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Official Scorer: E-MGR

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 18, 2006

I’m so tired of Mike Hargrove’s terrible antics at the helm of the hometown nine, that I can’t wait to start my rant on why he should be fired – yesterday.

Just four days ago, I said I wouldn’t fire him at this point in the year. As of today, Thursday, May 18, I want him gone and I want him gone now.

And so should anyone else who cares about the success of the Seattle Mariners franchise.

I’m just going to jump right into it.

Who has a better chance of getting a hit off a right-handed pitcher, a red-hot Jeremy Reed or Matt Lawton who has one freakin’ AB since May 5?

If your name is Mike Hargrove, the answer is – WRONG!

While nobody can ridicule Hargrove for sitting Reed versus some left-handers, keeping him on the bench after 4-for-13 (.308) series in which the 24-year-old smacked his first two home runs of the year and drive in four runs is criminal.

To further prove Hargrove’s insanity and stupidity, Lawton went 0-for-4 and Reed pinch hit and went 1-for-1 with a run scored.

Sure, that’s just one incident you say. But it’s inexcusable managing to cut Reed’s playing time after he finally starts hitting. It’s not as if he’d played 12 days straight and needed a break. And the M’s weren’t facing a lefty. It was right-hander Joe Blanton, whom Reed was 1-for-2 off this season.

Not to mention the defensive advantage Reed gives the club over Lawton – with Felix Hernandez on the hill… a struggling Hernandez.

Hargrove is gutless. And if he catches wind of me calling him out here and on the air on KJR every chance I get, I challenge him to explain himself. If he can get past the blabbering jargon he usually offers up and makes sense in his defense of such a move, I’ll cut him some slack.

But he’ll still be wrong. I don’t doubt his will to win. I just doubt he has the marbles to get the job done with any regularity whatsoever.

Could I manage better? No. But I can draw up a better lineup card than he could on his best day. Why?

Because I don’t give a flying feces what any veteran says to me, about me or at me. If Lawton wants to complain, let him. I’m playing the players that have the best chance to help the club win, not only today, but all year.

And no way does Lawton improve the M’s chances enough to warrant sitting Reed versus a right-handed pitcher. What’s the upside of starting Lawton who hadn’t had an AB in 11 days?

Now, what’s the upside of starting Reed who, after struggling mightily for five weeks, showed big-time life in Los Angeles?

It’s not even close and the damage Hargrove is causing this team right now is pure bull.

Hargrove’s idiocy flies far past this instance, however.

It’s a known fact that a manager’s personality comes out in his managing style and that a ballclub’s play often reflects that style. If the roster is simply inept, the results will not likely be positive, but the energy will still be there.

Ozzie Guillen, Terry Francona, Felipe Alou, Bobby Cox, Mike Scoscia and Bruce Bochy all come to mind when I think of managers that portray their own character on their clubs successfully.

Bochy is a great example, because he isn’t blessed with top talent like Joe Torre, Francona, Guillen or Tony LaRussa.

But that sub-par roster fights and scratches and plays through adversity and hovers around .500 when they shouldn’t…

Hargrove couldn’t manage his minuscule aptitude for baseball managing through the broken detectors at the SeaTac airport’s Gate A.

Another factor in Dan Rohn’s predecessor’s shortcomings is his obvious reluctance to make a change in the batting order.

It’s really quite simple, Mike. It’s broke. Fix it.


I don’t think anyone who has a clue can argue with leaving Ichiro in the top spot. It’s where he’s most comfortable and batting him third removes him from his element and it’s asking him to change his game. The M’s need Ichiro to continue to get on base like he has all month.

If Ichiro is swinging to drive in runs, he probably repeats April. No thanks.

And batting Jose Lopez second, well, it’s hard to argue against that, too. It’s working, leaving it be.

But if moving Lopez down in the order might help Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, or simply give the Mariners a better shot to score more runs, than by all means, try it at least.

In the end, I’m not particularly laced off about the No. 2 spot, either. My beef is with Hargrove’s handling, or mishandling, of the 3-4-5-6 spots in the order.

Richie Sexson is the best hitter on this team. No, he’s not the best hitter for average. But his .900 OPS last season is a good reason why he’s this club’s best bet to score runs.

He’s struggling. So what does Hargrove do to help him? Not a single thing.

