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What To Do With Grover

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on August 20, 2006

The “Grover Be Gone” Plan

By Jason A. Churchill

Every soul in the city, and the surrounding suburbs, knows how I feel about the managing skills of one Mike Hargrove. He should have been canned last winter, almost was, and never should have been allowed to manage past May of this season.

As frustrating as it is to watch him criminally mis-manage the bullpen, stick to his stubborn, traditional style of managing and lead the hometown nine into the toilet, guess what?

If I were calling the shots, I would not fire Mike Hargrove today. Or tomorrow. Not even next week.

But I would fire him befire the season is over… barely.

Check out my “Fire Grover” Plan.

I ran this by a few of the other prominent bloggers, and it grabbed a chuckle, but a little refinement was in order. So here we go…

October 1 is the final day of the season, and the M’s take on the Texas Rangers. By that point, Seattle could be as far as 18 or 20 games back, at least at their current rate of futility – thank you Mike.

So the Rangers are up by three or four runs, naturally, and it’s probably 4-0, considering the offensive struggles of the M’s lately, but that’s somewhat irrelevant here.

The M’s go 1-2-3 versus Kevin Millwood in the fifth inning, making it an official game, and instead of the defensive lineup running out onto the field, the grounds crew drags an oak podium out between the mound and the plate. They quickly hook up a shiny micorophone and out walks three suits – Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong and Bill Bavasi.

The crowd is attentive, yet stunned at the sight of a mid-game announcement.

“Ladies and gentleman, Seattle Mariners fans,” says Howard Lincoln into the mic. “Here to make an announcement is the VP of Baseball Operations and team General Manager, Bill Bavasi.”

Bavasi steps up and starts in on how tough the season has been and while the club made strides, there were certain pieces that didn’t fit as well as he had hoped. Three minutes of that and Bavasi continues with the following.

“At this time we would like to announce that Mike Hargrove has been relieved of his duties as manager of the Seattle Mariners, and is asked to surrender his uniform and locker room keys to the clubhouse manager immediately. The Emerald City’s Finest will escort Mr. Hargrove out of Safeco Field and to the city limits, where he will be cited for conduct unbecoming of a baseball manager, and banned from the city for life.”

Bavasi is grinning from ear to ear as he makes this announcement, mostly because he wanted to fire Grover 10 months prior, and was not very high on him when he was hired in the first place.

“We thank Mike for his time here, though we expected much, much more out of a veteran big-league manager. In the end, he and I did not see eye-to-eye on how to rebuild a franchise, thus the change we are making today. The reason for the ceremonious firing is a reflection of how ceremoniously he took the M’s down with him. That’s inexcusable.

“We continue to promise the fans of the ballclub that we will do whatever it takes to put a winner on the field each and every season, and that has to start immediately. Thank you for your continued support and we will see you all again next April, for what we certainly plan to be a successful campaign for the Seattle Mariners.

“Oh, and by the way, Yuniesky Betancourt has been named the interim manager for the remainder of the season. We think YuBet can get the job done for the final four frames today.”

Hargrove is never seen again anywhere in baseball.

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110 Responses to “What To Do With Grover”

  1. Swerv said

    If only.

    I am not one to make a sign and take it to a game howerver, I am considering letting my daughters make one that says, “Fire Hargrove”

    How long before they take that away?

  2. marinerswinws said

    Hargrove days are numbered. Nice to see you back Jason, good article.

  3. Jerry said

    Nice to have you back.

  4. To quote Tom Cruise’s title character in Jerry Maguire…

    “I am so very, very back.”

    I feel like I re-signed Cush and everything.

    Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. I have kept all of the comments and saved all fo the emails and voicemails.

    All of you rock. Even you, Willmore. Even you.

    I will have a slew of new features coming this week, including a combo scouting report on Tony Butler and Chris Tillman, and a former first baseman-turned scouting coordinator’s view on Bryan LaHair and his unbelievable streak before he left to join Team USA.

    Also coming up:  “Potential 2007 Lineup”, one with Ichiro in CF, one withIchiro in RF… “Should the Mariners trade Richie Sexson?”… “Does Bill Bavasi Devserve Another Year?”… and, I’m starting the heavy process involved with the offseason scouting profiles of the top 25 prospects in the Seattle Mariners farm system, which will probably begin in November.

  5. marinerswinws said

    Jason i hope you will have good news for us tonite or Monday night.

  6. I really don’t believe Hargrove is going to get canned at this point in the season, unless there is a blow up between he and some of the players, or with Bavasi himself.

    If it does happen, you can bet that Rohn gets the nod as an audition for 2007.

  7. Yep. I’d say Jason’s soooo back…

    While my babysitter’s house indeed burned down on Friday, we didn’t torch this place.

    Missed ya, man! Welcome back. I really enjoyed reading your triumphant return. Sounds like an awesome plan to me!

  8. taro said

    Welcome back man.

  9. taro said

    Im loving this Ichiro to CF, Snelling to RF thing. Any word on whether this is permanent?

    Also is Cruceta going to get a look anytime soon with Baek being called up and Woods already in the rotation?

