No Need For A Book

Dave · November 19, 2011 at 12:03 am · Filed Under Mariners 

This probably doesn’t deserve a response, honestly, but for whatever reason, I can’t resist picking this low hanging fruit.

Years from now, if somebody can be bothered, they might write a treatise on how a franchise like the Mariners — flush with enough cash to fund payrolls in the game’s top tier for several years — could remain so mediocre for so long.

And if they get around to it, they might try reading some of the arguments against bringing in top players that permeate the Mariners blogosphere.

The rest of the piece – drivel is too strong of a word, but the right word is probably at least in that family – is your garden variety “those nerds don’t really want to win” argument. Good teams “man up” and “do what it takes” and “scratch their nuts” and all that crap. It’s bad baseball philosophy mixed with Type A machoism, and facts will not get in its way.

Over here, we deal in facts. So, let’s just set the record straight and tell whatever aspiring author is thinking about writing a book about why the Mariners have been mediocre for so long that the subject doesn’t need a book. In fact, it doesn’t even need an overly long blog post. You want to know why the Mariners have been bad for most of the last decade? It’s really easy.

November 7th, 2003 – The Seattle Mariners hired Bill Bavasi as General Manager.

January 8th, 2004 – The Seattle Mariners traded Carlos Guillen for Ramon Santiago.

November 15th, 2004 – The Seattle Mariners signed Richie Sexson to a 4 year, $50 million contract.

December 22nd, 2005 – The Seattle Mariners signed Jarrod Washburn to a 4 year, $37 million contract.

June 30th, 2006 – The Seattle Mariners traded Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez.

July 26th, 2006 – The Seattle Mariners traded Shin-Soo Choo for Ben Broussard.

December 7th, 2006 – The Seattle Mariners traded Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez.

December 18th, 2006 – The Seattle Mariners traded Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto for Jose Vidro.

December 20th, 2007 – The Seattle Mariners signed Carlos Silva to a four year, $48 million contract.

February 8th, 2008 – The Seattle Mariners traded Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio for Erik Bedard.

For the sake of brevity, we’re skipping over other winning decisions such as signing Scott Spiezio to be the third baseman in 2004, deciding on Carl Everett to serve as the team’s DH in 2006, or bringing in Jeff Weaver to fix the rotation in 2007. These aren’t all the disastrous decisions that were made during Bavasi’s time at the helm, but they get the point across well enough.

From the winter of 2003 until the end of the 2008 season, the Mariners were the worst run baseball operations department in the sport. They did stupid thing on top of stupid thing, often justifying these bewildering moves with reasons like “he’s a clutch hitter” or “we think he’s a winner.” Talented young players were shipped off to succeed elsewhere, while the team threw money at “proven veterans” who were simply overrated by a group of people who were evaluating players the way it was done in the 1980s.

It had nothing to do with settling for mediocrity or accepting defeat. The Mariners tried to win, but they just sucked at it because the people in charge were unable to identify good players from bad ones. They threw money at free agents to try and cover up for the fact that they didn’t have enough homegrown talent on hand, often because they’d already traded away a kid who turned out to be exactly what they needed down the line. The rosters consisted of overrated, overpaid, and just downright crappy players who had jobs simply because they had experience and some athleticism.

The Mariners failures over the last 10 years have absolutely nothing to do with desire to win, commitment to doing what it takes, or any other emotional appeal that people who don’t understand how to construct winning baseball teams like to try and sell to the masses. The Mariners have spent a long time losing baseball games because they hired a bad General Manager and watched him systematically dismantle the overall organizational talent level. They lost because they thought it would be a good idea to spend big on aging mediocre talents and bet the farm on a high risk pitcher with significant red flags. They lost because they traded away good young talent for bad old talent in an effort to win in the present, and because the front office simply didn’t understand how to build a baseball team in the modern era.

The only book necessary on the failures of the Mariners over the last 10 years is a transaction log. Simply trying to paint it any other way is revisionist history, and in this case, it’s just agenda-pushing revisionist history. I guess when the facts are against you, make emotional appeals.

Don’t buy into any of that crap. Good teams win because they understand how to value player contributions on the field and figure out how to build a roster full of players who can produce beyond what they cost. Bad teams do things like sign a big name free agent to prove that they want to win to their fan bases and beat writers.


88 Responses to “No Need For A Book”

  1. Paul L on November 19th, 2011 12:28 am

    Man, I’ve been waiting all day for this! :)

    That last sentence is key; Baker’s part of the problem.

  2. RustyJohn on November 19th, 2011 12:40 am

    That was one of the most epic ass slams I’ve read.

  3. Eric Walkingshaw on November 19th, 2011 1:03 am

    Preach it!

    There are few things more obnoxious than willful ignorance. At least the stakes aren’t as high in baseball fandom as in other areas of life.

    Long live reason, and thank you to its vocal defenders.

  4. BackRub on November 19th, 2011 1:21 am

    It was discouraging to read the majority of the comments on that article. There are a lot of people with the same old opinions about RBI’s, star players, protection, synergy, etc. I’m glad there are places like this to escape the fallacies.

    Also, Baker is terrible. At one point in the article he says that people making the argument against signing Fielder would point to a list of free agent busts-including Beltre. Which is so completely backwards that it’s laughable. HE is the type of person who considers Beltre a free agent bust. Not the USSM folks. He doesn’t even understand the position of the people he’s arguing against.

  5. The_Waco_Kid on November 19th, 2011 1:34 am

    I mostly agree, Dave. That article annoyed me. But I offer the following defense of Baker. 50 comments of “Gee, Dave, you’re right and Baker sucks” is a waste of time.

    While his argument that we can afford Fielder on our budget was bad, he pointed out that the Angels and Rangers are big spenders and our budget is smaller than theirs, regardless of how it compares to the rest of MLB. We may need to spend more to win this division, or maybe make it to the 1-Game Wildcard Playoff (WTF is that about btw?).

    We probably should raise our budget. That doesn’t make the hypothetical Fielder contract any smarter of an investment, but it lowers the risk of the signing. For Baker to say we should sign Fielder on top of our normal budget is not at all unreasonable, but I doubt we actually will raise our budget.

    I don’t know to what extent his post was actually about saying the sabermetrics blogosphere doesn’t want to win, but that’s my take, taking his comments at face value.

