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The Seattle Mariners – A Colossal Mess

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on December 20, 2006

I sat in the dark for five nights, until last evening came and the power gods let there be light. I sat there, trying to entertain myself as I waited for some incompetent fools (PSE) to restore power to my area of Federal Way, Washington.

While I sat there, reading and jotting down notes by candle light, I couldn’t help but put great thought toward the Seattle Mariners and their disasterous offseason plight. I thought long and hard about the hows and whys and what-the-hell-fors, and did that until I was too exhausted to stay awake any longer.

But I did crawl into a strong slumber with what I believed to be several solid ponderances and analyses about our hometown nine and their future.

But first things first, and believe me when I tell you, the following is all tied together with the former.

Puget Sound Energy is a terrible corporation. I didn’t know this until the chips were down and it was time for them to make a tough decision that would affect thousands of people and their daily lives. One decision, two choices.

They blew it. According to one of their own employees that I ran into on Wednesday afternoon, they were offered a solution to their problem, which was getting power to those areas that were still dark after three straight nights of no heat, no light and no hot water.

The offer was a trio of mobile transformers, which would have been sent down from the Bellingham or Vancouver BC area, and would have restored power to as many as 100,000 residents of Sumner, Bonney Lake, Federal Way, and even parts of Tacoma.

PSE’s big wigs decided against ordering the transformers , which would have taken less than four hours to arrive in the respective areas in which they were necessary. Instead, the idiocy of the greedy chose to continue to try and fix their problem on their own, even though by their own admission it was going to take them as many as five or six MORE days to get power up and running in certain neighborhoods.

Why, you ask?

Because in the end, it saves them money. To rent the mobiles for the five or six day period would have cost them more money then it would take for them to pay all of their crews to just fix or replace their own issues.

So, in the meantime, myself and many, many others went without power for nearly three more full nights, and some have yet to get their power back.

A horrible decision by PSE. The absolute worst. I know of people that are still without power and all PSE tells them is “well, we’re working on it,” or worse yet, “what would you like us to do, snap our fingers?”

Yeah, one of their customers, who owns two homes in Puyallup and rents out a dozen more across Pierce County, was actually treated like that.

Puget Sound Energy should be ashamed of themselves for putting themselves so far ahead of their customers that the Tacoma News Tribune estimates between 15,000-20,000 residents of Pierce and South King Counties have had to relocate to Hotels, Motels, and the homes of friends or relatives… completely uprooting their lives for what is now a full week.

And all because they wanted to save what the Trib believes is about $12000-14,000, times however many mobiles they wanted.

Sound familiar?

The Seattle Mariners, or, “the friggin’ Mariners”, as they have now been labeled by just about everyone I come into contact with that speaks of baseball these days, are simply a bad organization. They’re just bad.

They aren’t even good at maximizing their financial position, even though we all know that the cash is what’s most important to the ownership group as a whole. The Mariners had it all, lost it all, and have no idea how to repeat their glorious run to riches, wins and the proverbial cash-cow status that was Safeco Field.

The M’s were sitting on a gold mine here in Seattle. Just six years ago this town was still buzzing from the ’95 club, the playoff appearance in ’97 and the excitement of opening up a new stadium just before the turn of the century.

In 2000, the club crammed a chrome molybdenum alloy steel shovel into that gold mine and retrieved a heaping serving of the jewels beneath. Griffey was gone, The Big Unit was gone, but the Ws were piling up at a competitive pace, thanks to the stars that remained, such as Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and skipper Lou Piniella.

The following year was more of the same, but in 2002, they got a little greedy. Instead of thinking like a baseball team, the suits chose to do whatever it took to keep 3 million asses glued to the seats at the Safe. When they should have been starting to retool (not rebuild), they went in the other direction, hanging on to veterans for longer than they were capable of producing and handing out contracts to aging talents that were clearly past their primes.

There was no eye toward 2006 or 2007. None at all. It was about how much money they could make right this freakin’ second. Today. Tomorrow. THIS homestand, THIS month, THIS season.

Because Howard Lincoln and whoever else makes those decisions for the Mariners, fans of the current team are saddened, frustrated, angered and downright pissed off about three straight years in the cellar and no light at the end of that long, long tunnel of losses and disappointments.

They made a choice, and like PSE’s customers, the fans have to lie in the cold and dark until the incomptent fools that run the show figure something out – if they ever do.

I’m not talking about Bill Bavasi and the scouting department right now. That’s another story for another day. Sure, he’s made some decisions this winter that prove he has no business as a GM in this game. None. But this is about those above him. Those that mandate the financial motivations and direction of the organization. They don’t deserve to own/run a baseball team anymore. And until they are relieved of their duties, it doesn’t really matter much who is making the personnel decisions, because the GMs’ hands will be puppeteered by his bosses motives.

In Seattle, it’s not about baseball. It’s about Lincoln proving to his bosses that he can make them money. It’s about the owners making sure they don’t take any hits to their profits. No, they aren’t worried a single bit about losing money in any given year. They simply strive to no end to make sure they don’t make less money than they deem reasonable. And they ALL hide behind Lincoln like a group of cowards.

