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The Real Reasons Why Hargrove Was Retained

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on September 29, 2006

There are three or four REAL reasons why the Seattle Mariners decided to bring back Mike Hargrove for the 2007 season, none of which they addressed in their letter to season ticket holders.

They claim he’s good with young players, but anyone smarter than a tube of glue knows that is not true. They also allude to Hargrove’s ability to make good in-game decisions, though they never actually said those exact words. Instead, they say he’s shown the ability to keep his roster focused and playing hard.

Neither is true, however, and the beat goes on with the Mariners suits again lying to the people that fill their money clips with green paper.

Mike Hargrove was retained because the M’s do not want to write a $2 million check to the skipper for sitting at home and watching baseball on ESPN next season.

The dunce was brought back for the final year of his contract because they believe that firing him and hiring a new manager, no matter who that ultimately would have been, tells the fan base that they are, once again, starting over, thus negatively effecting the attendance – which is the key to their entire dirty lives.

The worst M’s manager to get three years to screw things up was kept on board because… well, simply because the suits are stupid, and they think all of us are idiots, too.

“Look at all these people paying all that money for tickets, parking, concessions and souvenirs to see our invention. What a bunch of cattle,” says Howard Lincoln, I’m sure.

Chuck and Howie don’t get it, we already knew that. But since we are stuck as observers, we have to take what they give us. But we sure don’t have to take it lying down.

Hargrove will manage the club in 2007, at least until they sink to the cellar in mid-May, so instead of ridiculing further, I’ll leave the subject alone and concentrate on roster construction…

But not without a parting shot.

I called for Mike Hargrove’s head last winter. I did it again in April, and yet again in July, August and September. But if this club pinches pennies this winter and doesn’t put a winner on the field in 2007, the heads I’ll be calling for aggressively won’t be limited to Mike Hargrove and Bill Bavasi.

It’s about time Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln are held accountable for the wretched job they have done over the past four+ years.

Don’t get too comfortable in your $1000 office chairs, fellas. Your day is coming, too, and I guarantee you it won’t be fun. Well, it’ll be damned entertaining for me.


63 Responses to “The Real Reasons Why Hargrove Was Retained”

  1. Goose said

    :Shakes fist towards the sky:

    Damn the man!

  2. Jason remember when I said I was nervous and made you assure me Hargrove would get fired?

    I’m not blaming you, it’s just it’s such an easy decison that I had to believe he’d get canned.

    The real thing that worries me is this…

    What will it take to get Hargrove fired at this point? 15 game losing streak? Open critism from 5+ players? When we’re 10 games out at the end of may do to incompetince? It’s just giving me a migrane.

  3. Well, like I said above, money had a lot to do with this.

    if he wasnt guaranteed 2 mil, he woulda been canned in May.

  4. And yeah, I obviously got bad information, which does happen on occasion, but I also believe they made one decision and reversed a week or two later.

  5. eponymous coward said

    Aargh, HTML hates me.

    What will it take to get Hargrove fired at this point?

    Simple, a last-place finish with less than 75 wins (or whatever the M’s end up with). They can’t sell losing more in 2007 than 2006 as “progress”.

    And Jason, given that Bavasi is famously loyal to staff (even giving Terry Collins a contract extension in the middle of a player revolt against him) and apparently got told “well, at least you’re making progress” by the senior front office management, I somehow doubt he was going to stick a knife in the back of the field manager he hired when they asked him “so, whaddaya think about Mike?”. Just sayin’. He’s partially culpable for this, in my opinion.

    As for the cattle… attendance has slid every year from 2002. Look at Baltimore- it took them until THIS YEAR for their attendance to really crash (attendance over 2.4 million every year since 1998 up until this year, even with terrible teams)… and they had to have Angelos mismanage the franchise into the side of a mountain AND have an expansion franchise show up in Washington to really implode attendance-wise.

    I think we’ll probably see some slide in season tickets and atttendance early in 2007- not big, but a slide nonetheless. Even flashy free agent sginings can’t obscure 3 consecutive below .500 and last place finishes (it didn’t help that much in 2005 and it won’t help now). Everything else that happens will depend on how the team plays in 2007.

  6. –He’s partially culpable for this, in my opinion.–

    No, he’s not. if it was up to Bill, Mike would be gone, and there isn’t any doubt about that.

    And the fans are still cattle to the suits. If you doubt that, I don’t have anything else to offer you.

  7. If DM is signed, season tickets won’t drop.

    There’s a lot of promise in this club and they aren’t that far away from the peak of the developmental hill.

    Felix in 2007 and beyond… think about that.

    But for 07, they need help. If they get DM, they wont have issues with attendance, and they’ll probably be a team that can win 88 games.

  8. eknpdx said

    So where does this talk about another big bat come from (mentioned in the Times and P-I).

    This move, as you stated, indicates money is the issue. How do they decide to spend more money on the team, when they can’t let go of $2m on Grover?

    Can Bavasi construct a roster that evven Grover cannot miss with?

  9. It’s different paying a guy to manage or play for your team… it’s another to pay him not to. That’s the key.

    And they don’t need to spend MORE money on the team than they already have been. Just spend it on the right guys.

    That part is mostly up to Bill. But he can’t be blamed for not getting DM, if that happens.

    I stil disagree that NYY is the faves… I think Seattle is the favorite to get him, because I believe the posting process is a total friggin’ joke and isn’t on the up and up.

  10. Jon said

    So, is there any risk at all that, if somehow the team is good next year and gets into the playoffs despite Hargrove, the management will respond by extending the contract of their trusty-and-now-successful manager?

  11. Yeah, I’d say there is. The suits aren’t nearly smart enough to fire a bad manager after a good season.

  12. Jon said

    That’s … well, that’s a shame.