  6. Valenica on November 19th, 2011 1:52 am

    I don’t know, “the acceptance of mediocrity” is pretty much a direct salvo at the SABR community, considering we’re the only ones advocating against Fielder.

    As for the Rangers having a bigger budget than us, that’s not true. We spend about the same, but they’re in win-now mode and we’re in rebuilding so we have the potential to outspend them. It’s just you have to attract fans to spend, and to attract fans you need to win.

    What we “should” do or not do with the budget is irrelevant. It’s unlikely to raise without increased attendance, which is a function of winning. So in the end, it’s all about building a winning team.

    So yes, Dave you’re right and Baker sucks.

  7. Milendriel on November 19th, 2011 1:57 am

    The thing that’s most annoying about the Fielder clamoring is that it’s not even really about Fielder himself. It’s rooted in the whole “MARINERS NEED POWER ZOMG” nonsense that has been an ongoing argument the last couple years, so people just automatically point to the sluggeriest slugger FA and say “We must get him!”, convieniently ignoring the fact that the Mariners already tried to do this when they signed Sexson.

    I actually don’t have a problem with the Mariners signing a big-name free agent, but it has to be the right player for the right money. I think Jose Reyes could be that guy. Obviously the Marlins’ reported offer is too low, but if Reyes could be had for 6/105 (and he probably can’t), yeah, I’d be happy if the Mariners did that. Reyes could end up being a pretty big bargain. The issue with Fielder is that there’s basically a 0% chance he’s a bargain.

  8. The_Waco_Kid on November 19th, 2011 2:04 am

    Nolan Ryan, big TV deal, their budget is going way up.

  9. Valenica on November 19th, 2011 2:12 am

    The TV deal only adds $20-30M which I think they’re already spending to some extent, considering they got an advance on it (for the Cliff Lee that became Beltre). Either way they’re in win-now mode and teams in that mode spend a ton ex. Phillies. If we started winning I don’t think we’d have any trouble clearing $120M yearly payrolls.

  10. maqman on November 19th, 2011 2:18 am

    I’m with you on this one Dave. Baker is just and ego fueled idiot who seeks attention by being controversial and constantly repeating his favorite word -”Me.” If there is any doubt read Moneyball about how he accused the Blue Jays (When he was on the Toronto Globe and Mail) of being racist because they had too few players of color on their team. Turned out he was way wrong and he left town for Seattle not too long after that.
    I have no problem with the team going after a MOBO bat but not one that wants too much for too long and will hamstring the team for years in the future.

  11. RustyJohn on November 19th, 2011 2:25 am

    This got better the second time I read it- my favorite line- “The only book necessary on the failures of the Mariners over the last ten years is a transaction log.”

    It is pretty amazing to look at all of Bavasi’s drafts.

    2004 produced one functional major leaguer- Mark Lowe.

    2005 gave us none.

    2006 produced Brandon Morrow & Doug Fister.

    2007? Maybe Shawn Kelly.

    2008- none

    In five years, Bavasi’s team successfully drafted two middle relievers, a number three starter in Fister and we’re not quite sure what still with Morrow…not a single position player.

  12. SethGrandpa on November 19th, 2011 2:47 am

    It’s like the writer of that post is someone set in his ways who writes extremely idiotic posts from time to time.

    Wait, we all knew this already? And that’s why I never bother giving him page views just like you’d never encourage a troll commenter? Oh. Cool.

  13. Brantid on November 19th, 2011 4:49 am

    ….and don’t forget the DRAFTs…….wow, were those bad. Not only did we rip our team apart and fill it with FA garbage (ok, not Beltre), but we mortgage future teams (2008-2011) with shameful drafts.

    As for Baker…he’s just a bit of a punk who is being paid, so he has to write–something, and is probably having his performanced assessed by something like “internet hits.” My biggest problem is that he goes on and on re-making the same point about 15 times (I wonder if he gets paid by the word). I like clear-concise writing…Baker does neither. I used to read Baker, just for information, but I haven’t done so in ages.

  14. eponymous coward on November 19th, 2011 6:32 am

    I especially like this part.

    Now, there’s a guy out there who can change the look of your offense. Not put you over the top by himself. But at least get you jumpstarted to where you need to be. Not a guy like Erik Bedard, with a history of injuries and only two guaranteed years on a team with several vets poised to fall off a cliff. Again, context is everything. And as bad as the Bedard deal went, it hardly crippled the Mariners flexibility-wise as predicted. Adam Jones would not have made a difference on this team, nor any of the relievers given up. His current team is on the verge of scuttling that rebuilding plan and beginning another.

    Yeah, the 2011 Mariners could DEFINITELY not have used a right handed outfielder who’s been good for 2-3 WAR the last three years. Because their outfielders have been so awesome recently, and they hit lefties so we-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Sorry, can’t say all of that with a straight face.

  15. PackBob on November 19th, 2011 6:36 am

    Why bother with facts when you can generate blog hits?

    He confuses plain bad hitting with team make-up.

  16. wsm on November 19th, 2011 6:54 am

    Interesting that Baker’s point is that the M’s should go big or go home, and yet, Bavasi’s biggest contract somehow didn’t make this list of his sins. Also it’s interesting that the calendar of transgressions ended before Figgins and Wilson and Olivo came on board.

    Perhaps when/if Seattle signs Fielder we can just lump the two regimes together. Even if he doesn’t come to Seattle it’s a good bet that we’ll hear Jack tried very hard to be grossly negligent with his payroll.

  17. Ben Ramm on November 19th, 2011 7:50 am

    I’m not sure Bavasi’s transactions or drafts provide a complete explanation.

    Gillick left Bavasi with an aging roster and weak farm system. A lot Bavasi’s moves seemed to be desperate, half-assed reactions to holes left by the Gillick years. Sure, Bavasi made all the wrong moves. But, he had a rather difficult task.

    At the end of the 2003 season when Gillick left, the regulars were (age in parentheses):

    Dan Wilson (34)
    John Olerud (34)
    Bret Boone (34)
    Carlos Guillen (27)
    Jeff Cirillo (33)
    Randy Winn (29)
    Mike Cameron (30)
    Ichiro Suzuki (29)
    Edgar Martinez (40)

    The position players under 27 were:

    Ben Davis (26)
    Willie Bloomquist (25)
    Luis Ugueto (24)
    Jamal Strong (24)

    The pitching was in pretty good shape. Moyer was the only starter over 30. Ryan Franklin was 30.