[ I have been told, however, that one of the larger shareholders, Chris Larson, is a pretty smart guy and may have had his differences with the way business is being conducted in regard to baseball matters. There is also a chance that Larson may have the right of first refusal should the current group, mostly Mr. Yamauchi, decide to sell. My source, who knows Larson well enough, says that Larson would probably be the type of owner who stayed out of the media, but relied on the best baseball people possible. It truly sounds like Larson might be the type of majority owner the Mariners need. A HUGE baseball fan who understands the game enough to know better than to seek treasures outside of winning games first, maximizing profits second.]

Bavasi should have been told to do what he truly believed was best for the club in 2007 – and beyond – not just what will win them the most games next year, unless it also makes sense financially for ’08, ’09, and so on.

We can go on all day about the idiotic trade of Rafael Soriano to Atlanta for Horacio Ramirez. But it’s tough to quantify the trade value of any player, even though the popular opinion of those in and out of the game contend strongly that Soriano had a lot more value than that.

It’s hard to complain about the addition of Jose Guillen, as well. He’s not guaranteed more than one year, has to play well to get more than the $5 million and his buyout for 2008 is just $500,000.

And then came the two dumbest moves in succession I can remember by any team. Three years and $24 million for Miguel Batista, 36, and the trade of promising reliever Emiliano Fruto and a cheaper, younger, better hitter to Washington for Jose Vidro.

If the Mariners would have stopped at the Guillen signing, every analyst on the planet would be applauding the club for their wise, responsible approach to the offseason. Rather than gaining the respect of the baseball world, the Mariners front office, hard-pressed to save their jobs -thanks to the suits being so financially dirven that they can’t see the wins – or losses – through the $1000 bills – in the truest of last-ditch-style efforts, blew it again.

You tell me, Mariners fans, which would have made more sense?

Signing Batista, at age 36, to a 3-year deal for $8 million per, or using BOTH Jake Woods and Cha Seung Baek in the rotation for 2007, at least until a better option presented itself, perhaps in spring training or during the first two or three months of the season as teams sort out whether they are contenders or not.

Batista is a league-average pitcher, no more. Maybe less at times. Baek and Woods are not guaranteed by any stretch to be league average and have little chance to be more, but they don’t cost multi-year contracts and millions a season for mediocre play.

The trade of Chris Snelling and Fruto for Vidro is the most puzzling trade in history of Mariners baseball. It isn’t the worst, though it’s close, because the club didn’t give up blue-chippers or anything of that nature.

But they did trade away a player that is currently as capable offensively, though less proven at the big-league level, younger by seven years, much, much cheaper (by about 10 million over the two years remaining on Vidro’s deal), and is not that much more likely to get hurt. Vidro has his own issues with the DL, and at 32 isn’t going to improve his overall healthy time on the field, even if he’s the DH.

And heck, if DH’ing helps so much, why not DH Snelling to keep him healthier, too?

Fact is, it’s a terrible trade, if for no other reason than that they dealt away cheap players who would have, according to most observers opinions, including my own, outperformed Vidro anyways.

If he can’t slug .400 in the NL, what’s his ceiling here in the AL as he faces better, less familiar pitching on a regular basis?

Next year’s free agent class, even less Vernon Wells, isn’t much to talk about, but there are some interesting names out there and the Mariners COULD have been a strong position to snag both a bat and a starting pitcher had they not blown most of their wad on Batista and Vidro, two mediocre talents – at best.

The Mariners’ offensive needs are still there. They don’t get on base enough and they did nothing to solve that issue this winter. But wouldn’t Bobby Abreu be of some help? He’s a free agent after next year.

How about Jermaine Dye, who isn’t the best OBP guy, but he also offers solid defense and a good team attitude to his .850+ adjusted OPS? He’s a solid fit.

Andruw Jones and Carlos Guillen aren’t likely to ever make it to free agency, Guillen is staying in Detroit as soon as they work out an extension, and Jones is likely to be dealt somewhere, maybe Boston, and handed a 6-year deal for $100+ million.

What about Adam Dunn, though? He’s a left-handed Richie Sexson – with a few more Ks, a lot more walks and is in his prime to boot. He’s an OBP guy and it’s all in the bases on balls, as Dunn regularly hits below .250 – but he’s still very, very productive.

How about Mike Lowell to a short-term deal if the club trades Beltre this season, or next winter? Corey Patterson anyone? How about Aaron Rowand to roam center field once Ichiro leaves, or until Adam Jones is ready?

On the mound, Doug Davis, Mark Buehrle, Jason Jennings and Jake Westbrook are the top names. Nothing too lavish, but other than Buehrle, who’ll get much more than his value because he “won 18 games” on a world series winner, is lefthanded and under 30″, that entire group could be had for the kind of money Seattle had available this winter, and would have next winter, had they not spent just to spend.

The M’s needed to come out of this calendar year with their balls dangling proudly and a payroll full of flexibility and bursting with room to add valuable talent.

Instead, they head toward a very critical future with their nuts in a sling, attendance dropping like a Matt Hasselbeck pass to Jeramy Stevens, and not an end to the foolishness in sight.

The Seattle Mariners are a colossal mess.