  10. marinerswinws said

    We have lost 11 games in a row, i wonder if this isn`t a reason to fire Hargrove then what is?

  11. Cruceta will be a Sept. callup… that reminds me, I will have a rather large piece on who I think is going to get the call, and who I think SHOULD.

    Not surprisingly, the two lists are not alike.

  12. Goose said

    And as Hargrove approaches the city limits, there stands me with a torch. And behind me is every memeber of LL,USSM,PI,ITP, and every other Mariners blog on the net(yes,even Mariners Revolution)with tar and feathers in tow.

  13. johnb said

    Really glad you are back Jason, we all really missed you!

    Hargrove must go, I would be surprised if it isn’t on Monday since the Sunday newspapers were calling for his head today. That is usually a sign that the manager is about to go off into the sunset.

  14. Allen said

    Welcome back Jason. I trust all is well.

  15. RadTad said

    Tough outing from Butler tonight… Walked Six… Struckout Seven… gave up some runs… Didnt make it out of the 3rd inning…

    Travis Chick got destroyed tonight… 12 hits, a bunch of runs, in only a few innings…

  16. Chick’s future is in the pen.

  17. Msfann said

    I don’t see any reason to let Hargrove finish the season, its not like were going to all the sudden start to click and make any kind of run.

  18. Twingster said

    Welcome back Jason!!

    Although your plan would prob rid Hargrove from the rank and file of MLB managers permanently, I have to agree with Msfann, can him immediately. Rohn for President….er, Manager.

  19. Oly Chris said

    OK, if we have to keep Grover until October could we have him take over Dan Rohn’s duties and let Rohn handle the field? Hargrove might learn some surprising things and Bavasi would get the pleasure of explaining to Dudley that it is “not a platoon”!

  20. DaddyO said

    Not one person in Marinerland is any more frustrated by Mike Hargrove’s ineptitude than I am. And nobody wants him gone more than I do. But I believe the kind of public humiliation you wishfully describe should be reserved for those whose actions descend to willful malice. Mike Hargrove is inept, but he’s a good man who tries to do what he really believes is best for the team. His only crime is that he’s consistently wrong. He deserves to be fired, for sure. But he does not deserve to be humiliated any more than what his job performance reflects.

    Glad to see you back in the saddle, Jason, and hope you are weathering the storm that broke over you.

  21. DO,

    Don’t take it literally… it was for fun, dude.

  22. Nichos said

    welcome back JAC, love the plans for the future articles, and a firing on the last day has its benefits….watching the standing as we slowly rise to the number 1 pick….

  23. Goose said

    I think we’re just a couple more losses away from coming into the 4th round.

    Go Mariners, keep losing!

  24. Goose said

    Errr um, that should read 4th overall, not 4th round.

  25. shillings said

    Jason! Thou art wonderful! 🙂

  26. Jerry said

    I hate to say this, but I am enjoying following this club now more than I was a week or so ago.

    Losing sucks, but I guess that I never really bought into the M’s as contenders.

    Now, the games may be meaningless, but you can’t say that it isn’t interesting. In just a few days we have seen:

    -a new starter get a shot at the rotation

    -Chris Snelling playing in an M’s uniform

    -in association with the above, we have seen a hitter in an M’s uniform display good plate discipline. Not seeing him for a while, I had forgotten how good of a hitter Snelling is. The way that he approaches each at bat, it reminds me of Edgar.

    -another interesting young reliever, Eric O’Flaherty, gets a shot.

    -Ichiro in CF! The team should have done this a long time ago. But better late than never. Lets hope that this move sticks, because it could make a huge impact on the M’s offense in 2007.

    And that is just the beginning. Here is what I would like to see in the next 6 weeks:

    -Jones back in AAA, where he belongs

    -Ichiro in CF, everyday.

    -Baek in the rotation (this is a near given)

    -A few starts from Cruceta. If they still want to limit Felix’s IPs, why not let Cruceta start in his spot once? Since one of Baek or Woods is likely to implode, this shouldn’t be too tough to pull off.

    -one more trade. Just to keep things interesting.

    -signing of a big-name international prospect. There are a few international free agents, including some Cubans. Anything to break the monotony as the minor league season wears down.

  27. Knuckles said

    Suite. JAC is back in the house. I was at Cheney yesterday with my two boys, watching the umps take the game away from the Rainiers in the late innings. The point of my fabulous story is that I was wondering if you were up in the pressbox for that game. Other than the second, my man Jeff Harris looked pretty good.

    Hey, by the way, I was at the Aquasox game on Saturday. Kameron Mickolio, aside from having Morse-esque height, was a freaking groundball machine. He was, for me, the highlight of the game.

  28. Jon said

    It’s been said before, but apparently Ichiro’s worry about playing center is his legs will get tired with all the extra running, so he won’t be able to run out all those singles, which will hurt his batting quite a bit. It’s a waste of his laser-guiding throwing arm, too…

  29. marc w. said

    Playing CF wastes Ichiro’s arm? I don’t get it.