    Of course Bavasi took the two of the most promising players under 28, Guillen and Rafael Soriano, and traded them for magic beans. I have just insulted magic beans everywhere.

    But, the roster still needed a lot of work.

    The farm system wasn’t healthy. The Mariners had no first round picks in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004. Their first round pick in 2002, John Mayberry, Jr., went to college instead of signing with them. Sam Hayes, their highest pick in 2000, might have been good if not for injuries. Their highest pick in 2001 was the wrong Garciaparra. At least Adam Jones came out of 2003.

    Here’s some of the history to make you cringe:

    We lost a first round pick to sign Greg Colbrunn?

    The point is that Bavasi found himself in somewhat of a hole when he arrive in Seattle.

    Unfortunately, his strategy was to keep digging.

  18. CCW on November 19th, 2011 7:58 am

    Ben Ramm nails it. Bavasi was awful, but Gillick played a huge role in the lost decade, too. Gillick’s specialty is giving teams a shot to win now while destroying the farm system and the future. He left the M’s with a broken system.

  19. Corey on November 19th, 2011 8:25 am

    Dave, I believe it isn’t the easy thing to do, but actually takes some courage to write a post like this. I appreciate (and quite frankly agree with) your underlying assessment of win value and modern roster construction. Baker doesn’t seem to care for that philosophy.

    I unfollowed Baker on Twitter awhile back, knowing that I would potentially miss some breaking news given him being the primary beat writer. His Twitter feed is still a mess, I check on it every once in a while. And I don’t long for Finnegan or anything, but the “new car smell” of Baker joining the Times has definitely worn off. He is quite mediocre.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful counterpoint.

  20. Chris_From_Bothell on November 19th, 2011 8:58 am

    I knew there was a reason I don’t follow Baker’s blog anymore. Plus ca change, etc.

    And he does the blog in his spare time, no mandate from editors or anything around number of posts, page hits, etc. So he’s not picking fights to drive blog traffic and ad revenue. He honestly believes this stuff.

    He’s obviously pining for a national media gig – “Geoff Baker Live” today, “Baseball Tonight” in the future – and I almost feel bad for how much he feels he is languishing in obscurity covering a last place team. Almost.

  21. lamlor on November 19th, 2011 9:03 am

    Bad trades did killed this organization and that is a fact. But to say signing the likes of Sexson and Beltre to big contracts hurt us is not accurate. We won 63 games in 2004 (the year before these two signings). By the 3rd year of Beltre and Sexson we won 88 games. That is a nice 25 win increase in 3 years.

    Under new management we have gone the cheap free agent route and have improved how many wins? I like Jack and he has done a great job for the most part when it comes to trades and drafting, but his signings have been awful. I would really like to see him sign a legit bat and then use his ability to draft and trade to fill in the rest.

  22. Boy9988 on November 19th, 2011 9:45 am

    Don’t forget the draft Dave. Some of the guys Bavasi passed over in the draft are just as damning.

  23. ripperlv on November 19th, 2011 10:09 am

    Mismanagement, not fiscal frugality is clearly the culprit in the years of the Mariners ship sailing through the doldrums. I know I’m counting on JZ to find some wind for the sails.

    Thank you Dave for exposing Geoff, the minor hockey league writer.

    Rangers’ 20-year TV deal worth $80 million a year.

  24. johndango on November 19th, 2011 10:22 am

    It’s funny. When I read Baker’s blog I thought “Dave’s out there rolling his eyes” and then I woke up today to find this article. I hope this turns in to an old fashioned blog fight. I want Baker to respond now so Dave can kick his ass again :P

  25. zackr on November 19th, 2011 10:30 am

    Baker has really gotten in to straw-manning arguments. It doesn’t help him at all, and too often comes off as poorly thought through.

    I understand the guy has to pound out quite a bit of copy, but maybe he should just take 6 months off and recharge – come back at his blog fresh with some better observations.

  26. shortbus on November 19th, 2011 10:51 am

    It’s MVP voting season which means it’s time for me to fuel up my hatred of Geoff “Look at me!” Baker for another year. This piece is just the ticket. As usual the entire piece is based upon a straw man argument, assigning to we “bloggers in our underpants” the opinion that all free agents are a waste of cash and even completely mischaracterizing our feelings about one of the priciest FA’s in M’s history: Adrian Beltre. The only way you’d think Seattle baseball bloggers hated the Beltre deal is if you just never read them, or if you are lying.

    To the core of Baker’s argument, I say this. Fielder would help the team. How much? Well given that he’d be replacing one of our better hitters (Carp or Smoak) not as much as you might think. Those two are liable to get better over the next three years, where Fielder is only likely to decline. For the first three years of the deal, if Fielder averages 5 WAR and Carp averages 1.5 WAR the net gain is 11.5 WAR or about $60 million. The M’s are probably going to pay more than that for three years of Fielder.

    After that the difference might be a wash as Fielder declines, and Carp hits his prime and the deal starts to look pretty bad. Carp will start to cost some money, but not nearly what we’d be paying Fielder. There are simply better places on this roster to look for an upgrade.

  27. Karmaboy on November 19th, 2011 10:57 am

    Right on Dave. My only disapointment results from a glaring blunder omitted from your litany of front office moves which proved that they were not burdened with the ravages of intelligence. Exhibit “A” : aka Jose Lopez.

    Where to begin? Carlos Guillen was deemed fragile and expendable because we had a phenom shortstop in the minor leagues, yes, Lopez. So we give away our All Star at SS (Guillen)for nothing, and we put Willie Bloomquist on ice, despite Willie having hit around .400 during spring training, to play Lopez at SS. Within just a few games, Mariner management realizes something shocking: Lopez doesn’t have adequate range to play short. Time out. I remember thinking at the time, “are you friggin’ kidding me? They somehow missed the fact that the kid had no range?” This was incompetence at an epic level. No problem, they said, his bat will be so good, we’ll play hime at second. Fast forward in time to ” his bat will be so good, we’ll play him at third”. Somebody, anybody, please, please, send help!

    This while having to watch Bloomquist sub at short, second, centerfield, all very well, as well as coming in late to steal a “money” base.

    As Forrest Gump said, “you can’t fix stupid”.