Of course, they could go out and get career years from Guillen, Ramirez, Batista, breakthrough years from Felix and Lopez, steady production from Beltre and Sexson and get lucky with health and win a tight division race with the Angels and all of this is for not.

But, as a good friend of mine once said, mass popular opinion rarely fails, and not an intelligent soul outside the M’s organization believes in the transactions filed under “Seattle-Mariners” this month.

Again, I’ll avoid Safeco Field like the plague, and I’m even thinking of joining a baseball convent, or even starting my own since I don’t know if one already exists.

The next time you hear from me about Seattle Mariners baseball, might be the day they hire me to work a slacker’s job under the new GM and new Team President and CEO.

Which is most likely NEVER.

Until then, or until there’s true reason to sprout me head above ground again, I’ll hibernate in my prospect cave where a little hope still remains.

In the spirit of Jerry Maguire’s involuntary jettison from his SMI offices, who’s coming with me? Who’s coming with me? Who’s coming with me… besides, Willmore, here.

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64 Responses to “The Seattle Mariners – A Colossal Mess”

  1. M's Fanatic said

    Totally aggree with you Jason. The M’s dug themselves into a depp hole, and this offseason did not help them get out, maybe only made it deeper. What are your thoughts on the Zito rumor. The M’s would likely give anywhere from 5-7 years and 80-100mil for him. He would look nice in the rotation, but what are your thoughts.

  2. Zito isn’t coming here. He’ll get as much total money, probably more, from a bigger market club like the Mets, who have a much better shot at winning anything anytime soon.

    The only way Zito signs in Seattle is if NYM decides Zito isn’t worth nearly what even Seattle is willing to offer him, which is highly unlikely.

    Honestly, I don’t think the Mariners are in the running, but Boras is using them to get the most he can out of the Mets. Since it appears the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees, White Sox and Cubs can’t be believed to be strongly interested anymore, Boras will use any other club possible to get more leverage.

    Texas, LAA, Seattle, NYM. If you are Zito and the dough is even remotely close, don’t you take the Mets’ offer every day of the week and twice on game day?

  3. Levi said

    Jason what are the chances of you getting this type of article into the paper? I am tired of reading all of the fluff pieces they are putting out.

  4. Umm, to be honest, I haven’t talked to the P-I much lately since all they typically want in this case is the fluff piece.

    Art Thiel, John McGrath and Steve Kelly are the guys employed to write such a piece. Not sure why they haven’t this winter.

    The organizations general strengths are all in the scouting and player development departments, and a handful of 18-25 year old players. They do NOTHING else well, and that’s cause for concern.

    I mean, they used to be able to make truck loads of money per day, now they are down to a Civic hatchback full. It’s still financially rich, but they have taken a huge step back, and that’s their own faults.

  5. Al said

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. It’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell anyone who would listen. I just can’t listen to Bavasi’s stupid excuses anymore about why he does deals, it’s always “Maybe…We might be getting a good player if they perform to their maximum potential so let’s roll the dice on this player by giving up a lot of money or trading younger talent”. I swear he’s on a roll with trading away prospects and throwing money at players with the hopes of winning the lottery. Someone needs to send Bavasi or the whole Mariners front office to a clinic because the way they have been handling transactions makes me draw comparison to a compulsive gambler who’s on a very cold streak that is on the verge of losing everything. For me at least I just don’t understand why the Mariners never give any of our prospects a real shot at playing before they are carted off for bums. At least if that’s going to happen package up some of these players to try and bring in real potentially good players not possible quick fix players like Horacio Ramirez (Who I did get the chance to watch more than a couple of times these past couple of years and all I could say is that he reminds me of a Left Handed Joel Piniero). I mean Horacio, yeah he might have a good year but someone who gives up tons of homeruns and is suppose to be a ground ball pitcher puzzles me? Not to mention his horrible whip and his inability to stay healthy also makes me concerned. Also if he was potentially that good you would think Atlanta would want to keep him since the last time I checked they also need starting pitching. Anyways I’m just waiting for the Mariners to make some more excellent moves like maybe trading/releasing Baek and Woods so they could bring back a Paul Abbott gambling on the hopes he can repeat his 2001 escapade where he won 17 games with a 4.25 era because of his excellent pitching and giving him a contract of 3 years/ $30 million so that way we can cut him a year later. Yeah to the Mariners for giving us such great Holiday gifts such as keeping Hargrove, 37,219 year old Batista, head case Guillen, the Super Bum Vidro, and a left handed Joel Piniero in Horrible Rami…I mean Horacio Ramirez. What a wonderful time it is if your a Mariners fan like myself, don’t you just feel like punching somebody especially a Mariners exec.

  6. Knuckles said

    I agree with you, and I’m not planning on setting foot in Safeco Field this season (unless someone else buys my ticket). If you need me, I’ll be at Cheney, thanks. This year’s Mariner team is a joke.

  7. Party at Cheney!

  8. Swerv said

    Now that my office has moved from Olympia to Tacoma, I will be at Cheney alot this summer.

  9. Art Thiel, John McGrath and Steve Kelly are the guys employed to write such a piece. Not sure why they haven’t this winter.