  13. It is, Jon, and that’s a really good point to bring up, too. If they are at 45 wins at the break and looking solid, the E-word is going to start coming up.

  14. jtopps said

    Thanks JAC

    I didn’t want to hear this (or any of this week’s news) but I appreciate the candor. I wish there was a real way for us fans to combat the cattle categorization. I just think that Lincoln is right, the majority of fans are complacent and we are the minority…

  15. Here’s my idea for the M’s 2007 season…

    The M’s start the year by losing 15 of 20 games and Hargrove gets kicked out of Seattle faster than Ichiro reaches 1st base on a leadoff single.

    A new manager is hired and he leads the Mariners right back into contention.

    Of course, for that to happen, Bavasi will have to make some good moves in the offseason.

    Side-note…if the Mariners are unable to get Daisuke Matsuzaka, what FA starter (if any) do you see them going after? The Braves are looking to unload Tim Hudson, possibly on the cheap because of his ineffectiveness and injury-prone-ness this season. Do you see Bavasi trying to make a deal for Huddy, who was darn good against Seattle when with the A’s?

    –the real reason why Hargrove wasn’t canned: Chuck and Howard are idiots.

  16. I’ve been saying even since 2001 that the M’s are in the wrong hands at the top. CHowArmLinStrong just don’t have what it takes to run a world championship franchise. While they don’t have a ton of effect on any specific game, or on the actual win/loss totals (as much as the players do), they set the direction of the franchise. Sure, the M’s are a little better off than they were to begin 2004. They’re younger and have more of an opportunity to grow than the old guard of Edgar, Boone, ‘Rud, Moyer, etc. But they still have a long ways to go.

    I’m very, very concerned about the huge rotation holes, and how the M’s will fill them. So much hinges on the M’s getting a TOR starter and 2-3 other starters that are at least league average (nevermind above replacement-level). But the fact that they sucked and celler-dwelt at getting on base, and sucked in scoring runs also shows that they have some serious room for growth there, too. Sure the Y’ut’s will get better with a little age. They should develop a little more consistency (as consistent as free-swingin’ hackers can be, that is). While we could possibly rob Peter to pay Paul by trading Sexson to free up some room to spend on the rotation, I really believe that will do much more harm then good. We need to keep Sexson AND improve our offense. All while reparing the dam burst that has occured in the rotation.

    With another year of Hargrove at the helm, it’s still possible that the M’s will get back to .500, and could have a shot at being somewhat competitive. But the chances are so far stacked against the M’s, it’s not even funny.

    Felix has a lot to prove to me. So do Lopez and Beltre. I believe they all have some nice potential, and will likely all improve in 2007. Kenji will also be more comfortable and be a lot more productive, I would think, too. That gives me a little hope, but I’m just not confident that the M’s truly are anywhere close to being a contender.

    Dice-K would be a pleasant surprise. For me, he’s the biggest key to 2007. If we don’t get him — or if we do, and he turns out to be yet another nice-potentialed, but expensively unforeseen bust — it’s going to be a very long season. But that’s a lot of eggs being put in one basket.

    I’m not sure I trust Bavasi to push the M’s over the hump. I definitely don’t have any faith in Hargrove, Lincoln or Armstrong to do so. I like Bavasi the best out of that bunch, but even then, I don’t have total confidence in him.

    I just wish Ichiro would be able to convince the owners to rid themselves of Howard, and for Chuck to retire. We need an Executive FO that has the cojones to boldly drive this franchise into excellence. Those two aren’t the guys.

  17. Orlandu said

    Those two million dollars would be much better spent if they gave it to Hargrove to keep him home. As far as starting over is concerned, to me starting over means trading talented veterans for prospects.

    I just can’t underastand this move (or lack there of) at all.

  18. slica said

    It REALLY sucks to be a Mariner fan right now.

    Ive been saying it to myself since the Grover issue started coming up.

    Its either we get DM, and probably end up with more Hargrove…or dont get DM and losing a potential TOR pitcher to another team during his prime. But, Hargrove would likely be canned.

    This is total suckiness. Although arguably every franchise is pretty dirty deep down inside…I must say its really hard to pay attention to this team anymore. I try, but its hard. The Seahawks are much more respectful to their fans…

    I have a feeling its going to take something drastic to have a happy ending…and im talking Armstrong and Lincoln leaving. Other words—its a lose lose situation for us fans. DM, a guy we desperately need…or a manger. I guess it depends—do you want them to be perennial playoff threats soon…or would you rather have the World Series far down the line. We’re not winning one with Hargrove managing.

  19. Edman said

    Jason…..I couldn’t disagree more. You make it out to be the $2 million owed. That’s the easy road to take. It’s a lot simpler than analyzing the potential gains of a winning season, if a new manager presented that definite possibility. Which managerial candidate guarantees you twenty more wins, simply by his presence?

    $2 million in baseball terms, isn’t much at all. They could write him off, and move on. There is NOTHING to be gained by keeping him in that position, if they don’t feel enough progress is being made.

    And, personally, I’m a little sick of the “he doesn’t like young players” crap. Have you actually looked at the number of young players, from within the system, that are on the roster? EVERY manager loves veteran players, if they can get them. But, if dear sweet Lou was here, you can bet half those young kids we get all a-gaga about, would have been traded, or back in AAA.

    This year wasn’t exclusively dedicated to opening up roster spots for kids. They were trying to win, too. You can perhaps fault their choice in veterans that they brought in, but the intent was to try to win, while getting younger.

