The first two months, comparatively

DMZ · January 11, 2009 at 11:32 am · Filed Under Mariners 

With light commentary

Bill Bavasi was hired 11/7/2003

11/18/2003 – Raul Ibanez signed as a free agent, a move all but done on his arrival. We didn’t like the signing, and spend the next five years saying “Pat Gillick was right about his swing and we were wrong”. The timing still stunk, costing the M’s a first-round pick.

12/7 – Hasegawa signed. Lucky season rewarded with two-year deal, Hasegawa didn’t maintain those results. Also, Mike Cameron officially non-tendered to make room for Ibanez in the outfield.

12/15 – Borders signed, Colbrunn dumped for McCracken

12/16 – Guardado signed. Provides a “proven closer” after Sasaki’s injury year and retirement. Contract works out great and then not as well.

12/19 – Spiezio signed to provide proven clubhouse leadership and grittiness. We know what happened.

1/6 – Cirillo dumped to the Padres.

1/8 – Aurilia signed to provide proven clubhouse leadership and grittiness. We know what happened.

Carlos Guillen traded to the Tigers. As Bavasi said, the organization was tired of him. Still, it’s the GM’s job to weigh the potential headache against benefit and get value. We know what happened.

What’s clear in two months of the new GM: huge value on roles like closer, on veteran leadership and proven ability. Some of those moves work out, some don’t matter, and a lot are terrible.

Jack Zduriencik was hired 10/22
…nothing happens for a while
12/3 signed Russ Branyan in a nice value pickup

12/9 signed Chris Shelton in a nice value pickup

12/10 traded JJ Putz, proven closer, in a 12-player, three-team deal that brought in a lot of outfield defense, an interesting pitching gamble in Heilman, and prospects.

12/11 picked up Reegie Corona in the Rule 5, bought Jose Lugo from the Royals

(and didn’t give new contracts to Raul Ibanez and Willie Bloomquist but offered Ibanez arbitration so he could reap the draft pick)

What’s clear in two months of the new GM: little value on roles like closer, on veteran leadership, and proven ability. Premium on defense, willingness to take on limited low-profile players.


40 Responses to “The first two months, comparatively”

  1. Speedy Leftfielder on January 11th, 2009 11:50 am

    And that, sir, is why this is such an exciting time to be a Mariners fan.

  2. wabbles on January 11th, 2009 11:52 am

    I love/hate these historical recaps. They are like watching the last play of Joe Theismann’s career over and over again in slow motion. But it is instructive. Bavasi always overpaid for good players who weren’t good anymore. Z-man seems to be looking for the 1988 Jay Buhners, which is more his job. Anybody can say, “Carl Everett was a good player several years ago, we should sign him.” I think Z-man’s got a couple of moves left. I can’t wait to see what they are.

  3. smb on January 11th, 2009 11:57 am

    Amen, this is awesome. I hope ‘Baker blog’ folks and others see that we’re not all pessimism and rain clouds here, that it really was more a function of being stuck with a tragically inept front office than anything else, and that now that we have competent, forward-thinking folks in charge, the USSM/LL crowd will be among the most positive M’s fans out there. I guess I can only speak for myself, but I really don’t enjoy calling out my team as a bunch of losers and predicting ugly losses before the first pitch is even thrown, so I’ll welcome a chance to reasonably see another potential losing season in a more positive light.

  4. chris d on January 11th, 2009 12:15 pm

    [wrong thread]

  5. PLU Tim on January 11th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Out of curiosity… [ot]

  6. optigan on January 11th, 2009 12:30 pm

    Anyone else googled Scott Spiezio recently out of idle curiosity and gotten an eyeful of this? Classy dude. Character guy.

  7. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 12:36 pm

    That’s not fair. Drug addiction’s not about classy or not classy.

    Not that Scott’s other actions aren’t enough. I’m only saying that article is sad, not funny.

  8. Graham on January 11th, 2009 12:38 pm

    Didn’t Raul get offered arbitration?

  9. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 12:41 pm

    Fixed. That was a terrible sentence.

  10. optigan on January 11th, 2009 12:47 pm

    Drug addiction is not about classy, but driving drunk at a hundred per, running from the scene of an accident, punching in the eye your friend who is trying to help you, and then hiding from the police sure is.