  28. RustyJohn on November 19th, 2011 11:00 am

    Yes, Gillick left the team in bad shape, but the solution to that was to trade smart, draft smart and sign good free agents. Bacardi did none of these things well although he did well with international scouting. In three years Z has drafted Ackley and Seager who have already contributed significantly at the ML level. Hultzen will likely contribute next year. The potential starting pitching for this team in 2013+ is sick.

    He got Cliff Lee for nothing and then turned him into a starting 1st baseman, 4th/5th starter and middle reliever. He traded Morrow for one of the best closers in the league. He traded Putz and got Vargas, Gutierrez, Carp, etc.

    The difference between the two regimes is night and day- the only thing you can fault Z for is the lack of good FA signings but that’s because there weren’t realistic options and the teams hands were tied payroll wise with all the bad Bavasi signings.

    I say this because someone has said Bavasi increased the team’s win totals after his first couple years- great, they had one good season at the expense of mortgaging the next six years. Good Jon, Bill.

  29. spankystout on November 19th, 2011 11:04 am

    Hahaha this article is awesome!

  30. Snake Hippo on November 19th, 2011 11:41 am

    Fire Geoff Baker!

  31. Bwilliam on November 19th, 2011 11:53 am

    Does anyone else think signing Fielder is a bad idea just because his body type seems doomed to fail?

    I am not opposed to the team spending a lot of money on 1 player, I just don’t think Fielder is that player.

    At some point Z needs the team to start winning otherwise we are going to have a new general manager.

    That’s something I think all of Mariners nation would agree upon.

  32. riversurge24 on November 19th, 2011 12:02 pm

    Cant we all just get along? I realize that Geoff Baker and Dave Cameron have this angst toward one another but we are all rooting for the same team..

  33. ck on November 19th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Thank you, Dave. Thank you. The transaction log tells the story. I also think that the persons who decided Bavasi was the ‘solution,’ and then watched quietly on the sidelines while Bavasi destroyed the team, are equally culpable. It took far too long for the ‘seat’ to get hot. Armstrong and Lincoln are guilty of incompetence.

  34. Ibuprofen on November 19th, 2011 12:21 pm

    Cant we all just get along? I realize that Geoff Baker and Dave Cameron have this angst toward one another but we are all rooting for the same team..

    I don’t see anything wrong with what’s going on. Baker posted a horrible idea to a fairly wide reaching audience, and Dave is trying to do as much as he can to dissuade everyone of that idea.

  35. henryv on November 19th, 2011 12:30 pm

    I wouldn’t trust Geoff Baker to pump my gas, much less make recommendations about MLB players.

    Of course, as long as he stays in a medium that no one reads any longer, writing for a right-wing rag, we’ll all be safe.

  36. Rick Banjo on November 19th, 2011 12:32 pm

    Dave- this is one of the funniest things from you that I’ve ever read. I love it.

  37. spankystout on November 19th, 2011 12:39 pm

    Plus Baker doesn’t even delve into the fact that Prince is a terrible 1B and baserunner (even though Baker just wrote “context is everything”). Which makes Fielder a 28 year old DH,– with possible health issues looming– at an asking price of 20-25M for 6-9 years. According to UZR from 2006-2011: Ty Wigginton, and Adam Dunn are the only guys worse at 1B than Prince.

  38. Carson on November 19th, 2011 12:59 pm

    The second time I read this was even better than the first. I can’t wait for the third.

    There’s not much that can be added to the piece or some of the fine comments. It’s quite obvious the wound is still fresh — or at best barely scabbed over — and Baker’s attempt to sneak this hooey past an intelligent blogosphere failed in an epic manner.

    Also, @Ben Ramm – Do you blog somewhere? If not, you should.

  39. Ben Ramm on November 19th, 2011 1:16 pm

    Armstrong and Lincoln were penny-wise, pound-foolish for more than a decade. I agree with Baker’s general, philosophical point. I just think he misplaced the timing of it.

    I remember in 2002 the Mariners needed one decent starting pitcher to stay ahead of the A’s. Instead, they kept going with James Baldwin (23 starts) and, belatedly, Ismael Valdes (not horrible in 8 starts). They also pulled a coup and acquired Doug Creek! That was a good team whose efforts were wasted because they couldn’t go get that one extra piece when it was apparent that the current pitching was not going to cut it.

    But, the problems were deeper. Throughout the late 90s, the Mariners seemed to let go of players a little too easily only to find that they needed to replace them at a higher cost.

    After the 1995 season, they started to disassemble the team:

    (1) Tino Martinez was traded along with Jeff Nelson and Jim Mercir. And, the Mariners had to scramble with Paul Sorrento and lose draft picks and money for John Olerud. The worst part of the trade was getting Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis in return. Hitchcock was traded for Scott Sanders. On the usenet group, Sanders acquired/earned the name “Christmas Tree,” as in “lit up like a…”

    (2) Bill Risley was traded to Toronto for Paul Menhart and Edwin Hurtado (you can’t spell “Hurtado” without “hurt.”).

    (3) Tim Belcher went to Kansas City as a free agent. He was the Doug Fister of 1995: decent pitching, but no run support. The Mariners struggled horribly with starting pitching in 1996. Belcher posted an ERA+ of 128.

    (4) Mike Blowers was traded. Sure, Russ Davis was supposed to replace him. But, when Davis was injured, they traded for Dave Hollins. Hollins was serviceable. David Ortiz became quite good.

    After 1996, they let Mike Jackson sign with Cleveland for half of what Heathcliffe Slocumb made.

    The scrambling to plug the gaps that they opened with this penny-wise, pound-foolish management style lead to a cascade of all kinds of bad moves.

    They traded Jose Cruz, Jr. to Toronto, losing a decent, if not spectacular, outfielder. They lost Veritek and Lowe to acquire a closer who was more expensive than and inferior to the one they let get away.

    Randy Johnson was a different issue. I can understand not wanting to sign a guy with back problems to a long-term contract. In hindsight, a mistake. One of the worst.

    So, by the time it came for Griffey and Rodriguez to re-sign, the Mariners had no credibility as a winning franchise.

    Gillick did an amazing job of filling the holes he inherited. Look at his free agent signings from 2000 and 2001, hardly a miss anywhere. But, he shouldn’t have had to fill them and filling them shouldn’t have cost so much of the future.

    So, Baker is right that there has been a lack of commitment to winning. He’s just about a decade off in the timing.