Not a change in who’s hitting behind him, not a change in Sexson’s own batting slot, nothing. Not even for a weekend to see if it sparks anything.

I have studied about half of Sexson’s ABs, in which I can tell you he is 11-for-82 (.134) and what I have noticed is:

1. He’s not getting good pitches to hit.

2. Since about the second full week of the year, he’s clearly pressing by swinging at more balls out of the strike zone.

3. Sexson was thrown 59% fastballs in 2005. He’s seeing 52.5% this season. And fewer of them are strikes. Why? No protection.

Last season, Adrian Beltre, he of the 48-homer season the year prior to last, was protecting Sexson in the lineup. Even after a few months of Beltre’s underwhelming production, pitchers were still afraid of him. He was still unknown, but he was a monster the year before.

This year, it’s the Adrian Beltre that struggled all of 2005 and continues to do so in 2006. Pitchers aren’t afraid of Beltre any more than Dice Clay is of profanity.

So now it’s Carl Everett “protecting” Sexson and while he’s hitting .293 in May, it’s too late. Sexson is in a funk and is still pressing to force the action. Nobody is afraid of Everett, either.

The difference in production between Ibanez and Everett is somewhat negligible, but in the eyes of the pitcher, facing Crazy Carl is a much better idea than pitching to Ibanez, who can drive any pitch into the gap in any count.

My suggestion is to bat both Ibanez and Everett behind Sexson, putting the second and third most dangerous run producers the team currently has, behind the club’s best RBI man.

So who hits third? I’d move Sexson to third with Ibanez and Everett fourth and fifth – versus right-handers. Split Ibanez and Everett with Beltre or Johjima versus left-handers and see what happens for a week or two.

Can it get worse? Not likely, Mike.

From 2003 through 2005, the No. 2 slot in the batting orders of all AL clubs had 13% fewer PAs with runners in scoring position than did the No. 6 or 7 hitter. Sounds odd, but considering the average leadoff man’s OBP over that stretch is under .350 and the average combined OBP of the No. 5 and 6 hitters is almost 15 points higher, it’s not tough to understand how that happens.

Not to mention the fact that the middle of the order bats are clubbing more doubles than Mr. Leadoff.

So maybe this is a call for Lopez to hit sixth or seventh for a stretch. Try it while Reed is hitting, so he can be used in the two-slot.

Vs. RHP


IchiroReedSexsonIbanez EverettLopezBeltre

Johjima

Betancourt

Vs. LHP


IchiroReed/BloomquistSexsonIbanezLopezBeltreEverett

Johjima

Betancourt

As you can see, I’m not above sitting Reed versus lefties sometimes. But he’s never going to get better against southpaws if he doesn’t get to see some pitches from them. Sitting him versus every left-hander, starter or reliever, is asinine.

[Note: Reed entered today’s game 2-for-7 with a triple, a walk and no strikeouts versus Barry Zito. Lawton was 3-for-12 with no extra-base hits and five strikeouts.]

Hargrove has no idea how to balance his lineup and still cater to his best bats. The lightbulb is out and he’s lost directions to the hardware store.

There’s only one problem with Hargrove’s handling of the pitching staff. No, it has nothing to do with Felix Hernandez, Eddie Guardado or George Sherrill. Guardado deserved every last shot to right the ship in the closer role and I think Hargrove handled that one fine.

Sherrill’s struggles versus righties are well-known and the skipper has to pick his spots where he allows Sherrill to face a right-hander. He let him face Vlad in LA and it paid off. Sherrill certainly has more confidence after that series.

But when the field manager tells the general manager that he needs another bullpen arm that can go two or more innings per appearance and the GM obliges by calling up a Triple-A starting pitcher, wouldn’t the sane act be to use that pitcher on a regular regimen, somewhat according to how that specific pitcher had been used his entire career in order to maximize the kids’ chances for success?

If you ask the manager, his answer would be WRONG… again.

Bobby Livingston was called up on April 25, the day he was scheduled to make his fourth start for Tacoma. Livingston pitched 1 2/3 innings that day for the Mariners, but then wouldn’t see the mound again for 10 days.

He tossed three shutout innings at the defending world champs in Chicago on May 4 and was rewarded with eight more days between outings.

Un-freaking-believable.