    I don’t know that a new manager would bring any greater hope for the M’s. There were certainly those who, when Lou was here, said the same thing of him. And, it’s always easier to feel “right” about your position, when it can’t be proved. Things could get worse, too. I can’t imagine Larry Bowa at the helm. So, it’s not like there’s an instant fix.

    Fact is…..they got better. And, have shown signs of converting losses to wins. You can argue that the M’s could have better…..but, you can’t PROVE it.

    I don’t really care that Hargrove is here. Baker was the great managerial loss when we signed Melvin. A new manager on a bad ballclub, is a bad manager…..or so it’s thought.

    If you want to believe it’s all about $2 million, fine, if it makes you feel better about your position. But, I guarantee you, if there was a manager out there that the M’s thought could turn around a team with a great deal of success….whereas Hargrove couldn’t……he’d be gone faster than you could say, “Here’s your plane ticket”. It is about the money…..and winning = more fans = greater revenue. Hargrove’s departure would be simple to justify, if winning got down to the simple denominator of one manager.

    BTW….isn’t it REALLY about how his players feel about him? Certainly, if the M’s retained him, and the players didn’t believe he was a good manager, THAT would be the greatest reason to fire him……not money.

  20. JH said

    “Fact is…..they got better. And, have shown signs of converting losses to wins. You can argue that the M’s could have better…..but, you can’t PROVE it.”

    Mike Hargrove, quoted after a loss in mid-August.

    “I felt like if Mateo came in and threw the way he can that we’d have a chance of getting a ground ball,” Hargrove said. “It just didn’t work.”

    Julio Mateo, just about the most flyball-prone pitcher in baseball, and Hargrove brought him in specifically because he thought Mateo could get a ground ball. Hargrove knows less about his players’ skill sets than any random person who can look up G/F ratio on espn.com.

    That’s proof enough for me that his in-game strategy is laughable and costs the Ms’ at least a handful of games a season. The question isn’t finding a manager who’s “worth” 20 wins – I’m pretty sure those don’t exist. It’s finding one who doesn’t actively hurt his team’s chances day in, day out.

  21. Salty Dog said

    I’m not thrilled at the prospect of another year of Hargrove, but that aside, I think the peripheral news is encouraging, specifically Ichiro in CF and Snelling in RF.

    There were a few major problems in 2006:

    1. Lack of production in CF
    2. Lack of production from the DH spot
    3. Pineiro

    If we can solve those, we’re a much better team, regardless of who’s managing.

    Moving Ichiro to CF solves #1.

    #2 and #3 are going to require Hargrove to get over his “show half a year of patience with veterans” thing, in addition to quality player selection by both Hargrove and Bavasi. If Hargrove truly has learned that too much patience can be a bad thing (as he opined in some end of the season type interviews), hopefully he’ll be prepared to pull the ripcord more quickly on underperforming veterans.

    There’s no telling how 2007 will go, but it’s way too early to write it off. Impovements to the rotation (either external or internal ) and possibly a corner OF bat could make this team a winner, whether or not Grover is around.

  22. slim said

    We need now to work on “Hargrove-proofing” his team. Primarily this means building a lineup and bench that he can’t abuse. Specifically in regads to one Willie Bloomquist.

    Ichiro’s move to CF is his way of helping his team deal with the Hargrove dilemna. Ichiro realizes that as long as there is not a Seasoned Veteran in CF, Hargrove will continue to find Bloomquist starts there. Now its up to Bavasi to make sure that Bloomquist is eliminated from the equation in LF and RF. This means that Snelling will have to be replaced, or else a strong platoon option will be required. Not because Snelling can’t produce playing every day, but simply because Hargrove will see no reason why Bloomquist shouldn’t be platooning with him.

    Moving Ibanez to DH will also help limit Bloomquist’s starting appearances on the corners. Hargrove will feel a duty to give the veteran Ibanez playing time in the field meaning Bloomquist would not be the regular fill-in at the corners and someone more DH-like would take on the 4th OF role.

    Howard Lincoln’s comments today are summed up nicely in one disturbing quote:

    “I don’t want to leave any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Lincoln said. “Mike Hargrove and Bill Bavasi are on my hot seat, and I expect that they are going to work even harder than they’re already working to produce the results the fans and, I think, the ownership group expects.”

    He THINKS that’s what ownership expects?!?!?

    The Mariners’ top management is a mess folks.

  23. Oly Chris said

    At the outset, let me convey that words can’t adequately describe my disappointment over learning that Dudley has “won” and will return. It’s stunningly insulting.

    After a couple days of internalizing the events, two things stand out:

    The dis-information campaign – “Hargrove is good with young players, that’s why we hired him”.
    The idea that Dudley has ever been good with young players is absurd as Jason points out above. No discerning observer could reach that conclusion based on the facts available from Seattle, Baltimore, or Cleveland. Further, the revisionist history to reinforce the talking point is laughable. Hargrove was hired because the experiment with Melvin (a relative unknown) was judged a failure. The committee was not about to replace one unknown with another.
    Hargrove was viewed as a safe way to remove the taste of Melvin from the mouths of the ticket buyers since he had a recognizable name.

    It can’t be ignored that the talking points are being picked up already. Lincoln repeated the text of the letter to Season Ticket Holders, almost verbatim, to Brad Adam of FSN in a one-on-one interview. Then we have the indignity of FSN asking Hargrove on the pre-game why he thinks he has been “so good with young players”. Does this remind anyone of a “Green Acres” bit?
    This (so far, effective) dis-information campaign indicates either a recognition that the FO has a weak argument from which it desires to be innoculated, or a very low opinion of the audience who will receive it. Neither of those things are good.