  40. Ben Ramm on November 19th, 2011 1:32 pm

    Carson, do I blog somewhere? Thank you for the compliment.

    Funny thing about that.

    About 13 or 14 years ago, David Cameron, Derek Zumsteg, and Jason Michael Barker invited me to write with them for a website called It was the predecessor to

    For a short time, I wrote a few columns for their site.

    Then, I ran into problems.

    (1) I’m more of an editor than a writer. I do well reacting to other people’s ideas and less well generating them myself. People who blog need to generate ideas, not just react to what other people say.

    (2) I am not a baseball fan generally. I am a fan of the Mariners specifically. I remember getting an email, I think from Derek, asking me (quite politely and apologetically) to make my writings less “Marinercentric.” I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the time to spend with other teams and with the sport in general.

    (3) I don’t have the time and I didn’t even back then. I hardly ever write about baseball anymore. I do write for a living in a sense. I’m a lawyer and I do a lot of work on appeals. And, I don’t have as much of an interest in letting the world know what I think now.

    So, I don’t blog. But, I think some of my drivel is still in the bowels of the internet archives of archives.

    Here’s a column that echoes what I wrote earlier today:

  41. Breadbaker on November 19th, 2011 2:01 pm

    I’d add:

    March 20, 2006: Traded Matt Thornton to the Chicago White Sox for Joe Borchard

    Out of that whole bunch of prospects we wouldn’t trade in 2002 and 2003 because they were the foundation of the next great Mariners team, is there any other besides Thornton who is still in the majors? Borchard retired from the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League in June of this year.

  42. jwgrandsalami on November 19th, 2011 3:22 pm

    to be fair, the Thornton for Borchard deal sucked in large part because Hargrove wouldn’t play Borchard (2 starts in a whole month on the team) and Bavasi just discarded him on waivers. Thornton really hadn’t shown much to that point besides a 98 MPH fastball that he couldn’t control. I recall most people on here, including me, anxious to be rid of Matt Thornton at the time.

  43. BackRub on November 19th, 2011 4:14 pm

    I am never going to attempt to read another Baker post after his new article, which compares Doumit to Gimenez, and concludes that Doumit just isn’t going to be as productive as a “full-time player”. Of course, he doesn’t even consider that catching less often might increase Doumit’s offensive production and should lead to him playing more.

  44. GarForever on November 19th, 2011 6:46 pm

    BackRub beat me to it, but the degree to which Baker doesn’t get it is manifest in his latest post about Doumit.

    As one other commenter mentioned above, Baker’s one salient point in the post to which Dave responds here is that the M’s could afford to spend more: $92-93MM for a team in the Seattle market is a number that could stand to be increased in order to give the FO a little more flexibility. Beyond that, he’s all wrong. Spending $110-120MM stupidly doesn’t get you any closer to the mark: and while I am sympathetic to the argument that a player of Fielder’s ability isn’t available every year (and when they are available, you are likely to find yourself in a bidding war with NY and BOS), that still doesn’t justify crippling the franchise on the back end of that deal.

    And, really, Geoff: Beltre was a bad signing? Time to join the rest of us in 2003. As a former sportswriter, I kick myself everyday thinking that I bailed on the profession when hacks like this can apparently score jobs as major-market beat writers…

  45. Mahoney5500 on November 19th, 2011 7:41 pm

    Why does everyone assume that if the payroll goes up to 110-120 million that it will just be spent foolishly? All I see is “120 million will be stupid”. Maybe they will all be great signings. And its wrong to assume that at 90 million that it will all be solidly spent. There is the same chance of swining and missing either way.

  46. NBarnes on November 19th, 2011 7:48 pm

    I vividly remember the posts at the time Thornton was traded that, while Borchard wasn’t much, Thornton was terrible and we were glad to not ever have to see him in a game ever again.

    I worry sometimes that the Ms’ pitcher development is really bad and should be fixed. But at the time, Thornton was not a valuable piece.

  47. Westside guy on November 19th, 2011 8:14 pm

    When we’re piling on Gillick, we do need to remember he helped produce that 116-win team in 2001. I don’t like seeing a farm system gutted, but when a team has a legitimate shot at winning it all… it is at least a defensible decision to make.

    Bavasi tried to do the same thing, but he didn’t have Gillick’s ability to accurately assess the true state of the team. He thought he was “this close” to a winner… and guessed wrong.

  48. msb on November 19th, 2011 11:11 pm

    … and no one seems interested in bringing up the notion that Prince Fielder may have absolutely no interest in playing for Seattle, money or no.

    (Ben Ramm!!! howdy!)

  49. jwgrandsalami on November 19th, 2011 11:30 pm

    Yeah, I’m not as much of a Gillick basher as a Bavasi basher, but of course agree that they didn’t get much from the draft when Gillick was GM.

    That said, I think one of the factors in that is that they foolishly gave away their first round picks twice, once for signing Greg Colbrunn and once for signing Ibanez before the date for KC to offer arbitration (I realize that the lost pick for Ibanez was in ’04) when Bavasi/Fontaine were drafting).

    I think when you take those two “forfeited picks” and put them together with drafting Mayberry, a guy who wasn’t likely to sign and forego going to Stanford unless the M’s overpaid — and not aggressively trying to sign him — it seems the Mariners may have deliberately wasted those 3 picks so as not to pay the amateur signing bonuses (note that this is right after they spent over $13 million on the posting fee for Ichiro). It may well have come down from ownership that if we’re spending $13 mil on Ichiro (money that doesn’t count against the Major League player payroll) hat the amateur budget needed to be cut. Conspiracy theory? Maybe, but the timeline and the evidence fits. They also lost their firs rounder in 2000 and 2001 but those at least were legitimate FA signings (Olerud and Jeff Nelson)….

    Around the same time the SF Giants actually admitted that they were signing free agents and losing the picks on purpose cause they didn’t think the first rounders were worth the $$$ they were getting.

  50. greentunic on November 20th, 2011 12:30 am

    Dave, I must say you intrigue me. After reading you for about two years and never hearing your voice, I expected you on Salk to be more… salty.

    But you were energetic, happy, and funny. You were tolerant of misinformed opinions, though (importantly) uncompromising. (BTW, I’m not coming on to you).

    Then, back online you say this article…

    is your garden variety “those nerds don’t really want to win” argument. Good teams “man up” and “do what it takes” and “scratch their nuts” and all that crap. It’s bad baseball philosophy mixed with Type A machoism, and facts will not get in its way.