Great idea, Grover. Take a 23-year-old starting pitcher who has but two career relief appearances in four and a half years as a pro, and pitch him five innings in 20 days.

That’s a great way to set up a rookie with a chance to succeed.

And that’s all Hargrove’s job requires… set his team up with the best chance to succeed as possible.

Clearly, he’s not doing that. Clearly, he’s a terrible baseball manager.

The Mariners are currently 17-24 and by all accounts are better than a .415 club. Yes, some major cogs are not performing. Yes, the roster isn’t good enough to win the division – any division in any year.

But Hargrove has done nothing to dig this team out of the hole in which they are rotting. Ya know, the one in the cellar of the AL West?

By the time Hargrove figures out that he should do something different, this team will be 15 games under .500 and 20 games out of first place.

He was given a nickname as a player, due to his deliberate routine as a hitter. It worked for him, he was a solid hitter in his day. Remember what it was?

As a big-league manager, however, he’s not worthy of a fun-loving nickname like that, but I can come close in terms of word usage.

Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove is The Human Brain Delay.

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73 Responses to “Official Scorer: E-MGR”

  1. 1996Coug said

    >>

  2. ??

  3. 1996Coug said

    I am applauding you. Very nice piece.

  4. That’s what “>>” means?

    Learn something new everyday.

  5. 1996Coug said

    No. For some reason that’s all that got translated when I hit “submit”. Hey- cut me some slack. I heard this is a new website and the guy that runs it is working out the bugs. 😉

  6. Salty Dog said

    So how long til Grover gets axed, assuming we continue to struggle?

    I think Rohn would be a good thing for this club. I’m not sure we need a veteran manager right now. We need a guy who knows the players in the system and who knows how to get production out of those guys.

    Rohn knows the players in our system well and has proven he can win with them (albeit at the AAA level).

    Sexson is coming out of his slump. Yesterday was the best I’ve seen him this year. Mix in a little Snelling, when healthy, and drop Beltre in the order, and we’re much better.

  7. Jerry said

    How about this lineup:

    Ichiro RF
    Reed CF
    Lopez 2B
    Sexson 1B
    Ibanez LF
    Beltre 3B
    Everett DH
    Johjima C
    Betancourt SS

    I think that this works well. Reed is an ideal #2 guy if he is on his game, and he looks like he is coming around. Lopez is the teams best hitter right now, and I think that he can handle the #3 hole. His RBI ops should improve. Sexson stays in his comfort zone at cleanup, with some protection from Ibanez and Beltre.

    This makes a lot of sense to me.

  8. Swerv said

    Great article. I am tired of Hargrove. The way he used Reed was it for me. The Livingston usage was horrid too. I would love to hear his reasoning for benching Reed when he finally starts to hit. It is like he is saying, “You dont hit and I am benching you and now that you are hitting I want you to stop and think about what you are doing right…sit over here on the bench” I dont I am just rambling…but the M’s need to be bold and make a change now not later.
    Be proactive instead of reactive. Sexson has been hitting the ball hard this last week. He doesnt have alot of hits to show for it as he seems to be hitting it right at people, but I can see hope for him. Beltre still pisses me off but thats a diferent story (at least he usually plays great D)

    Swerv

    PS.
    I like the smiley face at the very bottom of the page (in the gray part)

  9. I don’t like the idea of Lopez in the three-hole right now. Lot of pressure for a kid.

  10. ShipHimToDetroit said

    The bottom line is the M’s don’t have one starting pitcher who scares the opposition and they don’t have one bat in the lineup that scares the competition. Remember the days when we would wait for the lineup to turn over so Griffey or ARod or Edgar would get up. There was always that thought of, “If we can just get to Griffey…” Now it’s almost the opposite. My thought process is that if we don’t score with Ichiro, Lopez, or Raul, we’re screwed.

    People are talking about the reimmergence of Beltre’s bat, but he’s still nowhere close to what we expected. If a light-hitting .250 hitter is improvement, than we’re in serious serious trouble. And Sexson… don’t even get me started on Richie. Hopefully his three-hit day in Oakland yesterday gets his bat and his confidence going.

  11. dnc said

    I think we can all agere he’s headed for the three hole at some point in his career though.

  12. Salty Dog said

    Not sure Lopez has the OBP you’d like out of a #3 hitter.