    The second point that is interesting is that Lincoln has pretty effectively consolodated his problems. He has essentially tied Bavasi and Hargrove together at the hip. They sink or swim together. This action removes the possibility that the FO would have to endure a disruptive Field Mgr. search this off-season followed by a GM search next off-season. Searches of this nature are interesting for us, we can speculate and postulate to our heart’s content. It helps pass the time during the off-season. For the FO, it is not a pleasant experience to have to go in front of the ownership group repeatedly giving status reports and having to answer many difficult questions justifying their recommendations, or lack of progress.

    No more worrying if Bavasi and Hargrove play nice with each other, he’s made it clear that their fates are inexorably intertwined. No more worrying if a new Field Mgr. would be acceptable to the GM who would follow Bavasi, they are now a package deal.

    No more worrying over how to apportion blame for next years result, offending one camp or the other in the process. Lincoln now has ONE sacrificial lamb and he has given them their success criteria ahead of time. There will be no court of appeals when the axe is released to fall. Pretty skillful, wouldn’t you say?

  24. Bretticus said

    Hm. Well, if we don’t play over .500, they’re gone next year anyway. What bothers me, though, is that we’ll probably give Grover an exstension if we win 85+, and the team will have the talent to do that…

    Who are you looking towards as potential replacements Jason? I’d say something like a DePodesta/Bochy team would be good. If SD misses the playoffs, then there’s good chance Bochy gets fired…if he’s still available in ’07, that’s the issue.

  25. StandinPat said

    In one series at Toronto, hargrove made two of the most idiotic moves, or non-moves if you will that I have ever seen. First, just days after we trade for a lefty mashing Eduardo Perez, literally the perfect situation arrises to use him. Toronto brings in a lefty to face Everett who is hitting like .109 against lefties, and instead of bringing in Perez, who was hitting well over .300 against lefties at that point he left Everett in. To add to the idiocy, Torontos closer, the man Perez most likely would have faced in his next at bat is also lefthanded, that would have been like two pinch hits for one. And even if Harrove thought there was a chance Toronto would have gone to a righty in he brought in Perez, he was still hitting righties at least as well as Everett hits lefties.

    In that same series Hargrove got JJ Putz up five times in the bullpen one game without using him. And well, we lost ofcourse, but the kicker? We couldnt use Putz in the next game either because of his “use” the night before. Thats right, with Hargrove’s managerial skills he somehow found a way to rendering his best pitcher useless for two consecutive games without him ever throwing a pitch to a batter.

    Fact is Hargrove is an idiot, he cant even do the robotic manager everything by the book moves. Everyone wants to talk about how no one expected the M’s to have this good a year, so Hargrove must have done something right. Either that or Ibanez, Meche, Putz Soriano, Johjima, Betancourt, Lopez, and Beltre all had far and away their best years ever in Mariner blue. Plus Snelling was actually healthy and contributed for a while as did Mark Lowe. So Hargrove was the key all along to Snelling finishing the year healthy and Mark Lowe make a huge step in his development? Wierd. Nevermind the win loss record, just watch a freakin game and you see hargorve make bone head moves one after another. He doesnt even know how to fill out a lineup card! Anyone notice how we always seem to give 3 starters a day off on the same day? To me the the win/loss record is indicative of how this team has won despite Hargrove, not because of him. Does anyone honestly think that with almost anyone else the Mariners wouldnt have won close to 80 games? I think with almost anyone else they could have come close to 90.

    Next year will be painful, either Hargrove will manage this team out of the playoffs, or the players will rise above his idiocy and put together a solid season and the re-sign Mike Hargrove chants will ensue. Honestly, I almost want to route agaisnt the M’s next year. Hail to they Mike hargrove!

  26. JH said

    “Snelling finishing the year healthy”

    Year ain’t over yet. Knock on about 1000 different pieces of wood.

  27. cujo said

    2 Million ?? Well thats about what everett made when they released him correct?Spiesio was 4 million i think?Melvin they paid 550 k to manage the dbacks.I truly just think that howie doesnt want to admit hiring hargrove and bavasi were both mistakes.We are all killing Hargrove what about the long faced man?What good has he done?Jojhima isnt his the owner got him Bettencourt was in the works when he took over so he has lowe to show for these 3 years work.Oops i forgot sexson soso beltre below avg and numuerus others who didnt pan out.Oops i also forgot they paid Pokey Reeese 1.6 MILLION NEVER TO PLAY A GAME.

  28. Bavasi has made numerous mistakes, as he tried to band-aid the terrible roster that was here when he got here.

    Spiezio, Aurilia, Reese… wastes of cash. Washburn is the only terrible move if you semi-excuse Bavasi for the pre-04 and pre-05 moves that were due to the suits wanting to sell fans on a “we can win now” campaign.

    But Bavasi has to take some of the blame for those, too, and the Wash deal is awful.

    Having said that, it’s clear that Bavasi has an idea about roster construction, since he’s stayed away from the short-term vet fix at second, center, catcher and shortstop, in order to start building from within – a critical area for teams in a rebuild.

    Hargrove is terrible… Bavasi has been mediocre.

    Bavasi deserved one more chance, Grover did not.

    Re: Cujo

    You have got to be kidding me. You can’t debit Bavasi for Sexson and Beltre and not credit him for Johjima. You think Bavasi wanted Beltre and Sexson for that kind of money? The suits pushed for two stars and when Delgado, the better option, wouldn’t take their offer, Lincoln and Chuck mandated that SOMEONE be signed, and Sexson took the offer.

    If Johjima was the owner’s get, the suits deserve half the debit, if not more, for Beltre and Sexson.

    By the way, Sexson was not a bad deal. He’s been good for two years, and don’t look now, but Beltre has had a better year than Hank Blalock, even while playing half his games at the Safe.