    More pressing is what to do with Jones; I’d like to think at this point even the M’s can’t continue with excuses about how important their pre-game work with him is, or how happy Jones is to be working with Mike Goff instead of playing in AAA. But what they’re doing with this kid is criminal, and while I’m happy to see Ichiro in center this year, if that’s the way it’s going to go (or maybe an Ichiro/Bloomquist platoon), then Jones needs to be in AAA. This isn’t earth shattering, but I still find it shocking that it hasn’t happened yet.

  30. Jerry said

    I would guess that Jones will be back in AAA very soon. With Ichiro playing CF, Bavasi would have to know that Grover is going to just let him rot on the bench.

    Plus, Jones will still retain his rookie status if they demote him.

    The guy is clearly not ready, and right now his playing time will get real tight.

    I figure that Bavasi has a good feeling for what Grover will do in given situations, and Bill will do the right thing and put Jones in a situation where he will be able to play.

    Might as well do it now, and give him a shot to play regularly for the last few weeks of the minor league season. If they do that, Jones will still have plenty of time to sit around on the bench after rosters expand in September.

  31. Beady Eyes said

    Welcome back man…It felt weird not being able to come here and read your analysis.

  32. Scruffy Lefty said

    The only thing that would make your idea better Jason

    Would be to setup Hargrove for the “You just been kicked in the nutz” guy

  33. Udubb said

    Jason,

    First, welcome back!

    Do you envision a likelihood of additional Moyer style trades of M’s vets for prospects?

  34. Matthew said

    Why would they send Jones down when there’s about 10-15 games left in the AAA season? Unless it happens like today, I doubt Jones is going anywhere.

  35. Wade said

    Welcome back man… I missed you and Logan and his band of embeciles were starting to spread their wings.

  36. Rick said

    Welcome back Jason. Just heard you on KJR….I agree 100% with you guys, if they are gonna give Rohn a shot, can Hargrove now and let him take the reigns for the rest of the season as a “trial run”.

  37. Mashyu said

    The whole team philosophy seems to revolve around sticking with people a year too long. I guess why should Hargrove be any different. Quoting The Natural ,” Losing is a disease as dangerous as bubonic plague”

    Hargrove has brought his losing attitude with him and it has totally infected the team.

    Give anyone a shot as the manager. I can’t stand watching and listening to him anymore.
    He speaks like he is mentally handicapped and can’t speak a simple sentence when interviewed
    without bumbling and stumbling.

    Why in the hell he was ever hired is a mystery to me. What did he say to management that was so much better than anyone else?

    Fire the dunskie now please. I can’t take him anymore. Watching a broadcast is torturous.

  38. larryl said

    Hi Jason,

    It’s great to have you back. I’m one of the silent multitude that look at your site regularly, and felt great sadness when I read that you had to leave for a while. It was great to see a new piece this morning. I love your site, especially your focus on minor league prospects, a particular fascination of mine since my days as a kid watching the likes of Rick Reichardt, Andy Messersmith and Aurilio Rodriquez develop in the Angels system at Sicks Seattle Stadium.

    Though I know that scouting young players is an inexact science, I greatly appreciate the constant flow of information and the conversation you generate. I check your site almost daily and would be glad to subscribe if it ever comes to that.

    Here is one complaint. While your coverage of Seattle’s farm system is always interesting, your criticism of Mike Hargrove seems sophomoric. It is just too trite to blame the manager for the failures of an organization. Any half-assed Mariner fan can scream for the manager’s head. You have the knowledge to offer a deeper and more interesting analysis.

    At least if you are going to be critical, be specific, and maybe even offer insight into the logic of the moves that you disagree with. For instance, if you think Bloomquist is not the answer in centerfield, as you mentioned on KJR, tell us why Hargrove is using him there. My guess is that Hargrove agrees completely with you, but he has no other options (unless Ichiro is willing to permanently take on that responsibility).

    I heard you temper your critique of Bavasi by stating that he doesn’t have complete control. Can’t we assume that Hargrove is working under the same conditions? Wouldn’t Hargrove ask for a “real” centerfielder when he knows the team’s ability to compete for a playoff spot is in the balance and his job is on the line? I’m pretty sure he’s had that conversation with Bavasi on several occasions since Reed went down, maybe before.

    I don’t want to sound like an apologist for Mike Hargrove, but I find fire-the-manager campaigns to be quite unimaginative even if the suggested method is amusing. He will be gone soon enough.

    I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming articles on the kids.

  39. C. Cheetah said

    Dear LarryL…and Jason,
    Let me take a shao at answering Larryl, with examples that Jason has given in the past….
    1. Carl Everett-he was Hargrove’s guy, and despite a woeful 100 AB’s and sub replacement level performance, Hargrove continued to play Carl for another 300+ AB’s
    2. Bullpen-Hargrove has no imagination, and despite someone being overworked or being useless for a period of time(MATEO, GUARDADO as specific examples), Hargrove continues to run them out there.
    3. Over usage of players-As mentioned before, the Carl Everett bit from above. But in addition, the over usage of Lowe and Soriano so much that they end up on the disabled list. He’s doing the same thing already with O’Flarrety…unless Bill stops him. Another example is Johjima. He has caught the most innings of ANY catcher in the league. I know we lack a solid backup, but…
    4. Usage of the bench-While the bench may not have been stellar, it would have been nice to keep Lawton and Petagine fresh so their spring training successes may have continued. Later in the year, the Bloomquist obsession is hard to imagine, let alone explain.
    There are many other reasons, but I will let Jason and others explore those.