    Snelling would be my ideal #3 guy. Excellent eye, draws walks, gap power.

    Lopez would be a good fit at #5, especially with two high OBP guys (e.g. Snelling and Sexson) ahead of him.

  13. dnc said

    I agree that Pez will need to improve his OBP to be an ideal #3. I just kind of expect it to happen.

    And you’re absolutely right – Snelling was born to hit 3rd. If only he was born to stay healthy.

  14. Goose said

    The Fire Mike Hargorve cause is growing more and more every day.

  15. StandinPat said

    Its almost unbelievable just how bad Hargrove has been. Even more unbelievable, that the M’s front office hired him in the first place. One of worst things you can do is hold off admitting you made a mistake in the hopes that a miracle happens. How much more time, and how many more games are we gonna waste on this mistake?

  16. MacMariner said

    If you fire Hargrove, then you better start calling for Bavasi, Lincoln and Armstrong’s heads too. This franchise needs a major overhaul, it ain’t just Grover. If it wasn’t for Fontaine and our Int’l scouting this would be way, way worse than it is now.

    Until the Seattle press starts holding the upper management accountable then this apathy will continue.

  17. StandinPat said

    What? That makes no sense. Hargrove has been horrible. Bavasi & co havent been nearly as bad for the team as Hargrove. The team Bavasi put together isnt great, but Hargrove is actually contributing to them being even worse. Not something you want from the manager. And BTW saying that you have to ax the team president to be able to fire the manager is just ridiculous.

  18. Willmore said

    Hey, Jason, any chance you can stick a fire hargrove tirade in the PI next week ?

  19. If you like Fontaine then you better wise up to realize Fontaine is here because Bavasi hired him and that's a feather in this GM's cap.

    Part of his job to is to hire the right people around him.

  20. eknpdx said

    Jason, I think yourself and others from the USSMariner have established that Hargrove was pushed on Bavasi by Lincoln and Chucky. If so, then how much authority would Bavasi have in the termination of Hargrove?

  21. He can use the leverage that he needs to save his own job.

    And Lincoln will hear that, too, because he’s all about putting butts in the seats.

  22. eknpdx said

    Is there any reason to think that Lincoln desire to put butts in the seats would allow Bavasi to move Ibanez? Or pay the money to move Beltre?

  23. If moving Raul actually made the team better TODAY, Lincoln would probably be fine with it.

    Beltre is another story due to the cash factor.

    If they traded contract for contract (Griffey, Drew) and didn’t have to send 20 mil or more, sure.

  24. eknpdx said

    I’m not sure how familiar you are with the current state of the Portland Trailblazers down here. It’s pretty bad, with a panel of execs making player/team development decisions sometimes forced upon GM Nash.

    It is quite similar to how the Seahawks were being operated when Bob Whittsit was in charge.

    Do you get the sense that Lincoln and co. function in a similar manner? Or is it less screwed up?

  25. It’s worse.

  26. MacMariner said

    Jason: I know fine well that Bavasi hired Fontaine thank you. Don’t be so bleeding smug and assume what I do and don’t know mate. Hiring Fontaine was a smart move, but he needs to start producing in other areas aswell.

    Pat: If you seriously believe that the problems of the Seattle Mariners will be improved to any great degree by the replacement of Hargove by Rohn then I have to disagree. The problems run much deeper than that. It will certainly be an improvement, but replacing Hargrove is like wall-papering a damp room. You have to address the underlying problems first.

    Also, I never said that the president had to be axed if you axed the manager. I am merely suggsting that the problems run deeper than Hargrove, but I apaprecite your inablity to discern my point, so I’ll rephrase it fer ye.

    Years of bad trades, poor drafts, dreadful personnel decions, lack of vision and refusal to take risks have the Mariners excactly where they belong. That’s a collective responsibility.

    Seattle are more than able to compete financially. They’re not here due to bad luck. You get what you deserve.

  27. eknpdx said

    “It’s worse.”

    :insert head thunking against desk smiley:

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better . . .

    Prepare yourselves.

  28. StandinPat said

    You disagree that replacing hargrove with Rohn with provide any improvement, then go on to say replacing Hargrove “will certainly be an improvement.” huh?

