseball sells itself. Any random thread on this blog will show you that Ken Griffey, Jr. and Edgar Martinez, two stars the team fell ass backward into, are as responsible for the Mariners’ current “marketing success” as anything any suits have done, save shining beacon of goodness that is Ichiro. I will give them some credit though, the marketing team is squeezing a lot out of a little these days, but I’d still argue it has as much to do with their high level Pac Rim strategy as any skill-based nuance of ground level strategy.

    Dave, Derek, Jeff, and others are doing their groundwork for them. Next time you think about spending $75 on a jersey at the team store, kick it down instead to USSM or LL. Much more bang for your buck. Chef recommends.

    If it weren’t for them, I think I’d just have picked an NL team and moved on.

  24. davepaisley on May 5th, 2008 10:39 pm

    I’m not so much worried that they might emulate the Indians (who at least knew what they were doing and the risks involved), but rather the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have sucked for, what, 20+ years now?

    It’s that kind of collective and enduring ineptitude that I fear.

    This turned out to be a great year to give up the season tickets… I feel so much better not contributing to the mess.

  25. JMHawkins on May 5th, 2008 10:41 pm

    The upside? By all accounts, Bill’s a smart guy. So…he can probably be educated. All of the things we criticize about him, can be improved. This is part of why I get irritated when people continue to say personally negative things about Bavasi; I don’t think he’s a dumb guy, at all, he just has some antiquated notions about talent evaluation…

    Exactly, and maybe the Wilkerson quick-eject is a sign he’s learning. This team has bet big on veterans over the last few years, and been burned far more times than helped. Carl Everett, Scott Spiezio, Rich Aurilia, Dayglo Beard the Gas-Can Man, John Parrish, and now Wilkerson are all seen by the team (as well as us) as disasters.

    Sexson, Vidro and Washburn are the other big bets on vets, and while the team probably likes their performance more than we do, there sure are signs Bavasi might not view these acquisitions as complete successes. Vidro has apparently lost his starting job to a rookie, Washburn is at the back end of the rotation making huge dollars, and Sexson is flirting with the Mendoza line for the second straight year.

    Batista, despite leading the team in wins last year, is our #5 starter, so clearly the team is not (or at least no longer) going with pure results-based analysis.

    There are still huge strides that need to be made, the biggest one probably an overdue recognition of the importance and proper evaluation of defensive talent, but the team’s thinking certainly appears to be moving in the right direction.

    As far as blowing the team up, I don’t think that’s a smart idea. Derek’s right about the marketing cost, and I don’t think there’d be much gain. As Dave’s pointed out, trading a guy at the deadline isn’t the trip to the prospect candy store it used to be, and aside from Bedard, Beltre and Ichiro, who among our vets could we trade for a blue-chip prospect anyway? Sexson, Ibanez, Vidro and Johjima aren’t going to net us the next Saltala, Saltilama, Salt, Texeria, Teixera, Adam Jones.

  26. jryoung222 on May 6th, 2008 12:14 am

    Juan Pierre. The Dodgers seem to be showcasing him right now (and he’s 9 for his last 16). Given the Dodgers logjam in their OF, he could be gotten for a decent price, you would think. He has no pop, but is a good left-handed hitter (avg. .324; OBP .395), has a lot of SB’s left in him, and would fit nicely into LF, moving Ibanez over to RF (Wlad would go down, but that’s okay, as he needs another year down there anyway).

  27. metz123 on May 6th, 2008 12:16 am

    This turned out to be a great year to give up the season tickets… I feel so much better not contributing to the mess.

    And that’s really the only thing that we can do as fans. It may not be much in the great scheme of things. The unwashed masses will continue to go to the park because it’s a fun family activity. The M’s will continue to make money, but I can vote with my dollar and I’ve chosen to pass on weekend season tickets for the 2nd year in a row and I’ve chosen to only attend a single game this year after attending none last year. I used to go to 10-12 a year. My dollar will stay in my pocket until the M’s hire some modern, talented baseball people and let them make the personnel decisions.

    I don’t care if current ownership makes that decision or if it takes new ownership. I don’t care who owns the team. I care about the product they put on the field. I’ve found it lacking for several years and I’ve decided to put my entertainment dollar toward the Sounders instead. That’s all I can do as a fan.

  28. eponymous coward on May 6th, 2008 1:11 am

    So, wait, Bavasi can learn on the job and improve, and is probably the best we can ever get, but Lincoln and Armstrong can’t- even though Lincoln and Armstrong have had different GMs win division championships while working under them?

    Also, Bavasi has had ten years to produce results as a GM. Ten. All of them in a division with 4 teams, and a lot of them without a truly dominant team in the division (Texas late 90′s was pretty bad, and the A’s and Angels during his time were good, but not great). Why does he still need on the job training at this point, and why is it not reasonable to assert that while he’s a nice guy, he’s a bad GM, given the long, LONG list of crappy decisions we can point to?

    I mean, COME ON, Marge freakin’ Schott has hardware. Jeffrey Loria has hardware. This isn’t the Orioles we’re discussing, with ownership that just gets in the way of everything and is a total disaster. My guess is that IF (yes, big if) you clean house some with new people, you will get some different results- and what’s saved Bavasi’s regime so far is the progression of wins from 2004 to now (remember, this is a results-oriented organization). Take that away and it’s an impetus to think new.

    I’m not saying that Lincoln or Armstrong aren’t part of the problem… but it’s a lot easier to demonize dudes who don’t show up at your events with good jokes.

  29. BaltimoreDave on May 6th, 2008 7:23 am

    There are still huge strides that need to be made, the biggest one probably an overdue recognition of the importance and proper evaluation of defensive talent, but the team’s thinking certainly appears to be moving in the right direction.

    Exactly – or put another way, the FO needs to do two things:

    Be bold, find some luck.

    Wilkerson vs. Balentien (and to a lesser extent Vidro vs. Clement) is bold. We can argue whether Wlad is truly ready, but the process behind the move – replacing underperforming veteran with unproven yet talented and inexpensive solution – is sound and should be commended.

    Now, he just needs to apply this process further and find some luck.

    As long as the process is sound – and as pointed out above, there’s some evidence that Bill’s processes are improving – there is hope for better results. Some of that will have to come in the form of luck.

  30. urchman on May 6th, 2008 9:37 am

    Excellent post, Derek. I agree with most everything you wrote. The M’s have a great revenue stream and a great stadium, but aren’t very good at talent evaluation and roster construction, and they tend to cling to traditional baseball philosophies. They are more interested in developing a stable and family-friendly product than they are in taking the risks and rebuilding strategies that would bring us a World Series. As a fan, that’s a hard pill to swallow, but I’ve mostly accepted it at this point. I’ll content myself with enjoying the performances of Felix, Bedard, Ichiro, Beltre, and Putz, while dealing with the fact that the team as awhole lacks the talent to really compete for a championship. I don’t see that changing until/unless the ownership changes — this all starts from the top IMO.

  31. Paul B on May 6th, 2008 11:59 am

    If we are lucky, when McLaren gets fired, Dusty Baker will still be employed.

  32. snapper on May 6th, 2008 1:33 pm

    Even if management will always hire a “conservative” GM, it would be possible to have one that is a better talent evaluator than Bavasi.

    A lot of his worst moves, Soriano/HoRam, Vidro, etc. aren’t caused by a lack of sabremetric savvy, they’re caused by poor talent evaluation.

    Look at the Twins or the Braves. They’re very old school, scouting driven, conservative organizations. But they can spot talent.

    I see no reason the M’s current management couldn’t get a better “old school” GM.

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