    I agree with your rejection of the article in question, but ouch man. Just ouch.

  51. KaminaAyato on November 20th, 2011 1:47 am

    See, this is another case in which the MSM continue to rile up the “masses” of casual fans incorrectly which will make things harder on the organization when what they (incorrectly) want doesn’t happen.

    No matter where you look, whether the paper, ESPN or KJR – no one cares about the numbers. All they seem to do is pander to the casual fan’s wishes.

    While I would argue that we in Seattle should be a smarter bunch, we also are the same people who see an inch of snow and think the world is ending, or see rain and suddenly forget how to drive.

    As much as the government (both parties IMO) has pissed me off by not representing the people, it’s beginning to piss me off more that none of the MSM here seems to even care about sabermetrics, or even take the time to learn it. Not Brock and Fark, not Calabro or Mohr, not Mitch nor Softy…

    All are ignorant. And that’s a best case statement.

    My question is – how do we somehow make our voices heard when the MSM won’t give us the time of day except when it suits them to promote THEIR agenda?

  52. Mariner Analyst on November 20th, 2011 7:19 am

    You want a pretty interesting article? Check out this one from Tyler Kepner of the New York Times last year.

    On May 27, 2010, Kepner did a story on Shin Soo Choo. In the article, he pondered exactly how it was that the Mariners ever let Choo go. Bill Bavasi gave Kepner an interview which he used in the article. Bavasi’s comments are quite telling regarding the inner workings of the Mariners Front Office …

    So how did the Mariners ever let him go? Bill Bavasi, their former general manager, said ownership had no appetite for rebuilding. On July 26 of the 2006 season, with the team three games out of first place, the Mariners sent Choo to Cleveland for the veteran first baseman Ben Broussard.

    “We were on strict orders when I got there that we were not going to tolerate any five-year plans,” said Bavasi, now a special assistant with the Cincinnati Reds. “They felt that five-year plans usually turn into seven- or eight-year plans, and it’s true. That made sense — just keep getting better — but that also brought with it different pressures.”

    A month earlier, the teams had made another deal, with Shapiro sending the veteran slugger Eduardo Perez to Seattle for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. The Mariners expected Broussard and Perez, who both hit over .300 for Cleveland that season, to form a solid platoon at designated hitter.

    Instead, they combined to hit .223 and the Mariners finished 15 games back. The Indians had two impact players — Cabrera the next season, Choo in 2008.


    It’s kind of ironic actually. From the minute Bill Bavasi was hired in November of 2003, it’s clear that ownership recognized that its big name stars were getting old and saw the cliff coming. Fearing the inevitable drop-off in attendance and revenue, they ordered him to “win now” and forget about plans for rebuilding. Forsaking efforts to truly boost the farm system, Bavasi exchanged young upcoming talent for established veteran leadership, filling the rosters chock full of experienced high priced mercenaries. The result was also inevitable – too much money being paid out for guys who were not living up to the contracts they’d signed.

    It’s interesting how these initial fears by ownership of losing revenue led to overspending and closing off the one sure pipeline for maintaining financial sanity and long term success – the farm system. When they finally recognized the error of their ways, the owners then moved to compensate by restricting payroll in order to protect the bottom line of investors … which led to decreased production on the field, lower attendance for games, and lower overall revenue. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. And given the resources this club has(or maybe now had) at its fingertips — all so unnecessary.

  53. Marinersince77 on November 20th, 2011 9:09 am

    Here’s what I don’t get… so many of our former players go elsewhere and star. Casey Kotchman .217 as a Mariner, .306 in TB. Adrian Beltre .265 with 8 HR to .321 with 28 HR in BOS and .296 with 32 HR in TEX. Also look at Mike Morse in Washington .303 with 31 HR last year. These are just the guys off the top of my head and it seems to happen year after year. Obviously we have had some talent, but can’t make it produce in Seattle – is it the coaching or the clubhouse? Yes, the park has something to do with it, but not enough to make an all-star into a minor leaguer. Beltre hit well enough when he came back to Seattle.

  54. stevemotivateir on November 20th, 2011 9:29 am

    I have an idea… why not create a deck of cards, with all the Bavasi moves printed on them? You could rank them based on screw-ups, ace being the highest/worst (ie: Ace of spades, the Bedard deal. Ace of hearts, the Silva signing, etc). You could add a little humor to them, so it’s a full deck of nothing but negativity. This would be easier than a book quick to the point(s).

    All the proceeds could go towards a charity, or payroll!

  55. stevenboise on November 20th, 2011 9:30 am

    It took me quite a while, but I finally dumped Baker this weekend. Both on Facebook and from my bookmarks. I always felt it was good to read a different angle on a topic, even if I didn’t agree with that angle. It’s good to keep a broad perspective. The other thing for me is I’m not that smart about baseball analysis. Which is why I like to read this blog, Baker and others.

    That was until Baker started writing on his Facebook about topics I am quite familiar with and knowledgeable in. I realized how closed-minded he is to opposing view points. I realized just how much objectivity he lacks in a topic he knows nothing about. I realized how he can not overcome his built in biases and ignores the facts that are presented to him. How he would even refuse to research those facts before making a judgement on the topic.

    That got me wondering: If he’s that type of person, how can he write an objective article about baseball? I know people have their opinions, and that is fine. I know opinions are subjective. But if your opinion is based on biases and an inability to be objective about a topic your opinion becomes uneducated, uninformed and meaningless. At least to me. I’m looking for baseball analysis (and even baseball opinions) that are based on objective reasoning. Baker doesn’t have that. I see that now.

    Sorry it took me so long to understand why the USSM dumped his link from your blog. I’ve dumped all of mine now too.

  56. stevemotivateir on November 20th, 2011 9:30 am

    *humor so it’s not a full deck of negativity

  57. Rayvensdad on November 20th, 2011 10:12 am

    Well said, Dave.

  58. vj on November 20th, 2011 10:13 am

    If I may defend Bavasi a little bit:
    Carlos Guillen: Bavasi was under order to trade him (ownership was upset with Guillen for a DUI, IIRC). And nobody expected him to become as good as he became.
    Asdrubal Cabrera: Seemed blocked by a certain Yuniesky Betancourt.
    Shin-So Choo: Nobody expected him to post a season with an OBP of .400. When he was traded, people thought he wouldn’t be more than a fourth outfielder.