  40. kva15 said

    You know what? I can handle Hargrove being allowed to stick around for the rest of the year, because Jason A. Churchill is BACK!

    Oh, and Knuckles at #27 — nice to meet another Jeff Harris fan. I thought I was the only one still paying attention (and that folks were getting pretty tired of me extolling Jeff’s virtues).

  41. Hargrove is not a good manager for the M’s, but that does not mean he isn’t a good manager. I think a young team like the Mariners needs a young, inexperienced manager, rather than a veteran by-the-book type of guy. The kids don’t understand the geezer, and the geezer doesn’t understand the kids.

    Hargrove would be a good fit in San Francisco or for the Cubs if either Felipe Alou retires, or Dusty Baker is run out of Wrigley like Bartman. For a veteran team, Hargrove is just the cure to end struggles, but for maturing team that’s building up for the future, Hargrove is more poisonous than steroids to baseball.

    Take this grove and shove it, he ain’t workin’ here no more!

  42. Grover has been terrible for a long time. If he doesn’t have studs, he doesn’t win – at all.

    He finished the year 4-32 in his second to last year in Balt. 4 and 32!

    He has a history of losing teams late in the year.

    He sucks worse than Joel Pineiro.

  43. Nati said

    Thanks for the bellylaugh today, Jason. This is my first post here but have been following your blog for awhile. Glad to see you back!

  44. Mr. X said

    Your plan sounds good, but where is the part where Lincoln turns to Bavasi and relieves him of his duties as well, and appoints Willie Bloomquist as the interim General Manager? A “good utility man” should be able to pull that off for a few days.

    If Hargrove aka “The Human Brain Delay” was a real man, he would have resigned long ago.

  45. Bavasi deserves another year, for a lot of reasons… but that’s a story for October 2… and I’ll be writing several thousand words on that.

    You really have to understand what Bavasi has been faced with, both in baseball and with his superiors, to believe he deserves one more year.

    I’ll make sure everyone has that info.

  46. Mr. X said

    I’ll probably disagree, but I’ll read your article with an open mind.

  47. It’s all predicated on this…

    He’s not in total control, he has many restrictions that are not made public, many things are and have been forced upon him… so…

    1. How can you hold him 100% responsible when he isn’t 100% in control?

    He does deserve some criticism, particularly for Spiezio, Aurilia and Washburn, though Wash isn’t useless. But he was not responsible for trading Guillen and had NO CHOICE with Freddy Garcia, though the fact is that deal did not work out for the M’s.

    But he’s stayed on course with going young in a lot of areas, avoiding locking up veterans that block the kids, and should get a lot of credit for how the prospects have been handled. He’s pretty much making all of the decisions with player development.

    2. If Winn, Freddy, Aurilia, Washburn and Spiezio were all his fault, we have to make the same point about the positives.

    Beltre and Sexson are a result of Chuck and Howie pretty much forcing the issue. Bavasi wanted Glaus and Delgado, but the idiots wanted to make sure they got TWO big-money bats.

    Bavasi has exercised a lot of restraint here, and that’s the best part of his GM skills. He’s not great and has not done a GREAT job… probably not even good. But unless you are bringing in a HOF GM whom Chuck and Howie will hand the reigns, too, the next GM will again be a puppet.

    The longer Bavasi is here, the more the FO will trust him.

    I’m not advocating extending him for 3 more years… just one.

    He deserves one more FULL season.

  48. Ty said

    I figure Jason went on strike until Bavasi agreed to call up Chris Snelling. That’s gotta be it.

    I’ve checked this blog every day since you left in hope that you’d come back sometime. Looks like it payed off. 😀

    Welcome back, man. The M’s fan base isn’t the same without you.

    I think YuBet would be a much better manager than Grover, btw. Willie Bloomquist can be the new bench coach, too.

  49. Willie can be Yubet’s fetch bitch.

  50. eknpdx said

    Does everyone forget that before Bavasi turned to Aurilia, there was that Cleveland SS who “failed” the physical and then went on to another all-star game???

  51. How many times do I need to say that the Guillen deal was forced and 90% handled by Pelekoudas/Gillick anyways?

    Chuck and Howie had already decided that Los had to go… you dont think other clubs knew this?

    There was no way the M’s were going to get jack for Guillen at that point… and he DID fail the physical, how is that Bavasi’s fault? Or even Lee or Pat’s?

  52. eknpdx said

    I was referring to Little O who then went to the Giants.

    But the point was not to argue against.

    Bavasi had little choice after Omar Vizquel “failed” that physical. I recall the uproar when the trade was first announced, then the sigh of relief when his knee failed the tests.

    At that point, Aurilia was the only SS on the market left. No one ever talks about the Little O move that failed, they only talk about Aurilia failing.