    Um. Your power hasn’t been out THAT long has it? I e-mailed him right after the Soriano trade, begging him to write such a piece. He sorta delivered last Wednesday…

    But, yeah, it’s a somewhat exciting time to be a Raniers’ fan. Won’t Wlad be around? Little G should get more playing time, provided he stays healthy, and Adam Jones will be fun to watch, too. I’m sure Clement will still be there, and he certainly can’t be any worse than he was after his return from surgery. Not sure how the rotation will shape out, but Feierabend may be waiting in the wings, putting some spit polish on his stuff before returning to the M’s.

    And, besides, there’s always other things than baseball that are important.

  10. Edgar said

    I too have been surprised at the number of fluff articles I’ve seen. How much power does the org have over the sportswriters in the area? Is it really that bad for the media to disagree with the moves the FO has made. I usually believe that sportswriters know a lot about sports. Its their job and not mine. There is no way they all think these moves are acceptable. When I look in the papers all I see is either how these moves help the M’s or just pieces saying what happened with no analysis. At some point, the media needs to take some of the blame for the level of intelligence in the fanbase. I don’t think the newpapers realize that they are useless to me unless they give me good analysis. I can get the “who did what” info anywhere. What I want is “what does it all mean” type of info and sadly I think that this type of analysis is very lacking in all aspects of the media.

    Oh the worst companies in the Northwest:
    1. whatever papermill in tacoma that makes the entire city stink
    2. Comcast
    3. PSE (just has moved into this spot)
    I can’t wait for some competition to come in for utilities. I hope that PSE and Comcast…(you fill in the blank).

  11. Willmore said

    I’ve been off the Bavasi-Lincoln band-wagon for a while now, and I honestly can’t see how anyone can see anything positive in them remaining with the club. I find it disturbing that the general fan-base hasn’t revolted yet, and that the columnists have yet to write something about this. This is a Matt Millen situation and it needs to be dealt with.

  12. Willmore said

    Also, Jason, who is Chris Larson and why haven’t we heard about him before ?

  13. On July 1, 1992, the Baseball Club of Seattle, LP, assumes control of the Mariners. The Board of Directors includes John Ellis (chairman), Minoru Arakawa, Chris Larson, Howard Lincoln, John McCaw, Frank Shrontz and Craig Watjen. Chuck Armstrong is named President.

    Larson is a microsoft executive and a 1981 Princeton grad.

  14. Katal said

    I attended a staff Christmas party last night, and when the subject of sports came up, even the forty-year old moms started complaining about the M’s offseason.

    I’m off the bandwagon. I remember a couple years ago, telling anyone who would listen that by 2007, the club would be a power house: the kids would be in the process of maturing, we’d still have Ichiro and Sexson producing, and we would have shed enough veteran contracts to have been able to sign at least one real ace to the club. Funny how reality played out instead.

    Count me in as someone else who doesn’t plan on attending any Mariner games this year. I’m not too familiar with current Rainiers roster, but at least I won’t feel like I’m supporting the deterioration of baseball in Seattle by being there.

  15. Lamda said

    So Jason – with the belief that if the M’s tank this year – a statistical probability – that the FO is basically gone. who would make that decision? Would it be Ellis then? Is he more of the same and if the whole group as you say is rotten and just wants profits – what is the chance they hire people who won’t have that philosophy? Is the only hope then that the team gets bought out by someone?

  16. Yeah. I’d hand the ownership reins to Chris Larson in a friggin’ heartbeat. He’s the one that when the ownership group was trying to convince the rest of the MLB owners that it was OK to have Nintendo’s Japanese owners take majority ownership, he showed up to the meeting in a freakin’ GAME-USED TY COBB JERSEY!!! Anyone like that is most certainly a baseball fan first, and a money-lover second.

    Chris gets it. I’d LOVE to see take charge of this team, even if it’s behind the scenes.

    As an aside (as I quickly fact-checked the Larson story), isn’t PSE the company that came out from Puget Power? If it was, then, there’s your connection with the M’s. John Ellis has executive ties to both. No freakin’ wonder…

  17. Ellis is no longer involved in that manner. And when I say the FO is gone, I mean the GM and his assistants and advisors.

    Lincoln and Armstrong are different stories. The ownership group makes that decision, and while technically Ellis is still part of that group, he wouldn’t have final say or anything.

  18. marinerswinws said

    I agree with you Jason, the mariners are going downhill. Looks like i will be headed to Tacoma to see the Rainers heh. PSE sucks too it took 5 days to get my power back on too and i live in a huge pocket.

  19. Ralph said

    The really sad thing is that some are predicting 80-85 wins with this patchwork, substandard rotation.

  20. RH said

    I’m going to guess…if the M’s do nothing else this offseason…

    72-90
    Good for last in the AL West, but not trailing Texas by too much.

    …sorry for the pessimism…

  21. TiM said

    So most of you are too upset to go to a SINGLE Mariners game next season? That’s just crazy, to me. Not even to see Ken Griffey Jr’s return to Seattle in late June? Dude, you can count me in. I’m optimistic about next year’s line-up. I expect a huge return to form from BOTH Vidro and Guillen, and I also think the Mariners will have good team chemistry. Obviously Vidro and Guillen know each other, but also Miguel Batista has played with each of them (in Montreal and Arizona respectively).