    Were they ideal signings? Gosh, no. Beltre will never hit enough to warrant 13 mil per and Sexson is a slugger, not a hitter. But the organization needed to spend, and that didn’t come directly from Bavasi.

    This ballpark is a killer. I spoke to one M’s reliever who told me about something an opposing team’s hitters were telling him and it was all about hating to come to Safeco and how they can’t believe the franchise wouldn’t change the dimensions in order to help them put together a roster.

    When you need power but your ballpark kills RH power and until late this year your right fielder was a .420 slugging speedster, you are left with very few options offensively — lefty power… good luck finding that, and guys that can play center and left field.

    Name ONE lefthanded power-hitting center fielder that is even remotely available… and how many lefty power bats are there to begin with?

    No matter who the GM is, the offense needs specifically talented players, and it’s not easy to do when you have to eliminate 70% of the league, because they bat right handed.

    Either that or take the hit when you add that righty power: see Beltre, Sexson.

    Bavasi has one year to contend for the division title… no matter the manager on the field, he has had three years to rebuild. One more is plenty.

  29. cujo said

    They say the ballpark is a killer ?Why because it is a fair park and not one only built for hitters?Alot of fans love 2-1 games believe it are not.Itchiro was not a gillick sign he was the owners sign just like sasaki so no joh for the fromt office.Blaylock makes 4 million not 13 million a large diffrence and i agree beltre is a much better player then hank.They could have waited on delgado and got a clubhouse leader.Sexson has been a decent addition he hits 30 drives in a 100 and strikesout a 150 you can book it and thats good but not if you want to win the series and also his defense isnt that great if you watch him play the position and not read the stats you no what im talking about with him.OK bavasi gets one more year i can live with it but can he quit lying and saying there where no players on the farm when he got here because if you look at the roster and prospects he has squandered in trades you will see diffrent.

  30. Cujo — If you are a franchise with a ballpark that truly and factually saps the numbers put up by right-handed power hitters, how easy is it going to be to put together a roster that favors the types of players that are already harder than any others to get? (lefty power bats).

    The ballpark limits what the Mariners can do, and forces them to overpay to get power hitters.

    Those are facts, not opinions. Numbers don’t lie. Not in this game.

  31. J2D2 said

    Safeco needs the left field wall moved in, no doubt about it. They’ve handicapped themselves in the FA market, when they were already in most FA’s doghouse to begin with on account of their location. They should be making the park *more* attractive to righty power hitters, not less.

    That, OR do what you said you originally intended when you built the park: develop the best pitching staff in the league. If you reallly think that a pitchers park is where it’s at, then a sub-par rotation won’t cut it, and hasn’t cut it since we moved into the park. 2001 (see playoffs) included. If Washburn is anything above a #4 starter next year, then we won’t be a top calibre team no matter what Oakland and Anaheim do.

  32. AK1984 said

    The Seattle Mariners will probably field a roster next season that is similar to the one this season.

    Starting Pitcher:
    Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez
    Starting Pitcher: Jarrod Washburn
    Starting Pitcher:
    Starting Pitcher: Cha-Seung Baek
    Lefty Specialist: George Sherrill
    Long Reliever: Julio Mateo
    Long Reliever: Jake Woods
    Middle Reliever: Mark Lowe
    Middle Reliever: Eric O’Flaherty
    Setup Man: Rafael Soriano
    Closer: J.J. Putz
    Center Fielder: Ichiro Suzuki
    Right Fielder: Chris Snelling
    Third Baseman: Adrian Beltre
    Left Fielder: Raul Ibanez
    First Baseman: Richie Sexson
    Designated Hitter: Ben Broussard
    Catcher: Kenji Johjima
    Second Baseman: Jose Lopez
    Shortstop: Yuniesky Betancourt
    Catcher: Rene Rivera
    Infielder: Willie Bloomquist
    Outfielder: Jeremy Reed
    Designated Hitter: Eduardo Perez

    What improvements, however, could be made to the above roster?

    Other than signing a backup catcher and reserve outfielder via free agency to replace Rivera and Reed, respectively, there’s seemingly no room for any sort of change to either the lineup or the bench.

    With regards to the pitching staff, though, it seems likely that either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Jason Schmidt will be signed to give the M’s a frontline starting pitcher; in addition, Washington native Adam Eaton — regardless of his history of injuries and lack of productivity — will most likely fill the M’s need of a back of the rotation start and want of a local guy to do it.

    In the end, ultimately, the 2007 M’s appear destined to finish 81-81.

  33. Willmore said

    2 million, 5 million, 10 million, who cares ? The value of the ballclub rises by tens of millions every year. The fans have paid for the stadium which is filling the money sacks of the ownership, is there no end to greed ? Should they not strive for winning and not financial satiability.

    Nintendo of America is releasing the Nintendo Wii in mid-November. It is expected to be a very serious competitor to the Sony Playstation. 4 million copies are likely to be sold before the end of the year, at a price of 250$ a copy, not counting games and accessories. That’s a billion dollars in sales. And we’re talking about 2 million dollars paid to manager ? Fire him, pay Dan Rohn whatever the least-paid manager in the league is earning. Hell, I have a solution. Don’t have a manager at all. Total value: 0$. Instead, get a computer technician, pay him 200$ to install a computer in the dugout, and use some baseball software to manager all the games. The bench coach can be the defacto manager in the Rah-Rah clubhouse speeches.

    Who cares about money when the manager is losing you 5-10 games a year. That’s probably the worst managerial influence on a team’s record in history. The worst managers in baseball can’t be bad enough to lose a team 10 games, but I would bet that Hargrove did it this year.