  53. Mr. X said

    It’s true, not much will change as long as we have an absentee owner, but Bavasi isn’t blameless. I could go on and on, but there is one interesting thing about him that I’ve never heard anyone in the media really address.

    He is the first GM to trade for, start, and sign players who have failed drug tests. Then there was the inexcusable Everett signing.

    I know that most fans don’t care, as long as the players produce. The uniform means a lot to me, and it’s been tarnished by the likes of Morse, Franklin, Strong, and Lawton.

  54. marinerswinws said

    Bavasi deserves at least another year to get us in contention and more. Hargrove should be gone now and im surpirsed he lasted through Monday.

  55. mk said

    Jason, during your interview on the 21st with Dick Fane(sp?), was he on when he said Bavasi went up to Hargrove with player A, B and C and given a choice and he chose Everett?

    It might have been you who said this, I was watching my two nephews, so I was a little bit scattered, but is this how things usually work in free agent signings between manager and GM? I found it intresting, if not ridiculous if Hargrove had say with who Bavasi signed.

    In my opinion, the GM should build a team, top to bottom (well, where he can), including manager, who ISN’T building the team. If the manager can’t feel comfortable with this, get lost.

    Can we clone Macha?

  56. Fred said

    Fear you are being too charitable to Bavasi. It was tacky at the time to put Everett’s signing on Hargrove’s back. Bavasi is the GM. If he wanted someone else, he should have signed someone else. He has to be held accountable for the signings of Aurilia, Spiezio, Lawton, Everett, Washburn…and for keeping Guardado, Boone and Olerud when it was obvious they were done. Big dollars for nada. He also traded off Winn and Guillen for nothing and, as was noted, lost his nerve and backed off the signing of Vizquel, still playing at all-star level, in favor of Aurilia. Bavasi, remember, is the guy who blew the Angels’ money with a long-term, big contract for Mo Vaughn. For my money, he is a lousy judge of big-league-level talent. Yes, we need a strong manager with some fire. We also need a g.m. with better judgment than Bavasi has shown.

  57. eknpdx said

    Fred, unless you have some insider secret information, you cannot claim Bavasi “backed off” the Viquel signing.

    The media reported he failed the physical based on his knee.

  58. J2D2 said

    I wonder how many actually “great” GM’s there are out there? I could probably identify no more than a handful that I’d be satisfied with over Bavasi. No one thinks Bavasi is great. But he sure beats the idea of having Gillick around.

    Even Theo’s GM record in Boston, for all the love he got prior to 2004, is being questioned by Sox fans. I think the idea of a “Great GM” might be something of an illusion. I just don’t think that ridding ourselves of Bavasi is gonna accomplish anything. Chuck and Howie simply don’t know enough about how to put a Championship club together to find the “right guy” by any sort of scientific process. Which is why they’ve ended up with Bavasi, whose agenda is nearly a polar opposite of Gillick’s. They’d just be guessing at what strategy to try next.

    Also, I like to think that Bavasi is a human person. That is, he has the ability to learn from mistakes. He has cited Mo Vaughn as a regret, so you think that he might be a better GM now than a decade ago. His moves in season this year, while perhaps a bit *slow* for my liking, have been a-ok with me.

  59. Nati said

    #59: I agree with the point you make. It’s two steps forward, one step back. Which is to say that if you throw out Bavasi now isn’t it really like starting all over for Howard and Chuck next year? Doesn’t Billy boy ensure that a large piece of the puzzle for the organization is in place to get on with the business of making improvements so the team is contender ready in ’97 or ’08?

  60. Nati said

    er, that would be #58.

  61. Nati said

    And that would be ’07 and/or ’08…getting tired.

  62. Willmore said

    Bavasi should be at least partially to blame, if only because he has been unable to force his opinion on the higher-ups. I would think that a GM with some more guts and bravado would find a way to create the team he wants.

    It’s nothing Bavasi can fix, because now the relationship is entrenched, so why not try and go after a differnt GM, one that can turn a new leaf, and perhaps change the entrenched minds of our hegemonical leadership.

    It’s too much to ask of 99% of possible GM candidates, but perhaps there is some exec out there who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and who can take control of the organization, even from the inferior position of a VP.

  63. NOBODY short of a hall of famer, like Gillick already was before coming to town, can change the stranglehold that Lincoln and co. will have on the GM.

    And not even Gillick had true free reign. He, too, was often handcuffed.

    Firing Bavasi accomplishes nothing but assign blame, so why do that when the truly incompetent Hargrove is the perfect scapegoat.

    The Mariners are much better off going at it in 2007 with Bavasi and Rohn, and if things fail miserably again, they will really have no choice but to move on…

    Any GM that comes here will have the same restrictions, because no legend is going to want this gig.