    People complain about Jose Vidro not having much power, but if he’s batting 2nd he’d be great for hit-and-run plays or otherwise advancing Ichiro. Let’s not forget – he is a career .302 hitter with great plate discipline! That sounds much better than Carl Everett, or dare I say, Chris “eternally disabled” Snelling. Can’t be worse than Bret Boone’s last days either… Give me singles all day long, who needs more strikeouts and the occasional homerun?

    And then there’s Jose Guillen – I like his fiery personality. He’s familiar with the division (having played for both Oakland and the Angels), and the Mariners clubhouse need someone to push them into playing more aggressive. I know that Jarrod Washburn might have problems with Guillen, but hey, maybe he’ll start being a man and pitch inside like Pedro Martinez. Guillen appreciates it when his teammates have each other’s back, and seeing as he and Kenji Johjima get hit by LOTS of pitches, wouldn’t you like to see a LITTLE retaliation? Do Seattle fans remember how scared hitters were of Randy Johnson?

    Okay, then there’s Miguel Batista – he has playoff experience and a World Series ring, and I think the guys awesome! Look at his groundball ratios! Seattle has one of the best infields in baseball, and Beltre, Betancourt, and Lopez will be gobbling up grounders all game long when he starts. Plus the guy gets deep into games, 7-8 innings plus all the time! Check out his stats. He might not blow hitters away, but if he can teach Felix and the other pitchers that sometimes less is more, think of how much of the arms will save in the bullpen.

    For me, the ONLY thing I’m worried about for next year’s team is the bullpen. I miss Rafael Soriano already, but at the same time, he’s bound to go down with an injury shortly after throwing some heat down in Atlanta. Let’s be honest. And Emiliano Fruto had promise, but he also had LOTS of problems finding the plate. So yeah, I think the Mariners have made some good moves this offseason. They look better to me than last years team, with the exception of one notable difference – no number one starter….

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed, maybe Zito is on his way afterall… Otherwise, maybe we could trade Ben Broussard and Jeremy Reed (+prospects?) for someone decent. I dunno. We’ll see…

  22. Barring steps back, rather than steps forward from the kids, and some key injuries, this current team is probably a bit better than 06… but it’s not enuff to compete. I’d still say 77-85 wins. But that sucks.

  23. Dude, Griffey sucks, and I’m not going to applaud a guy who whined his way out of town. Screw that.

  24. jp17 said

    Does Bavasi family include a TiM by chance?

  25. Knuckles said

    Timmay!

  26. thr33niL said

    TiM,
    Way to look on the EXTREME positive end of the spectrum. Too bad things rarely work out in a perfect nature. Guillen is a huge question mark coming of his surgery. Vidro’s .390 slugging is nothing to pine after especially since we are paying through the nose for it over multiple years. Batista at 36 would be lucky to replicate his mediocre numbers this season and likely decline the next two.

    Our bully is worse. Starting pitching might be a wash with the horrible group of 2006. And the offense has the potential to be better that the 15 times shutout joke of a year past. Going from “Good, Bad, Ugly” to “Bad, Not as Bad, Not as Ugly” – is not a good offseason and route to spending millions of dollars guaranteed over multiple years.

    With all the questions surrounding this crop of overpaid mediocrity, a person who looks at extreme positives should be sitting at the foolhardy table.

  27. Robby said

    See, this is my biggest problem I’ve had with the Mariner’s forever, especially since 2001. They need to choose a philosophy when it comes to the team: do what the Indians did and rebuild from the ground up with talent (and when can acquire that through trade) or try and get into the playoffs every year (ala Yankees). We need to quit this BS of trying to do both. Pick a way M’s, please. Please…

  28. DiQ said

    This entire off-season has really crushed me every way possible. Light at the end of the tunnel is faint with this circus for a front office still running the show, a dunce for a field manager and overpaid veterans taking up roster spots, playing time, and valuable salary on payroll.

  29. mariners said

    Hey Jason, how much payroll is left after the offseason moves so far?

  30. Gookie said

    23- AMEN !

  31. germpod said

    Partys at Cheny? Let me know when and I will meet you there!

  32. 3rd Watch said

    Really we can be quite honest with each other. Does more payroll mean a better team? Who is willing to sign a big contract that will make me and you go “wow”. I just don’t see it and I see a team that may be strapped to some contracts that will be hard to unload over the next three years.

    Add to a young core of Beltre, Betancourt, Lopez, and Jones. Hope that Clement pans out and go with this core. Beltre is very key, because of his age and second half to 2006. You can add veterans at will that will help this core compete, the new aquisitions will be subpar. I base this comment upon previous seasons and track records of players that come to play at Safeco.

  33. Jesse said

    My mood about the mariners offseason moves is about as dark and dismal as the list 5-6 days have been for most of the residents of the western washington area. I am past frustration with the idiocy of the bill bavasi era. It’s going to be a long summer, unless the mariners unimpressive pitching staff gets sprinkled with some magic pixie dust by the ghost of 2001 pitching staff. Woe is me. Its a tough time to be a mariners fan.