    Why can’t Paul Allen buy the team ? Even in Portland, where things stink, he was never shy about spending money to bring the right people. The right people ended up being the wrong people, but that’s a question of evaluation, not desire or effort. Howard Lincoln is simply a stubborn old fool who refuses to give a baseball man the decision-making powers that handcuff him to stupid decisions.

    The way Bavasi has been treated here, I would not be shocked if he quit.

    This year, I went to maybe 10-12 games all year, primarily because I don’t often find time to get out to the games. Next year, even with Felix, Snelling, Betancourt and the rest of the exciting young team, I doubt I will go to more than 3-4 games. If I were a stronger man, I would boycot the team entirely, but even the stupidity of the suits can not prevent me from seeing at least a few games in person.

  34. Excuse me? There’s no ROOM to add improvements?
    How about getting a legit bat to play left, move Raul to DH and use Snelling right instead of leaning on Broussard/Perez for 6 mil.
    Just because there is a warm body in a spot doesn’t mean he can’t be replaced.
    And there are so many options, versus NONE, as claimed above, that none of us are even thinking about.

    Such as a trade involving Rafael Soriano, who has a ton of value to a team needing a closer, or how about using Raffy in the rotation like he would like, and getting one of those starters for 2 or 3 mil instead of 10?

    There’s room, AK, and a lot of options.

  35. david flock said

    i said it before i will say it again you want lefty hitting power you want attendance increase you want BARRY LAMARR BONDS!!!!!

  36. warner28 said

    I may be the only one but I do not think the team should change Safeco and think that if they constructed the roster with Safeco in mind it would be a tremendous advantage.

    Granted it saps numbers from right handed power hitters but the advantages outwiegh that disadvantage.

    Put the focus on top flight pitching and pay a premium for left handed power, less lefties may be outthere but it is not like Seattle has not had the opportunity to get guys.

    Delgado was available
    Thome last offseason

    And the guy they should have went for instead of Beltre and Sexson

    Carlos Beltran

    Not saying they automatically get any of the 3 but the only one they even considered was Delgado but when he did not sign immediately they went out and got Sexson instead. Choosing to be safe and garuantee a player instead of taking a risk and trying to get the guy that fit better.

    This team has had opportunities to go after left handed power and has chosen another direction.

    Don’t change the stadium, change the roster construction.

  37. Willmore said

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, if Bonds is in the lineup, I’m not at the ballpark.

  38. Warner,

    It’s extremely difficult to find those types of bats… it’s nearly impossible in the current market — who is trading away lefty power bats with high OBP? There sure aren’t any on the open market.

    The fences should be adjusted, there is no doubt about that. The club is making it tougher on themselves to get hitters… make it neutral, rather than pitcher friendly.

  39. warner28 said


    Not saying it is easy I just believe that a pitchers park is more condusive to winning.

    We have one lefty power bat developing in Clement and a second possibility in Lahair (although I am doubtful of him) and a smarter team would have gone hard after the guys as mentioned in my post IMO.

    You can also win in Safeco without a ton of left handed power, the Mariners did it from 2000-2003.

    Where were the people screaming to move the fences in than?

    I remember most people telling the guys that were complaining to shut up and play.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the argument for moving the fences in, I just do not see it as necassary.

  40. warner28 said

    In my opinion the real problem is not a power outage but a lack of On Base skills in our hitters.

    Get guys who take walks and the whole argument will go away.

  41. Jerry said

    “It’s extremely difficult to find those types of bats… it’s nearly impossible in the current market — who is trading away lefty power bats with high OBP? There sure aren’t any on the open market.”

    I agree with the argument that there aren’t any premium, elite hitters that fit that description. At least, not guys like Abreu, Hafner, Teixeira, Beltran, Delgado, Giambi, Berkman, Ortiz, Thome, or Morneau.

    But there are a few guys who could be real good fits. Barry Bonds and David Dellucci are both free agents, and Jim Edmonds is likely to be available. Those three fit that description.

    The sleepers include Aubrey Huff and Geoff Jenkins, both of whom were absolutely brutal early on but finished strong to finish the season. Both would be good fits in Seattle, although they are not the big impact bats that we are looking for.

    I like Edmonds. He would be ideal. Bonds is Plan B (regardless of whether Willmore would boycott).

    Dellucci would be a great addition as well. His splits suggest he would do great in Seattle, and his lack of playing time this year could keep the price reasonable. The downside is that the Phillies are going to try hard to resign him.

    Jenkins is also a real interesting option. The Brewers want to ditch him and his salary badly. The M’s would be buying very low on him. He has lefty power, plays excellent OF defense, and can get one base. He is highly streaky and K’s a lot, and is basically a lefty version of Sexson. But he has good intangibles and is a local guy, so he would probably enjoy playing here. If the Brewers eat some of his money and/or accept a bad contract from the M’s, he would be an interesting guy. If nothing else, he would a great guy to have as a backup for Snelling.

    Really, I would take any of those four over Broussard.

  42. AK1984 said

    Re. #34

    Well, Jason, I wholeheartedly agree with you that the Seattle Mariners’ front office have both the creative capability and financial wherewithal to improve the team.

    As it was, though, my previous post contained a hypothetical situation wherein the M’s were relatively stagnant during the upcoming off-season.

  43. HoboChuck said

    Huber should be in the pen… he was great the last month of the year… Mateo shouldnt..

    I would also echo Jason’s sentiments regarding Broussard and Perez… get rid of them…

    Opens up money, and an outfield or DH position..

  44. gwangung said

    I think folks should get a real dose of reality.

    It’s easy to get a hold of what SAFECO maximizes–lefty bats with pop and OBP skills? Limit yourself to getting what is ALREADY rare in the market? Um, did you guys take any economics classes or what?