  64. Walrus said

    Fred and Willmore and other Bavasi-haters,
    Please help me understand your thinking, given the facts that 1. Bavasi does not have 100% control over many decisions, 2. The Mariners were an old and aging team with no depth what-so-ever in the farm system when bavasi took over, and 3. where Bavasi does have 100% control in decision making – draft and handling & building the farm system – virtually everyone agrees that Bavasi (and those under him) are doing an above average, if not very good job…..Why would any reasonably good GM candidate WANT the Mariners job?…Especially given the circumstances that Bavasi had to work with (that are stated above) – Bavasi has done an OK job, but still Bavasi will have been run out of town by a mettling front office and fickle public after Bavasi only truly had one off season to set his plan to improve the Mariners into action?
    Further, knowing that the new GM will be hired by Howard and Chuck, and the new GM will HAVE TO LISTEN to Howard and CHUCK this off season, what makes you think that the Mariners would be BETTER in 2007 with a new GM?
    Changing your GM every 2 to 3 years is what losing teams do – for specifics, please see Baltimore, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Chicago Cubs, and etc…
    I grant you Bavasi has made mistakes, but I for one do not know which of these bad decisions were influenced by Chuck and Howard…do any of you? I bet Jason has the best info on this subject, but I doubt anyone truly knows every detail.
    Firing Bavasi will only make the Mariners worse. The Mariners NEED STABILITY – not more revolving doors.

  65. There’s no reason to can Bavasi. He has done a solid job with the funds he’s had available and the many holes the M’s have. Plus he’s stocking up for the future — I like the addition of Travis Chick from Cincinnati to help the bullpen next year and beyond.

    I think if JJ Putz remains a solid closer, Gil Meche, Felix Hernandez, and the rest of the starting staff pitch well, and the M’s acquire another power hitter (Alfonso Soriano?), the AL West title can be had next season.

    I wonder if the Mariners will even try to compete for Daisuke Matsuzaka — the WBC pitcher from Japan. The BoSox and Yankees clearly have the financial edge, but with the M’s success of bringing in players from Japan (Johjima, and years before Shigetoshi Hasegawa), shouldn’t they at least take a shot at getting Matsuzaka.

    A future rotation of Meche-Felix-Matsuzaka-Washburn-Cruceta/Woods is very intriguing.

    Keep Bavasi, fire Hargrove. Hopefully the owners/president will ease their constrictions on Bavasi soon as well.

  66. You wonder if the M’s will try and compete for Matsuzaka?

    I’m telling you right now they want him… bad.

    They’ll be in it big time.

  67. Twingster said

    Looks as though Blackley has been brought up to Tacoma to take Baek’s place in the rotation. Will miss seeing Travis pitch in SA, but glad to see him moving back up again.

  68. Fred said

    eknpdx: Yes, Vizquel was rejected after a physical because of “a bad knee.” But, before he was acquired, it was known that he was recovering from knee surgery and would not be baseball ready until sometime early in spring training. That is exactly what happened—-except that Vizquel by then was in a SF uniform and performed again at all-star level. Bavasi backed off his signing and signed Aurilia instead. We made a mistake in letting him go in the first place and, then, compounded it by backing off his re-signing because we suddenly “discovered” what was well known at the time.

    Lincoln/Armstrong may muffle intelligent decisionmaking. But it is the easy way out to argue that Bavasi’s apparent mistakes are all their fault—or Hargrove’s. He must be held accountable for baseball personnel decisions just as Hargrove must be held accountable for on-field decisions.

  69. Goose said

    It was a mistake to let Vizquel go in the first place? You mean like in the early 90’s?

    I don’t know about you, but having several years of Alex Rodriguez sure made up for it to me.

  70. Fred said

    Goose: Yes, that is exactly what I mean. The Mariners traded Vizquel away for crap. Do you think it might have been possible to find places both for Vizquel and A-Rod in the lineup? The Yankees have found a way to play both Jeter and Rodriguez.

    The point is: Vizquel was a valuable asset for which nothing valuable was received in return. Just like Varitek, Lowe, David Ortiz, and many others.

    That is why it is imperative that the GM have good judgment about MLB-level talent.

  71. Knuckles said

    You’re not blaming Bavasi for the first dealing of Vizquel, are you? Dude, you are bitter about some wierd ass shit (and this coming from someone who is still pissed off about the Slocum deal). Vizquel had no future with the M’s. He got dealt to a team that had a use for him. It worked well for him.

  72. Fred said

    Knuckles: Of course Bavasi was not to blame for dealing Vizquel for nothing. No one said that—simply that the franchise has a long history of trading talented players without getting talent in return. Vizquel had just as big a future with the M’s as he had anywhere else—perhaps a bigger future, because he came up thru their farm system and lived here. You don’t know baseball if you believe the M’s could not have used a team leader who also was a 15-year All-star at a key position. Get real.

  73. Eknpdx said

    Fred, do you remember the media backlash AGAINST the Vizquel trade?

    Jason, do you know what happened on the inside with Vizquel? Or did it happen as it was reported?

  74. Wade said

    When they moved Little O initially, they were NOT a big money team and were struggling still to put buts in the seats. Omar was the big free agent shortstop that year and was looking for huge money that they didn’t see making sense to dedicate to a guy who was at that time, still pretty light with the bat. Omar really got stronger and bigger playing in Cleveland and ramped up his stats.