    Regardless of your contradictory post, Hargrove is hurting this team. Especially the younger players. Replacing him will help the team now and in the future. That fact by no way clears the FO from any wrong doing, but suggesting that there is no point in replacing Hargrove until they clean house with the rest of the front office is like saying we shouldnt make any improvements unless we can make them all at the same time. Getting rid of Hargrove is the first step, not the last.

  29. MacMariner said

    I said it would not provide improvement to any great degree, not no improvement mate.

    What comes after the replacement of Hargrove in your scenario? Who’s going to make these FO changes you’re talking about? Where is the accountability?

    I’ll say it again, Seattle’s biggest problem is not their manager. It may well be their fans and the local press.

  30. Mac: Take your attitude elsewhere or stop assuming tone on the internet, dude. I aint yer boy and you aint mine.

    Fact is, you FAILED to credit Bavasi for Fontaine, yet priased Fontaine’s performance.

    The point I made was more than warranted.

    If you don’t like it, I’d suggest another place to talk Mariners baseball.

  31. DaddyO said

    Another example of Hargrove ineptitude is his non-use of Putz since naming him the closer. Putz has appeared just once since May 8th, a span of ten days. Hey Mike, two questions:

    (1) Is the closer role so sacrosanct that you can’t get J.J. even a tuneup outing once in a while to keep him sharp?

    (2) Since the answer to (1) appears to be yes, then just how do you expect J.J. to pitch well when you actually DO get a chance to use him? It’s not fair to Putz to pitch him every five days and expect him to be sharp.

    (3) How in the world can you afford to not even use one of your dwindling list of effective pitchers? Or are you so worried about how to get Eddie back in the closer role that you aren’t even thinking about J.J.?

  32. DaddyO said

    Hey, at least Hargrove can count to three and not call it two, like I just did.

  33. Great post DaddyO.

  34. Dave Cairns said

    Hey Jason

    Mike Hargove’s ways of using Reed and Livingston in the line up are remarkably similar to the way Kansas City is using Justin Huber.

    They called Huber up to replace Mike Sweeney while injured, Huber has been on the bench for the best part of 2 weeks in the majors and had something like 5 AB’s in that time. Justin Huber is a converted catcher who is supposed to be spending time in AAA improving at 1st base.

    Before being called up he was dominating AAA pitching now he is batting .200 in 5 AB’s.

    Strangely enough the management at both clubs (GM & Manager) are fighting for their jobs !! If you are going to have kids with major league ability on your 25 man roster they need to play regularly !!!

    Keep up the great work.

    Dave
    Sydney, Australia

    PS. ANy word on RSS ?

  35. Wade Tonkin said

    Jason,

    I love your stuff, you should publish this through feedburner and make it a bit easier to add your RSS feeds to some of the more common feedd reeders like InClue, My.yahoo, etc.

    http://www.feedburner.com

  36. thanks, WT. I’ll look into it.

  37. Goose said

    Are you serious? Are they actually considering sending Felix back down? I mean yeah he’s struggling, but what does he have left to learn in AAA??

    Then again, look what it did for Jose.

  38. I’m trying to get more info on the moves, but it may have to wait, since it’s midnight.

    But yeah, it might be a good thing. Let him relax and refocus.

    But I don’t know that Felix is going down.

    But I’m pretty sure Snelling is coming up.

  39. marinerswinws said

    Is Hardgrove finally getting fired tommrow? I would hope so.

  40. dnc said

    Sending Felix down would be complete BS.

  41. I think it’s a good idea as long as they tell him it’s a temporary thing so he can relax and fix some things.

    I’d tell him it’s for 3-4 weeks max and we’ll see him in a month.

    Just go pitch, dude.

    But I don’t know that they are doing that. It’s just one of the possibilities that several sources have shared.

  42. marinerswinws said

    If felix has to go down for a bit thats fine with me because his mechincs are off right now. Hey Jason i hope to hear you say Hargrove was fired before i wake up tommrow morning.

  43. Sleep in then, Eric. I won’t be the first one reporting the official moves. I’ll be on the road at 6AM til about 10.

  44. marinerswinws said

    Damn it then i will assume Hargrove is fired untill proven wrong ha.

  45. Andren said

    FWIW my RSS for this site works just fine. Off to bed with dreams of news tomorrow.