  59. stevemotivateir on November 20th, 2011 10:27 am

    ^ He was runnin’ the ship and the moves proved bad. Excuses are limited. You could argue further that he had poor talent evaluation skills. Dumping guys in the farm because you’re sure that an unproven player will pan-out, isn’t wise at all.

    My idea was more of joke anyway;)

  60. qwerty on November 20th, 2011 11:00 am

    I’ve been wondering why you dropped Geoff from your links section. I finally get it.
    I unfriended him as well. I heart Larry Stone.

  61. qwerty on November 20th, 2011 11:26 am

    If I may defend Bavasi a little bit:
    Carlos Guillen: Bavasi was under order to trade him (ownership was upset with Guillen for a DUI, IIRC). And nobody expected him to become as good as he became.

    Asdrubal Cabrera: Seemed blocked by a certain Yuniesky Betancourt.

    Shin-So Choo: Nobody expected him to post a season with an OBP of .400. When he was traded, people thought he wouldn’t be more than a fourth outfielder.

    this speaks volumes.

  62. smb on November 20th, 2011 12:39 pm

    I consciously avoid the continuous stream of garbage Baker writes, and it pains me that I even have to see reference to it here. Can’t we just agree that he’s a mental midget with more ego than brains and leave it at that?

  63. JoshJones on November 20th, 2011 12:46 pm

    “We were on strict orders when I got there that we were not going to tolerate any five-year plans,” said Bavasi, now a special assistant with the Cincinnati Reds. “They felt that five-year plans usually turn into seven- or eight-year plans, and it’s true. That made sense — just keep getting better — but that also brought with it different pressures.”

    Everyone kind of skipped over this little tid-bit. What if that’s the same thinking JackZ is having or being forced to have? I realize most of the people here at USSM are against dropping money on Fielder but other than this site, everything is leading that way.

    So, DAVE. What if the M’s do sign Fielder? Where do we go from there?

  64. KaminaAyato on November 20th, 2011 2:02 pm

    I have an idea. I think we have enough people here to have a voice. So I say whenever the MSM talks about signing Fielder or any such other move, we flood the call lines saying why it’s a bad idea. Chances are they’ll stop taking our calls, but in the meantime we’ll slam the hosts for making such a suggestion.

  65. Westside guy on November 20th, 2011 2:04 pm

    Just one guy’s opinion here, of course, but – it’d be nice if people could make their points without resorting to insults and name-calling.

  66. ppl on November 20th, 2011 2:46 pm

    It is so very, very hard to get people to see the M’s in any realistic fashion.

    It is very difficult to get a lot people to accurately view what a mess almost the entire organization was top to bottom after the 2008 season. They can’t see considerable progress made since and how the W/L totals of the team of the last couple years are not the true measure of these advancements.

    They were not your usual 101 loss team with a lot of youthful fallback set to arrive shortly.

    If people are in denial about the source of the problem they are highly unlikely to acccept the solutions. So Zduriencik is judged like he took over the M’s after 1999 like Gillick instead of taking on the 2008 disaster.

    Zduriencik has had to deal with more than just filling some roster spots here and there.

    They should make reasonable moves to upgrade and move forwards. I believe Zdureincik is always open to doing just that. And I am not using reasonable as a catch word for cheap, just whatever constitutes a good move at this juncture.

    Nobody likes (or should like) going back and looking at the spilled milk of the Bavasi era.
    But for some to understand where we are and where we are going it sure seems necessary even at this point so far removed from that era.

    I am pretty sure most here would always prefer to look forwards.

  67. Bremerton guy on November 20th, 2011 5:13 pm


    Your list of horrible transactions from the Bavasi regime is pretty close to spot on, but I have to (still) disagree that the Vidro deal belongs in that discussion. I know he was a favorite here, but by then Snelling was a shell of his former self, and Fruto has never amounted to anything important. For one season, Vidro hit pretty well. His OPS in 2007 was .775. Of ALL the Mariners in 2011, only Mike Carp and Alex Liddi had an OPS higher than that. I know Vidro has been a whipping boy here for a number of years, but in retrospect, that trade wasn’t so bad.

  68. Liam on November 20th, 2011 5:42 pm

    The Vidro trade was bad because we paid him $16M.

  69. Bremerton guy on November 20th, 2011 5:51 pm

    The Vidro trade was bad because we paid him $16M.

    Over two seasons. In 2007 he was paid $7.5 mill.

  70. spankystout on November 20th, 2011 5:55 pm

    Wouldn’t .775OPS be below average for an DH?

    Also–Jack Z please do something interesting soon! I just watched 100 laps of NASCAR and I feel dumber.

  71. Liam on November 20th, 2011 6:01 pm

    Over two seasons. In 2007 he was paid $7.5 mill.

    Ok and in 2008 he had an OPS of .612 and we paid him $8.5M

    Wouldn’t .775OPS be below average for an DH?

    No, he had a wRC+ of 110.

  72. ThundaPC on November 20th, 2011 6:51 pm

    Mariners traded two interesting pieces for Jose Vidro (Prince Fielder body type; Chone Figgins plate approach) and had to pay a total of $12 Million extra for him over two years (Nationals gave $4 million total for compensation).

    Jose Vidro was kind enough to provide us with -0.3 WAR during his time here.

    Those pieces the team gave up didn’t pan out, yet we still lost that trade. In retrospect, the trade is still terrible.

  73. qwerty on November 20th, 2011 9:05 pm

    I wouldn’t trust Geoff Baker to pump my gas, much less make recommendations about MLB players.

    Of course, as long as he stays in a medium that no one reads any longer, writing for a right-wing rag, we’ll all be safe.

    you’re joking, right? As a conservative, i assure you, the Times is not right wing. It’s quite liberal.Not as much as the Stranger or the Weekly or the NY Times, but definately not conservative. ….neither is Geoff.

  74. gwangung on November 20th, 2011 9:08 pm

    Not so much political talk, please. The measurement tools are quite a bit worse than what you can find in baseball (or even Baker’s blog).

  75. Steve Nelson on November 20th, 2011 9:20 pm
    Wouldn’t .775OPS be below average for an DH?

    No, he had a wRC+ of 110.

    Since the only job of a DH is to hit, a league average DH has a higher offensive output than the overall league average.