    It made no sense at that point to commit to him for long term big money as they had the freakin #1 pick in the draft, best prospect in the game coming up who played the same position and was a year out.

    Fermin was a decent place holder and didn’t effect the team good or bad – they weren’t winning then anyway.

    Your argument that they should never have let him go initially was nuts and merit -less.

  75. Doug Taylor said

    Fred, I can’t help but think that your Vizquel conversation involves a lot of revisionist tendencies.

    It was largely believed that Vizquel, who had become a star in Seattle, would leave in free agency, as the Mariners were not known for keeping their talent, and, in fact, had traded away big talent before they left via free agency (i.e. Mark Langston). So, they got what they could for him, Felix Fermin, who was known as a solid shortstop, betting the farm that A-Rod would be ready soon (two full seasons, it ended up taking).

    This was not a franchise that was known for winning, or even considered itself competitive. Not only that, it was a low payroll team, which depended on a few good players (RJ, Buhner, Edgar, Jr.) to keep the team close. To impose on them a team with a payroll over $200 million is is simply unfair. Wanna complain about the team’s stinginess? Go ahead. But to pin on them a supposedly “bad” trade involving Vizquel doesn’t make any sense.

    In fact, Felix Fermin’s 1994 season for the Mariners was pretty good. His fielding was comparable to Omar’s, and he had a batting average (.317) that was much higher than Omar’s (.273). I’m not saying Omar Vizquel isn’t a great player, he certainly is, but your hypothesis isn’t really all that thought out. I’d be hesitant to accuse others of not knowing baseball if you haven’t done any of the research.

  76. etowncoug said

    The backlash on the Visquel trade was huge. I remember reporters going around interviewing kids who were crying about Omar leaving.

    We also got Reggie Jefferson in that deal as well who served as the teams DH (OPS+ 137 in 63 games) that season. The team also saved a bunch of cash that was used to keep Buhner around. Maybe it wasn’t the teams finest moment, but it certainly wasn’t a terrible move.

  77. Knuckles said

    “You don’t know baseball if you believe the M’s could not have used a team leader who also was a 15-year All-star at a key position. Get real.”

    That’s fucking hilarious. Even Omar knew he had no future with the M’s. They had Alex Rodriguez to take his place. If you would prefer to have Omar in your lineup over A-Rod, then I’m thankful you’re not the GM for the Mariners, as you would have been an even bigger laughingstock to the rest of the league than Woodward was. Omar was a whiny bitch about getting sent out for A-Rod, and I was one of the few that wasn’t unhappy to see him go. I liked the guy just fine, but I’ll take the A-Rod for Omar swap any day of the week. I’m glad he panned out for Cleveland in ways no one (not even you, master of Monday morning quarterbacking) could have foreseen. Sending Omar out wasn’t the problem, it’s what the morons in the FO did subsequently.

  78. jp17 said

    Word.

    JAC

    Any idea of when Blackley pitches for Tacoma?

    Hopefully not tonight…I wanna see how Baek does…or more aptly doesn’t do.

  79. Knuckles said

    And for chrissakes, they had many team leaders back then. Bone, Junior, Tino, Norm, Bosio…the list goes on. Omar was considered many things back in 93, but a clubhouse leader wasn’t one of them.

    You’re right: we should never have traded a guy with his lofty offensive stats when we could have kept him, and had no place to put A-Rod. I would argue, given his history, that the trade from Seattle to Cleveland was the best thing that could have happened to Omar, as it gave him some impetus to become a better all-around player. Would he have done that if he’d stayed here? Who knows?

    “Vizquel was signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent in 1984 and made his debut on April 3, 1989. His glovework was evident when he broke in the American League, but it took him some years to master the art of hitting. At the beginning Vizquel was strictly a singles hitter. In his first three seasons with Seattle, he batted .220, .247 and .230 with only 39 extra bases. After hitting .294 in 1992, he was headed for a repeat performance in 1993. Vizquel was hitting .292 at the All-Star break, but he batted only .202 the rest of the way finishing with .252. The problem was mere fatigue. A small man at 5’9 and 163 pounds, Vizquel had never had 550 at-bats in a full season. But he nonetheless contributed on offense, bunting to advance runners and drawing some walks. At the end of the season he was traded to Cleveland for two players and cash.”

    Don’t tell me I don’t know baseball, punk, because you don’t know what in the fuck you are talking about.

  80. Knuckles said

    JP: Afternoon game at Cheney, Nags was supposed to get the start.

  81. Buschleaguer said

    Welcome back Jason! good to see you back in the saddle. Looking forward to reading more of your excellent stuff. Keep it up!

    Mike

  82. marc w. said

    Blackley starts thursday in Tucson. Saw him today, and he was in good spirits, ready to attack the PCL again.

    Oh, and if you hadn’t seen it, TJ Bohn to Seattle, and Adam Jones to Tacoma…

  83. Jones is pissed – AT GROVER – and Travis is surely not excited to pitch in Tucson… he spent so much time in Arizona on rehab…

    That is going to be a fun coversation.