  46. Knuckles said

    JAC: I used to be really hard on Bavasi, until it began to dawn on me just how horribly he’s interfered with by the M’s brass. I simply had no idea how bad it was. I’d like to see those jackasses get sent on vacation for a few months with no cell phones or blackberries, and let him do his job.

  47. Absolutely, and I have been easier on him because of that fact. But he has made some moves, backed some decisions that haven’t panned out at all.

    Adrian Beltre for one.

    I don’t think Bavasi deserves to lose his job this year.

    Mike Hargrove just isn’t the man to get the M’s back into contention on the field.

    I do think Bavasi is good enough, even with the interference, to get them back.

    That interference, however, is in the form of the bigger wigs wanting to rebuild on the run.

    In talking to Bavasi, you can tell he’s not a big fan of the big free agent deal, especially for pitchers.

    But he felt Beltre was worth the risk, but knew it was a risk.

    I have been told that the club could have had Carlos Delgado if they wanted – for the same money he signed for in Florida, but the higher-ups wanted the local connection in Sexson.

    I also have been told that Bavasi wanted Delgado and Troy Glaus, not Sexson and Beltre. But in the end, he did have a lot to do with the Beltre signing and backed it all the way.

    It’s very, very clear to me that if Bavasi had his way, none of the veterans would still be here. I think he truly believes that at some point you have to sacrifice a “slight chance” to win to get better sooner, rather than dragging it out and hoping.

    Bavasi preferred to do it the right way. Instead, his bosses kind of forced him to do it the way that would, and did, make them more money from 2004 til now.

    The one thing the Mariners have going for them right now is their amateur scouting. Bob Fontaine with the draft and Bob Engle and crew down in Latin America.

    And if they don’t shape up, they are going to lose Engle. I’ve heard he may be bolting for Philly to reunite with Gillick because he’s fed up with the M’s.

    Engle was the key scout that landed Felix, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Lopez…

    If they can Bavasi, it’s a scapegoat lead from Lincoln and Armstrong, and they’ll lose Fontaine, too.

    From the draft on down, where the scouting and player development departments do a solid job (more the scouting than the PD), the M’s are fine.

    LIncoln and the ownership need to let baseball people make baseball decisions.

    Last time I googled Howard Lincoln, he wasn’t a baseball guy. He’s a business guy.

    And for those who want Bavasi gone because you think he’s the problem, check this out.

    When the M’s go to hire a new GM, who do you think has the final say in who gets that job?

    Yep, the same idiots that have been running this club into the ground for the last four and half seasons. Lincoln, Armstrong, and the rest of the active ownership.

  48. Knuckles said

    In all honesty, I can’t pillory Bavasi for the Beltre deal. I thought it was a steal then, and I keep hoping it will be. The Sexson deal killed me at the time, but it paid off somewhat last season.

    Hargrove should get canned simply for putting Sexson in the lineup with absolutely no one hitting around him. He’s not Barry Bonds, man, he won’t take the walk. Put a threat behind him so he gets something to hit.

    I will, however, lambaste Bavasi for the Mendozio signing, as I hated it at the time and still haven’t quite gotten over it. I’m pissed at the higher ups for the freaking Ibanez extension. That’s just ridiculous.

    Anyway, thanks for giving me some perspective. Bavasi has made massive strides in rebuilding the organization from the bottom up, as Gillick and Mattox did their damndest to destroy it.

  49. Bavasi deserves criticisim for the Beltre deal certainly, but it was a risk this organization really needed to take. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and it’s not like the M’s are the ONLY team that brings in players that don’t work out.

    This whole idea that the M’s are cursed in that area is preposterous.

    Is Randy Johnson pitching well for NYY? Did Kevin Brown?

    Matt Clement has pitched about as well Gil Meche the past two years for Boston.

    Keith Foulke is making more than 7 million a year to suck.

    Steve Finley was terrible for LAA, and they dealt him for Edgardo Alfonzo who’s done nothing for them. Literally.

    Jeff Weaver sucks, what a waste of 8 mil.

    Darin Erstad has been making 8 mil a year to be a terrible hitting first baseman/outfielder for the past three years.

    Orlando Cabrera is worth 8 mil? I don’t think so. Not close.

    How about Billy Beane’s move to land Jason Kendall, whom the A’s will pay him 19 mil over the next two years.