  11. PaulMolitorCocktail on January 11th, 2009 12:49 pm

    On the Aurilia signing… his half-year in Seattle was the worst he’s ever had. He’s done OK since then, even putting up .283/.332/.413 last year. We would have gladly taken someone putting up those numbers on our team last year.

  12. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 12:49 pm

    All right, and I don’t want this post about the two GMs to go further down this path. I just think it’s obvious he’s way out of control and not acting rationally. That’s all.

  13. optigan on January 11th, 2009 12:59 pm

    For sure. I wasn’t trying to stick the boot in, I was just–surprised wouldn’t be the right word–but I hadn’t heard about it.

  14. Kunkoh on January 11th, 2009 1:05 pm

    The differences between the two is staggering. It’s like being punched in the jimmies every day for years; then offered cake & pie. Such a complete turn around.

    I know I won’t agree with all of the moves Zduriencik makes in the future; but I’m just really impressed with the direction he’s taking. I’m not sure I could be more excited about the future of the M’s.

  15. Mayberry RFD on January 11th, 2009 1:21 pm

    In fairness to Bavasi we did get Dave Hansen for Cirillo, who was sort of cool.

  16. Johnny Slick on January 11th, 2009 1:48 pm

    Lost in this whole “Carl Everett is understood” deal is the fact that the man believed that dinosaurs were fake. That in and of itself is enough reason to hire a guy as a backup OF/DH and therefore I have to give Bavasi a mulligan on that one. So we’ve canceled out the Cirillo trade and the Everett signing, we have (or at least we are about to) ignore the Sexson signing because that one pub was selling beers at the price of Richie’s batting average for a while, forget the Vidro trade because we only lost stupid injured Chris Snelling and besides who would know that a second baseman would get that fat, and now… I don’t know about you guys, but Bavasi’s looking like a pretty good GM! Most GMs make more mistakes than that.

  17. msb on January 11th, 2009 2:05 pm

    Didn’t Raul get offered arbitration?


  18. MarkB on January 11th, 2009 2:13 pm

    The really telling problem with Bavasi is how many times he made a deal and response was universally negative. It turned out the criticism was justified — Soriano for Ramirez. We gave up too much for Bedard. In both cases, Bavasi was alone in his opinion and was wrong.

  19. jro on January 11th, 2009 2:56 pm

    I agree with the sentiment, but I feel we’re getting ahead of ourselves. If Z’s move don’t pan out any better than Bavasi’s (which I highly doubt), at least we’re not out a lot of dough nor have we mortgaged the farm system (what’s left, anyway.)

    Still, while I like the roster moves to date, I’d like to see that show up on the field. It’s been soooooooo long since I’ve had any confidence in the team that I’m just not ready to take it for granted.

  20. Utis on January 11th, 2009 3:26 pm

    I can see the reason for optimism but Bavasi isn’t the right comp. The right comp would be Gillick. Going forward, I don’t see the M’s willing to invest for the superstar (high WAR) players to put us over the top. Gillick was lucky to have/get such players on the roster. We’ll have to get lucky with player development to emulate a Tampa Bay. Without luck, we are liable to be more like Cleveland.

  21. Johnny Slick on January 11th, 2009 4:10 pm

    Oh yeah, Soriano for Ramirez was bad too except how awesome of a name is Horacio? Let me say that in another way that will get my point across to the emo crowd: how aWesome of a name is Horacio? There is more to life, my dear Horacio, than is dreamt of in your 5th-inning exits. So tally another one in the Bavasi column.

  22. Tek Jansen on January 11th, 2009 4:54 pm

    But the Bedard trade was not universally condemned. Sure, in this community, many recognized the obvious and huge error. Yet an excellent beat writer such as Baker thought it was a good idea. I remember Mitch Levy talking with Jason Stark and saying that trading all that for Bedard should be a “no-brainer.” Hopefully Bavasi’s downfall as GM in Seattle at least showed people the errors of their previous thinking. Though, I don’t hold out too much hope for KJR’s morning host.

  23. justajim on January 11th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Any idea of who the first round draft pick the Mariners could have gotten instead of Ibanez?
    Who were they looking at and
    Who got picked in their draft slot?

  24. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 5:53 pm

    You could go look that up.

  25. utopianlaw on January 11th, 2009 6:19 pm

    justajim –
    JP Howell was picked in the Supplemental round and Erik Cordier in the second by the Royals.
    The better pick was the Twins for us picking up Eddy – Glen Perkins.