  34. Celadus said

    Two things:

    The P-I writers may be waiting until closer to the baseball season before unloading on the Mariner front office. Not everybody is as interested as us in the offseason, particuarly during years when the Seahawks are decent. Readership may well be more inclined to pay more attention to an article during spring training or right at the beginning of the season.

    Secondly, and I’m not going to say much about this because to do so would throw me smack into the category of entities who flog a dead horse, we are never going to be happy with the organizational framework of the Mariners as long as Lincoln is there with his ignorance and micromanagerial tendencies. As many of you have said or implied, Hargrove and Bavasi didn’t hire themselves and they’re not going to fire themselves.

    The Mariners pay enough in salaries that they’re occasionally going to get lucky with somebody like Guillen or HoRam having a career year (i.e., these guys may not be great but they’re not exactly small market dumpster diving treasures either). This should not blind us to the fact that the organizational philosophy starts and ends with bottom line.

    Okay, that was three things, but still . . .

  35. Deanna said

    Party at Cheney!

    Hunter Brown For Third!

  36. Hey Deanna, I heard some interesting thoughts about Hunter Brown earlier this winter…

    I need to talk to H before I go any further… but you’ll be the first to know.

  37. Liew said

    I hate to say this but a lot of Seattlites I’ve met are fair weather fans of the pro sports teams in the city.

  38. Brett said

    Liew–yeah, that’s true, but not the posters/readers of LL, USSM, D-O-V, Field Gulls, and of course, PI. While the majority of fans are fair weather, I think that can be said of most cities. Every team has a hardcore dedicated fanbase that lives and dies with the team. We are those fans…check the Mariners official message board for some fair-weather “What happened to John Olerud?” style fans…

  39. Jesse said

    Liew…Though i agree with you that there are a lot of fare weather fans in the state of washington, you must also understand that true mariners fans have every right to bitch. We have been with the team from the beginning, and want so much for our team to be successful that it becomes increasingly frustrating to watch the front office continue to make idiotic moves that essentially set the team back. Instead of realizing the problems that the organization has, addressing them, and trying to build around the core of young promising prospects and players that the team already has, they continue to use the “New York Yankees blue print” and aquire aging expensive veterans (i.e. carl everett, jarrod washburn, jose vidro, miguel batista, etc.)that are unable to live up to the money that they are being paid. Each idiotic move that the front office pulls the trigger on digs the knife of despair deeper and deeper into the heart of the true Mariners fan….

  40. 3rd Watch said

    Jesse…I could not have said it better. It would be so nice to be a team that has a model of success unlike the Evil Empire or Beanies Bunch. I want a GM that I can have faith in making the right moves for now and the future. I’m not looking for every trade and transaction to go in the M’s favor. But please, Bavasi needs a little help and has a really poor track record. I strike for a new young GM that can have five to six years to pull this train wreck back on track. I often did not agree with Gillick, but could not deny that he built teams that won games. My knock is that he did not deal for a bat that maybe could have produced a WS. Have a little hope and stick behind the guys that Jason covers. They are the true future of the M’s.

  41. Scott said

    M’s signed Sean Burroughs to a $450,000 deal. I like it. Low risk, and maybe he will find his stroke in Tacoma. Of course, the fear is that now Burroughs will play 3rd in Seattle, Beltre will be traded for the rights to Tim Belcher to make payroll room for Zito. He won’t sign with the M’s and the FO will save that much more money.

  42. Edman said

    Yeah, it makes so much sense to show your lack of support for the players that are here, regardless of how they got here. I’m sure they’ll feel so much better knowing that the city isn’t behind them because of Bavasi and company.

    You want send a message to the team, stop spending your money on the big seats. Stop buying food at the game. Stop buying your “Ichiro” tee shirts.

    But, using the front office as a reason to not by a bleacher seat, is as lame as lame gets. They are still YOUR Seattle Mariners. Not going to games simply disrespects the players…..they’re the ones who look up into the seats to see the fans…..Not Lincoln and the boys.

  43. This isn’t the Seattle Beltres or the Seattle Suzukis, although I like that name to be honest. It’s the Seattle Mariners. It’s 25 players, half dozen coaches, a field manager, a few trainers and a front office.

    When you buy a ticket to the game, etc, you suppport all of the above. Not just the players. So when you refuse to buy said ticket, you aren’t disrespecting the players, you are showing disgust for the whole organization.

    You don’t go to Mel Gibson’s latest movie even though you detest him and what he stands for, just so you can avoid disrespecting Dalia Hernandez and Mauricio Amuy Tenorio.

  44. Baseballistic said

    I don’t think the M’s would be willing to go into the season with Burroughs as their starting 3B, no matter how well he does in Tacoma. He just doesn’t have the power to be an ML 3rd-baseman. If Beltre is traded, it better be for at least one ML’er and a decent prospect. Take his bat out of the lineup and insert Burroughs, the M’s would be ridiculously lacking in power — especially with Vidro at DH.