    Kendall is an awful hitter, awful. He can’t throw anyone out and he has never been good at blocking balls in the dirt.

    He’s Dan Wilson, circa 2004-2005, with four times the contract.

    Loaiza sure isn’t working out for Oakland…

    All of these I’m mentioning are collosal failures, too. Not just slight disasters.

    32 mil for Erstad? 19 for Kendall? Brutal.

    All teams that spend money in any capacity have this problem. The M’s just have their wasted payroll wrapped up in one player.

    I’d rather one making 64 mil over five years than three players making 65 mil over any amount of time.

  50. Knuckles said

    Absolutely. However, I’d argue that the one player that we have so much “wasted payroll” invested in has a much higher upside than most of those other busts. I’ve never bought into the argument that the M’s are cursed when it comes to FA pickups (although I have frequently felt that the FA pickups we do make are just stupid).

  51. I believe that you grow your own talent, first and foremost. But if you have to lean in one direction, grow your own pitching and make deals, trades first, free agent deals second, for bats.

  52. Knuckles said

    You bet. That’s one of things I hate about the Steinbrenner/Red Sox models. The M’s haven’t done a very good job historically of growing and/or holding onto their own developed talent, so it’s really refreshing to see the Bavasi/Fontaine tandem do such a great job at getting this organization back on track. If they lose Engle, that could be catastrophic.

    Total aside, Jason, why was it that Snelling was sat last night? Hopefully nothing serious.

  53. Salty Dog said

    That list of contracts is exactly why Bavasi’s approach is right for this team, given the current state of affairs in MLB.

    It’s very hard to build a winner through free agency. You can get some parts that way, but it’s almost impossible to get star level players. Teams have gotten very smart about signing their own top talent before they hit FA – unless they’re a small market team and can’t afford to do so. And the guys that do hit FA tend to be ones with questions – about health, about age, etc.

    To get star-level players, you need to get them young, as prospects, then sign them long-term before they hit FA. Bavasi’s focused on scouting and player development, and eventually that’s going to pay off in a young, talented team.

    The FO people are concerned about one thing: money. But they’re very short-sighted. They can’t think in terms of years, which is what it takes to build a winning team, which (in the end) is what puts people in the seats. They want a quick fix, which short-circuits rebuilding, which dooms us to a cycle of mediocrity.

    I hope someone up there has the foresight to leave the baseball decisions to someone who knows baseball, and give that person the ability to make all baseball decisions without interference from above. Probably won’t happen, but it’d be nice.

    Because people aren’t going to come back to Safeco until this team starts winning again, and the only way that’s going to happen is with someone who knows baseball very well at the helm.

  54. I don’t buy Brundage’s comment that Snelling sat due to “precautionary” reasons with a stiff knee.

    He had all day Wednesday off.

    But that’s the team’s official stand at this point.

  55. Great post, Salty Dog.

  56. BTW, Dave Clark made a suggestion that sunk in with a lot of sense yesterday.

    Let the Team President make the decision on the GM, but make Bill Bavasi the team president (he’s pretty good aministratively) and have him go find a GM.

    Currently, Chuck Armstrong is the team pres, and he belongs nowhere near baseball decisions.

  57. vox said

    I could not have wrote a better piece in regard’s to Hargrove, Great Job. This man is simply terribly as a Manager, no an, if’s or but’s about it. His short sightedness and poor judgement boogle’s one’s mind. I will not re-hash your point’s and the other’s that have posted made, but I would like to point on one thing.

    Hargrove was the manager when Jim Thome was with Indian’s as most of you are all aware. Hargrove felt that Thome could not hit againgst leftie’s, thus Thome sat. No wonder Thome wanted out and got his wish. He had a very good season and the next, well he got banged up. Fast-forward to Thome with the Sox. Thome is light’s out this season because Ozzie know’s what the man can do.

    Ok, enough about Thome, the point is that Hargrove still stick’s with this inane thought as in the case with Reed that certain Hitter’s cannot handle leftie’s, can someone point out to me the logic behind this?. He was proved wrong with Thome and he is proving himself wrong again.

    J.J. Putz has been quite solid in my humble opinion and I agree with the post that Hargove is hampering him. Eddie is fading out, yet as with a good ole boy mentality that Hargrove live’s by, Eddie was the man and surely will turn it around. Eddie has been fine in his limited inning’s since then, but as the closer, no way!