    In 2007 the league average wRC+ from the DH position was 112. At 110 wRC+ Vidro was a bit below league average as a DH in 2007.

    That 110 wRC+ in 2007 was also the highest that Vidro posted since 2003. The acquisition of Vidro to serve as DH kind of typified everything that was screwed up about the Mariners in the Bavasi years.

  76. wabbles on November 20th, 2011 11:18 pm

    What really bothered me about the Baker piece (which I’ll admit I read after Dave’s) was that it sounded so much like a letter to editor or reply to a blog post. It seemed so typical fan and so devoid of rational analysis. It was really weird.

  77. diderot on November 20th, 2011 11:55 pm

    This response to Baker has been a long time coming…and it’s hard to imagine how the takedown could have been more surgical, or more complete.

    Thanks, Dave.

  78. SonOfZavaras on November 21st, 2011 4:30 am

    Hello all…

    SoZ in Seoul, South Korea here. Word is on Yahoo! that Mariners OF Greg Halman was stabbed to death Monday in Rotterdam.

    His 22-year-old brother is being held on suspicion of the stabbing.

    You all might get more word before I do…but if I hear anything else, I will post it in the most appropriate post I can find.

    24 is too young to go, and those circumstances are just lousy. Prayers to the Halman family.

  79. GarForever on November 21st, 2011 4:40 am

    There’s no word yet from,, or, but it’s on Bloomberg. What a waste if this is confirmed…I echo Zavaras.

  80. cjones on November 21st, 2011 5:08 am

    Reuters and ESPN now have the story, just as Zavaras described it. No other detail.

  81. wtnuke on November 21st, 2011 5:30 am

    Wow, what a sad turn of events for a promising young guy. RIP Greg…

  82. thedude1987 on November 21st, 2011 6:15 am

    my heart goes out to Greg Halman’s family and friends.

  83. beadyeyes123 on November 21st, 2011 5:43 pm

    All the posters ripping on Jack for Figgins? Nobody I know was against that signing. Sure, it went bad quickly but really? Figgins was, on paper, a good move that many of us thought would work to make us better.

    Figgins was not the groan inducer that Aurilia, Silva, Everett and others were. Sorry, it didn’t work but that doesn’t mean Jack should be buried for it. Every GM has a signing that goes south. For Bavasi that was the majority of them.

    Looking at Figgins numbers in Anaheim, I thought it would work here. It didn’t so hopefully management moves him and learns. At least Jack and company employ Saber principles when making decisions.

    Good article Dave. I agree 100% with your stance on this.

    As for Jack’s signings? Many low risk, high reward gambles that sometimes worked, other times didn’t. One fact, they didn’t tie us down with the kind of long term pain that Bavasi left us with.

  84. Marinersince77 on November 21st, 2011 6:55 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Halman family.

    I haven’t seen an answer to my post, so I think it got lost… Here it is again…

    Here’s what I don’t get… so many of our former players go elsewhere and star. Casey Kotchman .217 as a Mariner, .306 in TB. Adrian Beltre .265 with 8 HR to .321 with 28 HR in BOS and .296 with 32 HR in TEX. Also look at Mike Morse in Washington .303 with 31 HR last year. These are just the guys off the top of my head and it seems to happen year after year. Obviously we have had some talent, but can’t make it produce in Seattle – is it the coaching or the clubhouse? Yes, the park has something to do with it, but not enough to make an all-star into a minor leaguer. Beltre hit well enough when he came back to Seattle as a Red Sock.

  85. vj on November 22nd, 2011 6:23 am

    It’s a perception issue. There are a lot of former Ms players who left and didn’t get any better. Here’s a somewhat outdated list:
    Regarding the players you mention:
    Kotchman’s improvement is mostly driven by batting average on balls in play. Beltre went from the worst homefield for a right-handed pull-hitter to two that fit his particular skillset. Mike Morse figured something out and reached his prime age.

  86. goat on November 22nd, 2011 4:57 pm

    If the problem is that the mainstream media is ignoring, misrepresenting, and misunderstanding what people in the sabermetrics community are saying, then I don’t think the solution is ignoring, misrepresenting, and misunderstanding what the people in the mainstream media are saying. Geoff Baker said absolutely nothing about scratching anyone’s nuts anywhere in this piece. I recognize this is hyperbole, but at the same time it doesn’t address what that article was actually about.

    I am in no way disputing the facts that you present in this article, but these facts don’t directly refute the main point of that article.

    The heat transfer coefficient of a turkey is 19.252 W/m^2K is a fact. Doesn’t mean I can’t buy a 25 lb. turkey instead of a 10 lb. turkey.

  87. jjracoon on November 23rd, 2011 6:17 am

    Maybe Baker is blowing hot air but what IS happening is the pieces that you would normally grab instead are slowly disappearing ( Doumit, Sizemore, Snyder etc). So the question comes up IF Dr Z is NOT going after someone like Fielder then why is he letting potential good fits leave the market????I realize he may not have much choice as some of these players may have made up their mind quickly but based on what they have been getting for contracts, I dont see them as extravagant choices. Also, the arguement that Fielder will/might flame out by the time the Mariners have a team good enough to contend seems bogus. A balance on a team MUST be reached or you end up with the 2002/2003 Mariners where everyone is getting old at the same time and no MLB ready replacements are available. I would love to see a team of 25 year olds play together for 10 years but that wont happen either. As their salaries go up the team cant afford them and they get traded. Striking a balance plus putting in a core (four or five above average offensive players and at least two top starters) is where the Mariners will be until more money is freed up. Fielder is a good investment IF the Mariners accept the risk and put his salary into the budget above and beyond the 93-94 million. Looking where the CBA put the Mariners, a budget less than 115 million is probably not going to do very well anyway. Really even without accepting the need to bump up the money for a Fielder, this team needs to bump it up so their mistakes with Figgins and to some extent overpayment on Ichiro this year can be compensated for rather than waiting ANOTHER year for more money to be freed up.

  88. dantheman on December 5th, 2011 7:41 am

    (Sigh)….might be worthwhile to point out that Jack Z’s record after 3 years is only 3 wins better than Bavasi’s after his first three years and that to tie Bavasi’s record after 4 years, the Mariners will need to win 85 games in 2012 because the terrible Bavasi achieved 88 wins in his fourth year. Since it all comes down to wins and losses, it would be nice if, for once, the same critical analysis was applied to Jack Z.

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