    I think, if Bavasi suddenly becomes a good GM, the M’s will trade (or at least try to trade) Sexson to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and Scott Proctor/Humberto Sanchez.

  45. Jesse said

    Edman…Who are you talking to? I hope you are not talking to me! I never said anything about not going to the games. I watch nearly every game every season, whether i’m personally at the park, or from the comfort of my own home. I will always be a mariners fan no matter where i am, or how good, or bad the team is. I believe the majority of those who post on this site feel the same way, all i am saying is that it is painful to be on the outside looking in as bavasi continues to make head scratching moves. I hope for the best this year, but honestly i don’t expect the team finish better than third in the division, unless, and this is a big unless, the players that bavasi brought in this offseason all have career years.

  46. Jesse said

    Hey Jason…what do your think about wlad balentien’s performance thus far in the Venezuelan Winter league? (.279 avg, 9hr, 23 rbi, 20 runs) Do you think he could be a good major leaguer, or is his propensity for the k, and low walk total keeping him from taking the next step, though he is slowly making progress in both these areas.

  47. eknpdx said

    So what is the percent of “hardcore” baseball fans compared to the entire MLB fanbase?

    We can complain all we want about this offseason, talk about protesting, boycotting, or anything else we might think will send whatever message we can to the FO. But that only concerns us.

    The alleged dedicated and educated fanbase is not, nor will ever be, the core target by our FO. There’s not enough of us for them to profit from. Their goal is to bring fans back to the ballpark, and they don’t have to make this team look like a World Series contender to do that. They just have to make it look like a competitive team for most of the regular season.

    I wouldn’t plan on being excited for a new FO next offseason, because this team is a little luck, and minus one 11-game losing streak from convincing the “target fanbase” that the M’s are worth their discretionary income.

    I’d like to have faith that sweeping changes are just 10 months away, but the reality is that this is a much easier scenario for the team to make “enough” progress to bring back the target fanbase.

  48. Jesse said

    eknpdx….unfortunately as much as it pains me to say so, i totally agree with you.

  49. jp17 said

    I know it is a little early, but I can’t stop thinking about games at Cheney. Seems like they will have a pretty exciting roster.

    Couple of guys I was wondering whether or not you think they will start the season in Tacoma:

    Clement-do they let him get comfortable again in AA or keep pushing him?

    Balentien and Wilson-seems that Tacoma could be lacking a few corner OFers with Bohn and Snelling gone. Think they are ready as they’ll ever be?

    Blackley-it was talked about that they wanted to keep him in the warm weather early last year, but he never moved up….might this be the year?

    And….are the M’s playing the Rainiers in an exhibition game this year? My money is on Tacoma.

  50. Baseballistic said

    If Tacoma beats the M’s in the exhibition game…could the M’s be better off playing the Rainiers as their MLB team and the Mariners as their AAA affiliate?

    Honestly, Tacoma looks like a better team overall than the M’s right now (at least in terms of value) — they won’t make the playoffs in the MLB, but neither would the M’s, and if the FO is trying to save money, why not just use the AAA team?

    Cheney will be more fun than Safeco in 2007, that’s for sure.

  51. Knuckles said

    Edman: Honestly, I think you’re an idiot. You’re not just a management tool, I honestly think you’re stupid. So there is my bias. And when you say I’m disrespecting the players that are making multi-million dollars per annum, I just want to tell you to go fuck yourself.

    The M’s front office is disrespecting ME. They are disrespecting you as well. They (meaning Bavasi, Lincoln and Armstrong) apparently think I’m as stupid as you are. And, quite truthfully, you’re a fucking idiot. I’m not. I’m smarter than you. I understand that the product that they’ve given away is both more expensive and inferior to the product they are putting on the field. You simply don’t get it. And you know what? It’s going to be easier for a tool like you to get “really great seats” at Safeco. Congratulations. Welcome to inferiority. Clearly, it’s something you both embrace and encourage. Me, I do not.

  52. Knuckles said

    Sorry, my great ad hominem attack on Edman should have read “…the product they’ve given away is both LESS expensive and SUPERIOR to the product they are putting on the field.” Makes an assload more sense when read that way. Man, I can’t even bitchslap a tool like Edman right. I blame Dr. Who.

  53. Oly Rainiers Fan said

    Cheney is ALWAYS more fun than Safeco. ALWAYS. (Except for playoffs and the 2001 season, and I truly don’t expect either of those kinds of things in Safeco for, well, quite a while).

    I’m glad I was pushed over the edge last year, when I gave up those 8 years of Ms full season seats (and driving from Oly to get there) for the full season seat at Cheney instead. It’s a world of difference – as much of a bastard as I always heard George Foster was, the Rainiers ownership always treats their season ticket holders with respect and gratitude, which is totally unlike how I felt as n Ms season ticket holder.

    This morning I woke up to a news report about a company selling Festivus poles. I thought to myself what a perfect holiday that’d be for the Ms front office to allow their fans. We could all just show up, aluminum poles in hand, at Safeco and air our grievances, one after another after another. And then there could be the whole feats of strength competition….But you know, Festivus isn’t officially over until the head of the family (in this case, that’d be Howard Lincoln) is pinned to the ground.

    I think it’d be cathartic.