    I could go on and on, but all here know what’s going on so no need to re-hash it. I truly look forward to the day Hargrove is shown the door, the sooner the better, like yesterday would have been good.

    My two bit’s.

  58. What a great find this blog is. Wow am I excited!!!
    You are right, the become the best of the best requires a manager with attributes Hargrove does not possess. If he had players with the intensity of a Buhner, Boone, or Charlton he would fair better. Of course, if Beltre and Sexton were producing he would also manage better. But what this team lacks is the eye of the tiger. The meeting loast night may lead to some re-newed energy, intensity, and belief. But it will be temporary. In any organization, leadership makes the difference.

    It is so dissapointing to follow the team chemistry that has developed with Holmgren, Romar, Hill, and Willingham while the Mariners are merely a group of people playing a game with mediocre results.

    Hopefully Felix is going to AAA and Lawton (no playing time = no value)is being released. The passion, intensity, and excitement of Snelling is exactly what this team needs.

  59. KB said

    You’re killing me, Smalls! Waiting all day for something to happen…. waiting…. waiting…. waiting….

  60. Like i said in every spot i let this out… nothing is guaranteed, and it’s all simply a possibility.

  61. eknpdx said

    One thing I don’t get about the possibility of Snelling coming off the 15 day DL is that he’s still wearing a knee brace, right?

    Is the knee brace just for precaution, or does he really need it?

  62. taro said

    “Engle was the key scout that landed Felix, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Lopez…”

    That guy deserves a million dollar contract.

  63. Allen Jacobs said

    FYI…Snelling is in the lineup vs Nashville, game just underway.

  64. WAB said

    Well damn…that sucks.

    At least the team won’t be getting better anytime soon, meaning Hargrove will be gone soon enough (PLEASE).

  65. Willmore said

    I, against my fanatical beliefs, hope that the Mariners lose today. For the sole reason of expediting the departure of Grover. It seems that whenever his job seems as perilosu as ever, he finds a way to run a 3-game winning streak. Lose. Lose. Lose !!!

  66. KB said

    Yeah, I know JAC, I just get excited about these things…. you know how it is.

    Alas, Hargrove shall manage on.

  67. Willmore said

    Dan Rohn for President !!!

    Ummm … the Seattle Mariners President of On-Field Operations … in other words … the Manager.

    C’mon, Grover, resign already !

  68. Jerry said

    Jason,

    I like the idea of Bavasi as president. That would fix 50% of the problems with the club.

    However, I definitely don’t think that firing or moving Bavasi from the GM post during this season is smart. Besides getting better scouting and PD people in the organization, Bavasi has done pretty well in mid-season trades. This season, the M’s are going to be sellers at the deadline again. I would rather have Bavasi oversee the 2006 round of vet-for-prospects trades this year, then think about doing something different in the off-season.

    In sum:

    -fire Grover now, and promote Rohn

    -Lincoln and Armstrong step back from baseball decisions

    -move Bavasi to president

    -hire Cleveland Asst. GM Chris Antonetti to be the new GM after the world series

    This would be perfect, because it help the M’s keeping the scouting personnell in place. Antonetti is an up-and-comer, and could help turn the franchise around. With someone reasonable like Bavasi at the top, I would imagine that Antonetti would be allowed enough autonomy to do the job right.

  69. mk said

    “Is the knee brace[Snellings] just for precaution, or does he really need it?”

    Often after knee surgery your knee is extremely weak and practically all the strength you’ve built up in that knee over the course of your life is gone, and you must start from zero. A knee brace simply takes pressure off the joint and prevents stiffness and swelling from a very tender knee.

  70. I agree 100% Jerry.

    I know one guy that knows Antonetti well and would love if he got the GM gig here.

    But I know an asst GM who doesn’t think much of Antonetti.

  71. Edman said

    Engle was key to signing whom?

    Just because it was on his watch, doesn’t mean he had that much to do with it.

    Credit the SCOUTS who dug those kids up…..not Engle for approving it.

  72. Engle was involved hands-on in the FElix dealings, Edman.

    He IS the scout that dug him up.

  73. DIQ said

    Edman,

    Stop talking out of your butt like you know everything.

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