  26. aws on January 11th, 2009 6:22 pm

    So I looked it up out of boredom. While the signing of Raul would have cost the Mariners a first round pick the Twins actually got the pick because we signed Guardado a month later. Even though Raul was a type A he ended up costing us a second round pick.

    In the 1st Twins took Glen Perkins and the Royals took Erik Cordier, rhp, Southern Door HS in the 2nd.

    So the Mariners first pick was in the third round where we took none other then Matthew Tuiasosopo.

  27. Johnny Slick on January 11th, 2009 6:27 pm

    Well, Bavasi probably would have just reached and drafted Tui in the first round. So basically we didn’t lose anything in that free agent signing. Another great deal by Bavasi! Why did we fire this guy!? He does nothing but make great moves! Come on, people, and dare me! I will even create a silk purse out of the Aurilia signing! Maybe!

  28. Coolalvin206 on January 11th, 2009 6:46 pm

    This ship is definetly going in the right direction. However, it’s going to take a lot of patience.. which is hard since we haven’t tasted the playoffs in 8 years

  29. PaulMolitorCocktail on January 11th, 2009 7:35 pm

    [completely off-topic]

  30. diderot on January 11th, 2009 8:26 pm

    What possible benefit is there (on this blog) to talk anymore about Bavasi? It’s over.
    I would nominate comparing Z’s tenure, from this point forward, with other existing GMs who have done a good job in development, both from the scouting and stathead perspectives. How did those people either succeed or fail? Looking forward seems so much more interesting than reliving a sad past.
    And onto that, maybe some conjecture on how the M’s, assuming clear progress in a couple of years, can avoid the saga of the Indians a few years ago, who appeared stocked for the long term, only to have to dump many of their young stars to meet payroll.
    My two cents…

  31. DMZ on January 11th, 2009 8:33 pm

    That you find this comparison a sad look into the past rather than a hopeful look at the positive change that’s occurring doesn’t mean that’s true for everyone, or that it’s not an interesting exercise.

  32. diderot on January 11th, 2009 8:38 pm

    I agree with, “doesn’t mean that’s true for everyone”, but aren’t most of those people reading other blogs? What’s your guess on the percentage of people here who already believe Bavasi was a failure for the reasons so capably pointed out?
    But…to be clear…it’s your place, no question you can do what you think best.

  33. MrMalibog on January 11th, 2009 9:26 pm


  34. Jeff Nye on January 11th, 2009 9:37 pm


  35. ThundaPC on January 11th, 2009 9:44 pm

    There are going to be comparisons to the Bavasi era for at least a year. Better get used to it. We’ve already had a field day just comparing press releases of Zduriencik and Bavasi at Lookout Landing (“talent who can help us” vs. “veteran who knows how to win”).

  36. MrMalibog on January 11th, 2009 9:44 pm


  37. MrMalibog on January 11th, 2009 10:32 pm


  38. Breadbaker on January 12th, 2009 12:09 am

    Other than the question of whether to offer him arbitration (and the timing of the Ibanez signing, since it was pretty clear that the Royals were not going to take the chance he’d agree to arbitration), I at least had the impression at the time that the Cameron decision was made before Bavasi was hired and he inherited it. That’s not to give Bavasi any props, just to give him some leeway for something he probably didn’t have a lot of discretion about when he was hired.

    The other thing I think you missed was the “trade” for Omar, straight up for Carlos, that was nullified when Omar didn’t pass his physical. I just looked at the Fangraphs salary/value numbers for Carlos, Omar and Santiago, and how on earth Bavasi made the trade with the Tigers is so beyond me it makes me want to retch.

  39. Carson on January 12th, 2009 9:26 am

    Hey, these authors gave us five years of good writing during a time where it would have been very easy to throw their hands in the air and pull the plug.

    If they want to be excited about the future, and compare it to the former management, let them.

  40. JMHawkins on January 12th, 2009 9:59 am

    I think another set of value comparisions between the two GMs is highlighted by the Cameron/Ibanez/Gutierrez arc. Derek already commented on the defensive angle, but the thing that really drove Cameron out of town was his strikeouts.

    The old regieme placed heavy value on making contact. They would make the occasional exception for a guy like Richie Sexson, but in general they hated strikeouts. “Put he ball in play and make things happen” I think was the phrase.

    The new regieme seems to take a more comprehensive look at offensive value.

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