  45. Ben said

    Jason….I normally respect everything you write down on this website. Usually, you’re objective…and very fair. But this time around, I think you’ve destroyed your credibility a little here. “The M’s retained Hargrove because they are stupid” is an insanely ridiculous statement….it makes you sound….well, very “bandwagon”.

    The essence of a bandwagon fan is a lack of patience…..and here you are complaining about three years?…then you go on some conspiracy tirade saying the M’s just are interested in making money. Need you be reminded that in 1992 the majority share of the team was bought as a “gift” to Seattle and its surrounding areas? Yamauchi was heavily criticized in Japan when he did this….with leaders in the Japanese gov’t speaking out against acquiring “American Investments”…(You can look this all up in Business Week). Mr. Yamauchi and the rest of the M’s ownership are, at their core, fans….and I think they’ve proven over the last 14 years (not just the last three) that they want to win.

    Then, there’s this whole issue about the M’s not wanting to lose $2 Million?? I don’t buy that for a minute….We’ve DFA’d guys for more than that. Add to the fact that any GM with common sense would be fighting tooth and nail to have a Manager they trust to run the team when ownership has made it clear that this next year is the “telling year”.

    You should know, better than anyone else, what kind of state Gillick left the farm system in 2002. You should know, better than anyone else, how long it takes to develop home-grown talent. And, you should know, better than anyone else, what kind of monumental task it is for Bavasi to rebuild the minor league system….it all takes time.

    ….Now, that being said, you can count me as one of the people that thought Hargrove wasn’t the best leader for our team…..However, like you, I don’t have all the information. I believe there is a very good reason that both Hargrove and Bavasi were retained. Although you have a lot of information about the organization and its players…..I’m 100% sure you have NO IDEA how to run a Major League baseball franchise.

    Suggesting that ownership is only interested in making/saving money…and questioning ownership’s desire to win the World Series is ludicrous. You’re not in those board rooms for the meetings. When you write stuff like this you become no better than Steve Kelley of the Seattle times (the ultimate bandwagon reporter).

    Dude….stick to what you do best….evaluating the talent on the field.

  46. Jon said

    #45 – it’s hardly a bandwagon jump if he’s been complaining about specific idiocies that Hargrove has perpetrated all year, is it? The reason so many people want him fired might just be because he’s a fool who appears to have no idea how to manage a baseball team, rather than because there is some nebulous ‘fire Hargrove’ bandwagon about.

  47. cujo said

    Ben i will defend jason on this one.How gillick left the farm department?Putz,Sherrill,Soriano,Rivera,Jones,Snelling,Bohn,Feierabend,Choo,A Cabrera,Navvaro,Baek,Dobbs,King Felix,Nottingham,Balentine,Thorton,Livingston .Yes i know these guys arent all top guys but they have all played in ML are been used to acquire a ML talent.So quit buying into the crap that spews out of Bavasi mouth this farm department had plenty of players compared to most around baseball.Bill is just putting another spin doctor move on it to sound like he inherited no farm and that is a lie just look at the names i gave you and im sure i miseed a few along the way.

  48. Edman said

    Ben, I’m with you on this one.

    You said pretty much everything I was thinking. I have a hard time with the idea that, out of pure stubborness, Lincoln and Armstrong, refuse to undo their fists and let go of $2 million, even if it means losing another 50K fans. I just don’t buy it.

    And, I’m REALLY sick of the crap about Hargrove not developing the kids. What a crock of crap. How many kids did Piniella develop? Haven’t Betancourt, Lopez, Putz, Sherrill, Lowe, Green, Huber, Reed, etc. all been given opportunity?

    He’s given Reed almost 2 years of opportunity. Just how patient do you think other managers would be?

    Where did all of this stem? Mostly, the signing of Carl Everett. Because Hargrove didn’t dump him after a month, so that webfan favorite Chris Snelling could be called up from Tacoma, suddenly, Hargrove favors veterans? Actually, I think Hargrove favors contributors, no matter where they come from.

    Oh, and BTW, for all the Everett bashing….what has Snelling done that’s any better? Is he driving in runs? Is he making a difference? Everett did have at least three big hits, late in games, to win them……what has Snelling done?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having Snelling on the team. But, this crap about the M’s losing, because he was here, is baloney. Brussard and Perez, may have helped, but surely not Snelling….though, I believe he will, maybe as soon as next year.

  49. Edman said

    Cujo, unlike you, who buys the crap that the so called punduits on the internet think?

    Same mind bending, different perspective.

  50. Grant said

    I’d like to bitch-slap Hargrove’s stammering-ass just for being such a dumbass. The organization is frustrating me just as much as it ever has.

  51. Ben said

    ….and for the record…..all you guys rooting for the M’s to start out badly in 2007 just to get Hargrove fired….you guys make me sick!! How can you call yourself fans!! You should all be ashamed of yourself.

  52. eponymous coward said

    Jason, I draw my conclusions on Bavasi not knifing Hargrove in the back to senior management because of his career in Anaheim. He sent Rodgers packing (not his hire), gave Marcel Lachemann LOTS of rope (and Lachemann eventually quit. Bavasi went through some interim managers before hiring Terry Collins, who he gave a contract extension to DURING a player/manager feud in the newspapers. Collins went on to quit.

    Basically- he’s never fired one of his own managers, despite being in the league 10 years as a GM. Oh, and he has a rep of being fantastically loyal to his employees (which is why he got canned in Anaheim).

    Also consider that let’s say Bavasi sent Hargrove packing- and then in 2007 the M’s flop and Bavasi’s next on the chopping block. Whoever’s the holdover’s gone, anyway, once the new GM shows up. There is a logic to letting Bavasi stand or fall next to the guy HE helped pick as his manager (I don’t think you can’t seriously argue that Hargrove was hired without Bavasi’s input, even if you ascribe some of it to Lincoln and Armstrong).