  84. Knuckles said

    Gee, Jason, whyever would AJ be pissed at Hargrove? Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with his whole “getting called up to play CF on a regular basis and then getting sat on his ass in favor of Willie Handjob”, could it?

  85. Steve said

    Ahhhh…..J2D2 must be on drugs. By all means, let’s not return to the “Gillick” years which included annual contention, consecutive trips to the playoffs, and a 116 win season. No…..Bavasi is clearly a preferable choice. What, on God’s earth, would be your basis for preferring Bavasi’s GM skills over Gillicks?

  86. Matthew said

    So.. do you think Bavasi is the reason the Ms lost 90+ games in 04 and 05? Or is more likely because Gillick loaded the roster with incredibly aging veterans and then bailed before the bill came due?

  87. 1996Coug said

    Why is Meche not starting this week? Is he going to be dealt? Would it be wiser to wait for a draft pick?

    Glad to have you back, Jason. Hardball just doesn’t cut it anymore.

  88. DIQ said

    Forearm sorness.

  89. Willmore said

    Most likely he’s simply injured. Alternatively, he might have worked himself into a type A free agent, and they don’t want him to go back to a type B by screwing up much more. I doubt it has anything to do with a trade, showing injury would only decrease his value. And at this point, it would be wiser to wait for the draft pick, because we would not get #1-pick-type prospect in return for him.

  90. Knuckles said

    Forearm soreness…Yeah, I get that a lot, too, but probably for different reasons.

  91. jp17 said

    I can think of two cases in which that isn’t true.

  92. Jerry said

    Jason,

    Any word on Brandon Morrow’s status?

    Unless I am mistaken, he hasn’t pitched in weeks.

    Is he working on the side? Shut down for the season as a precautionary measure? Or something worse?

  93. Morrow last pitched on aug 7. The M’s may shut him down, but it’s only a precaution.

    Stiffness hasn’t subsided and if this were May, 2007, he’d pitch through it.

  94. Jerry said

    Thanks for the update.

    That is really nice to hear.

  95. Orlandu said

    I read in the Seattle Times that Glenn Adams got fired yesterday. Know anything about why he was fired or possible replacements for him?

    Also, you know who might replace Benny Looper?

  96. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    This morning’s Seattle Times says Seattle isn’t filling Looper’s spot. He’s just going back to scouting, Frank Mattox is staying in player development.

    Remember, back when they hired Bavasi, Benny interviewed for that job. After he didn’t get it, that position he’s been in for a few years was created. I think, just as a sort of consolation prize for him. But apparently he’s been consoled enough.

  97. Adams was let go because he wasn’t getting the job done, apparently.

    Can’t disagree, but it’s a roving instructor’s job, not easdy to do.

  98. jp17 said

    Shawn Nottingham completes the Choo/Broussard deal.

  99. Jerry said

    Nottingham, huh.

    Not too shabby. He isn’t the first pitcher I would like to see go, but he is not going to put too bad of a dent in the M’s pitching depth.

  100. d2ret said

    Hey Jason what ever happened to Benny Loopers kid, Aaron Looper.
    Is he still in the organization? I remember he was a pretty good releif prospect with a nasty breaking ball until he got hurt up with the big team. So where is he now? Also, I was wondering about Clint Nageotte. A couple of years ago, he was a top pitching prospect for us. Was it the injury that slowed him down? Does he still have the devastating slider I remember of him and is he still a starter or just a relief prospect now?

  101. Looper is a reliever in Triple-A Tacoma.

    He’s been injured a lot the past few years. He’s nothing but an organizational guy now, and I would not be surprised to see him gone after this season, along with a lot of guys that have been around a while.

  102. Oly Chris said

    Jason,
    Since we’re still talking about Dudley, how do you explain the recent flexibility in the line-up and batting order? We played almost 120 games as if caught in and endless do-loop, yet now we are seeing some very reasonable line-up combinations and batting orders as well. Are you actually making out the line-ups for Grover? Did he only have 120 line-up cards printed in April? What gives, in your opinion?
    Also, I was fascinated at the hint that Adam Jones was pissed at Dudley. Any way to share some details?

  103. johnb said

    Can you remove Grover’s photo and just replace it with a giant red X? It’s bumming me out.

  104. Chris,

    Finally, Grover doesn’t have much of a choice.

    John, Grover photo gone.

  105. johnb said

    🙂 Thanks Jason!

  106. always.

  107. Jerry said

    Speaking of managers,

    It is looking more and more like Joe Girardi will get canned soon.

    If the M’s want someone experienced, Girardi could be a good addition. He has a team of children playing nearly .500 ball, so he obviously doesn’t have issue playing young guys.

    Who knows if he would even be interested. But it seems like the Florida front office has decided to bash him in the media and basically crap all over him. Thus, Seattle might be a nice change for him.

  108. That Joe Girardi gets canned in the same season he will be a candidate for Manager of the Year is a joke.

  109. Bochy is probably the only current skipper with a good rep that could be available that Seattle would consider.

    I still say go with Rohn.

  110. gwangung said

    Hm. Doesn’t say much of the front office, does it?

    Rohn isn’t a bad choice in my book, either…

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