  54. Goose said

    Hehe, that would be great. Celebrating Festivus at Safeco.

  55. Goose said

    Speaking of Festivus, it seems I can post again!!!

    It’s a Festivus miracle!

  56. J said

    Yup. I was without power too for the same span, except I couldn’t get my internet/cable back until today.

    Definitely with you on this. I’m getting sick right now with the ultimate realization that, coming out of my hole and into the “light” of the media again, the Vidro trade did go down and we got rid of the best hitter the system’s produced since who knows when (injuries and all) and a talented, albeit enigmatic pitcher who seemed to have some future ahead of him for a guy, who had a good bat, for a 2B, in a hitter’s park, years ago, whom we plan on using as a DH.

    I want to find good in these moves. I really do. Even when the bad trades and signings go down I can usually find some awkward way to spin it that satisfies me in some way, even temporarily, but we’re jettisoning players who SHOULD BE part of that core (THAT WE NEVER SEEM TO GET AROUND TO BUILDING) that’ll carry us forward into the playoffs again, and in exchange, getting an assortment of has-beens and nearly confirmed never-will-bes.

    I had hoped that, if nothing else, Bavasi would’ve left us with the starts of a good foundation in the minors and the luxury of not having an excess of money tied up in contracts to mediocre players. That notion has taken a few hits lately, some of them below the belt, and he’s been behaving more like a man who’s already in the hole, betting money that isn’t his in the hopes that one of these dice rolls will come up good. So for now, all I can say is, Bill, do one of the good things you did during your Anaheim tenure: lock up some of our core players to reasonable contracts that get them through their first few years, and try to keep building the farm system up as much as you’re able (no more trades like we’ve seen recently). Otherwise, don’t let the door hit you too hard on your way out.

  57. Baseballistic said

    Yeah, celebrating Festivus at Safeco would be great. If only we could get Michael Richards in on the action to yell some obscenities at the M’s brass…

    They should change the dialogue in the Seinfeld episode, “The Strike” to this…

    Frank Costanza: “Bavasi, my son tells me your team stinks”.
    George: “oh God”.
    FC: “quiet, you’ll get yours in a minute”.
    FC: “Bavasi, you couldn’t build a good team if you had a hot date with a used…I lost my train of thought”.


    Frank Costanza as a frustrated/angry M’s fan
    George as one of Bavasi’s assistants
    Bavasi as Krueger (from Krueger Industrial Smoothing)

  58. hey Baseballistic…

    email me sometime this weekend or just after xmas if ya get the chance.

    Churchill@prospectinsider.com

  59. Ben said

    Jason….

    No one on this board….including yourself…has any idea how to run a major league baseball franchise. “Knowing” people in the industry (as you allegedly claim) does not make you an expert on how to run this type of business. I’m definitely not questioning your knowledge of the game….but c’mon, chances are, you and every other poster here would run this franchise straight into the ground. As Austin Powers would say, “it’s not your bag baby!”

    …And with you there’s this continuance of suggesting that the current ownership group has no desire to win. This just bugs the hell out of me whenever you post this stuff!!! As everyone knows, the current ownership were the ones who saved a (no profit making) baseball team from leaving Seattle….THEN A FEW YEARS LATER, THEY GAVE THE BEST YEARS OF BASEBALL TO THE NORTHWEST. Isn’t that enough to prove their true goal? Personally, for everything the ownership group has done for baseball in the Northwest, I believe they deserve my gratitude…and more importantly, my trust.

    But to you…a few rough years is enough to make you forget. When you post this stuff….it’s just fuel for fire to the idea that every Seattle sports fan is, at their heart, bandwagon. That saddens me.

    If this is how you truly feel…fine. Don’t come to the ballpark…as you and many people here have threatened. Just don’t come back and talk about how well we’ve turned it around if we happen to start winning with the current ownership group.

    I guess when it comes down to it…..what I’m saying is that it’s more than OK to criticize personnel moves, and what we could’ve done better. Just don’t forget about what got you excited to talk about Mariner Baseball in the first place. Without the current ownership group, we wouldn’t be talking about this subject right now.

    PLEASE STICK TO PROSPECT EVALUATION….it’s the only thing you’re good at.

  60. It’s not my job here to run the franchise, Ben. It’s my job to analyze the occurances. good or bad.

    If you don’t like what you read here, posts or comments alike, there are several thousand other places for you to be on the internet.

    I’m not even going to validate any of the other points you were trying to make at this time by responding.

    Good day.

  61. DiQ said

    Is that you Ben Broussard?

  62. Jerry said

    Ben,

    Nice piece of homerism there.

    If you aren’t pissed off about this front office, you are either ignorant or not paying attention.

    Simple as that.

  63. Knuckles said

    How did you all manage to respond without the potty talk?

  64. safecochatter said

    i stll think lincoln is the cancer.
    yup…bozo bavasi has shown everybody in baseball what an idiot he is. but who hired him ??
    anyway here’s an article from 2001 where lincoln says he doesn’t care about winning,just filling the seats…..
    i don’t know about the tag stuff,so u’ll probably have to copy and paste

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2001/12/24/daily16.html

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