    As for the fans being cattle: well, be that as it may, even if you’re a bean-counter, you have a lot more beans when your attendance is 3.54 million than 2.48 million- and the team attendance is sliding year to year (whereas MLB attendance overall is increasing). All the spin in the world emanating from the Lincoln-Armstrong regime isn’t going to obscure “last place” and “below .500”, and either they get a contender in 2007 or they or going to be confronted with some ugly realities- like being in the bottom half of the AL for attendance (Toronto and Minnesota aren’t that far behind them, and the Twins and the A’s, if they go far in the playoffs could see some bigtime attendance booms).

  53. StandinPat said

    Here’s a little tid bit guys. When and are making conjecture such as Hargrove does or doesnt like using young players, its important to actually look at the situation and then, and here’s the tricky part, think about it. Putz, Soriano, Betancourt, while young are all proven something at the major league level, and Lopez flat out won the 2nd base job in spring training. There werent any other options on the team for those positions, so how the hell does that put any credit on Hargrove for using those guys? Lets look at what that statement was actually aimed at. Look at Choo, and Jones. Choo got called up to rot two straight years now under Hargrove even after showing great success in the minors. Jones, also lost valuable time wasting away on the bench, in lieu of Willie F’in Bloomquist, how does that make sense?

  54. Edman said

    Soooooooooooo, StandingPat…….managers aren’t responsible for player use, the GM is, because he puts the roster together? Yeah, right.

    Hmmmm, seems to me, Hargrove could have, if he truly loved veterans, given second to Vina. It’s Lopez’ job to EARN a spot on the roster, not Hargroves for making him one.

    All these guys you’re crying over, had one thing in common….they NEVER showed, stint length or not, that they were ready to take over a position. Again, it’s up to the rookies to EARN a spot, not Hargroves to let his team sink lower, just so kids can get experience.

  55. cujo said

    No reply about the farm players ben?

  56. gwangung said

    All these guys you’re crying over, had one thing in common….they NEVER showed, stint length or not, that they were ready to take over a position. Again, it’s up to the rookies to EARN a spot, not Hargroves to let his team sink lower, just so kids can get experience.

    I’d take this more seriously if a) players like Choo got more than 11 at bats a year, and b) there was cognizance that short term thinking can hamper long term gains.

  57. I disagree that Gillickleft the farm system in good standing, buit it certainly wasn’t bare. Look at the 2003 draft now…
    Adam Jones, Ryan Feierabend, Eric O’Flaherty… not bad at all and all three might be 25-man roster members next year.

    I even made the mistake of ripping the drafts of Pat/Roger/Frank, without pointing out that 03 was pretty decent.

  58. cujo said

    If im not mistaken Gillick brought Bob Engle to the mariners.It sure seems like he has brought a bunch of good players out of latin america.Maybe old stand pat wasnt so bad .What year was Bohn drafted.Also i did forget Jiminez and fruto earlier man i bet that stacks up magainst alot of clubs in baseball with guys signed reaching the ML.

  59. Bohn is not a legit big leaguer, so let’s not use him as an example, but anyone here who thinks Gillick wasn’t good at his job is blind.

    But he did leave the M’s without a chance in hell to win, but that was far from his fault. Blame Chuck and Howie and there “we can’t ever get rid of our guys, even when they can’t play anymore” approach to baseball in Seattle.

    The day Bavasi’s club wins a playoff game is the FIRST time he has something in common with Gillick, other than being a human being and holding a GM spot.

  60. cujo said

    I agree with that statement the first one proably will never come.I no Bohn isnt a legit ML player but he has played there and might end up being someones 5th outfielder someday.So he does count for something being he was a 30th rounder.That scout deserves a BEER !Also until they learn to cut ties with the local heroes routine and run it like a baseball club there will allways be someone hanging on 2-3 years to long.Playoffs tommorow i got the yanks and padres in the series how about you.?

  61. I think LAD or SD has a great shot, which is sad. Neither team could beat Texas in a five-game series.

    I’ll take a repeat of the 81 series.

  62. StandinPat said

    Edman are you kidding me? Lopez out played Vina, when Vina played which was almsot none. Vina didnt even make the team so Hargrove’s only other choice would have been Bloomquist, but I guess you would have had to pay attention to notice that.

    I never cried over Choo or jones, just merely used them to prove that Hargrove wont let a young player develop. Its pretty simple really. Any young player that Hargrove wasnt forced into using, or that didnt immediately start producing at an above avg major league level he basically wrote off. Its not really that hard to realize, well for some people maybe.

    Hey and where in his two years of letting Reed “develop” did he give him a consitent chance to hit against lefties, or anyone for that matter? After Reed changed his stance and started to show some power, Hargrove started messing with his starts even more! How does any young player, especially one trying to find consistency, find said consitentcy when he is in and out of the line up more than Kid Rock in Pam Anderson? Oh but we dont want to look at that do we? Lets use the example of a 2nd baseman with no real backup who had an all star first half out of the gate as our example. Well if all our young players had All star seasons in their first full season, than yeah Hargorve probably would play them all the time, and we prob would have made the playoffs, unfortunately thats not reality.

    Lastly you still havent defended the fact that these other “young” players you mentioned A had no backups, and B all had prior major league success…..WTF?

  63. StandinPat said

    Oh and “For all the Everett bashing, what has Snelling done thats any better?”

    How about having a .787 vs a .657 OPS all why being able to play a defensive position, being young with alot of upside and costing almsot 3 mil less? Any of those work for you?

    How about the fact that he wasnt Carl Everett!!!!!

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