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Prelude to the Top 20

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on February 11, 2007

Remember back in 2000 or 2001 when the Seattle Mariners were led to the postseason by skipper Lou Piniella and GM Pat Gillick? Yeah, those were fun times, for sure. But the point I want to make here is well below the surface of 116 wins and two straight ALCS appearances.

Many observers, including yours truly to an extent, have written quite a bit about the poor draft philosophies – and results – of the Gillick regime, where Roger Jongewaard and Frank Mattox headed up the draft for the Mariners. Prior to the 2006 season, current scouting director, Bob Fontaine, was being praised for his draft choices, while Gillick and company were ridiculed.

While Fontaine certainly has a clue and has made some solid decisions to make the most of some tough situations (not picking until the 3rd round in 2004), maybe some of us spoke too often, too soon, and much too harshly on the previous front office.

The Gillick group did not have a pick in the first three rounds in 2000, and took a high-risk left-hander, Sam Hays, with the fourth round selection. Hays is no longer in baseball and never made even a minor league impact, but the criticism needn’t lie solely on the poor selection.

Hays was a fourth-round pick, not a first or second. He was not given a near-record bonus (he got what amounted to slot money). And the reason why the club was void of a choice in the top three rounds is because Gillick was busy the previous winter signing Jeff Nelson, Arthur Rhodes and Aaron Sele on his way to putting together a pretty good big-league roster.

Gillick absolutely has to be forgiven for surrendering draft choices to put together that team. Right?

In 2001, however, the M’s reached. Three times. Choosing Michael Garciaparra with their sandwich pick and selecting catcher Rene Rivera and outfielder Michael Wilson in round two were all risky choices. Taking athletes over baseball talents is rarely a good idea, and teenage catchers are almost always a crap shoot.

Neither of the M’s third rounders did squat, either. Catcher Lazaro Abreu never got past rookie ball and infielder Tim Merritt was released prior to the 2004 season. That June yielded one of the most abysmal drafts in team history.

Bobby Livingston was the fourth round choice, and he is no longer in the organization after sputtering in Triple-A last season.

In 2002, it seemed to be more of the same after John Mayberry chose Stanford over the M’s low-ball offer. Seemingly, another total waste of a first round pick. Second rounder Josh Womack? Now an organizational player without much chance to see any big-league time.

Eddy Martinez-Esteve was the Mariners third rounder, but the club failed to sign him and he’s now a top 10 prospect for the San Francisco Giants. Again, the 2002 draft was a colossal disaster.

It’s possible, and in hindsight it appears probable, that the club was simply avoiding the big signing bonus during these two years, due to the expenses the major league roster was piling up. Not to mention the bigger dollars they were shelling out for international prospects Chris Snelling, Travis Blackley, Jose Lopez and Felix Hernandez.

This is not an excuse, especially when considering the fact that Safeco Field was King Cash Cow for the first five years of the decade – with no end in sight.

Inexcusable as it may be, perhaps Gillick, Mattox and Jongewaard should be cut some slack here. But there’s no two ways around it. These three drafts, 2000-2002, did nothing for the current Seattle Mariners, and that, my friends, is tragic.

But the ’03 draft, the final under Gillick, is about to start paying some dividends, and it may be enough to erase one or two of the previously craptastic drafts. The club took the compensatory pick from failing to sign Mayberry and drafted their future center fielder.

First rounder Adam Jones is among the top 20 prospects in the game after a strong showing as a 20-year-old in Triple-A. And although second rounder Jeff Flaig is nowhere near the radar, a pair of left-handers are nearing the bigs, and both pack enough stuff and projectability to help the Mariners for the next 10 years.

Third-round pick Ryan Feierabend is less than a year away and reliever Eric O’Flaherty could break camp with the 25-man roster this spring. With Jones on the brink of a permanent stay in the show, the 2003 draft has turned out a lot better than it appeared it would just a couple years back.

Fontaine, on the other hand, has his own picks to defend, despite getting a few gems in the low-to-middle rounds. Matt Tuiasosopo was just a third round pick, sure, but he was given a record signing bonus and he’s done absolutely nothing — and it may not be all of his own doing. The organization has rushed Tui and 2004 first rounder Jeff Clement, and their development has clearly been stunted.

If neither turn into big-league regulars, not only are their draft slots a fraud, but the money invested in them becomes close to a total waste… exactly what the club was trying to avoid with first rounder Mayberry and third rounder Martinez-Esteve in 2001.

In the end, Fontaine’s draft choices have been good, such as Mark Lowe and Rob Johnson in rounds four and five in 2004, and the selections of southpaws Robert Rohrbaugh and Justin Thomas in ’05, but the jury is truly still out on the ultimate results, just as they are with the previous group’s 2003 draft.

But if I was a betting man, my money would be on the ’03 kids outperforming the ’04/’05 combination.

In the next set of the top 50 prospects in the Seattle Mariners farm system, we’ll start to see a ranking next to the players’ name. These are awfully difficult to draw out, and one could effectively argue that a given player is ranked a few spots too high or too low. But this is the way I see it, after speaking to as many scouts, coaches, players and managers as I possibly could.

Note: Yorman Bazardo was originally ranked at No. 19 and since he was dealt to the Detroit Tigers, has since been removed entirely. That leaves the top 20 one man short. So No. 20 moves to 19 and we’ll be without the No. 20 slot.

Furthermore, many have been asking me where Carlos Triunfel, Mario Martinez and Juan Carlos Ramirez are going to fall in the rankings. The answer is, they do not fall anywhere, but not simply because they have yet to play ball in the states. It’s a combination of that fact, and the fact that I am not able to get enough scouting report type information on the three of them to put together a reasonable analysis.

Triunfel, however, is currently the best talent of the trio and has the highest ceiling. He and Martinez are surefire top 15 types, and ultimately will likely jump into the top 10 next year. Both have great athleticism and could end up at shortstop and center field with Triunfel potentially moving to third and Martinez to a corner outfield spot as a backup plan.

Each have big-time upsides.

Ramirez, an 18-year-old right-hander, sits 91-94 with his fastball and has a pretty good curve ball that could be the best in the system the day he arrives in the states. The knock on the Venezuelan is his command, but even that improved fairly dramatically this past season in the VSL.

I promise more on all three as I get the information, but I can relay this, fresh 411 from the farm.

All three are in the states right now as you read this and are expected to play here this season. Ramirez is likely to see the Felix-lite treatment, meaning he could split time between both short-season clubs and/or see Wisconsin by the end of the year, of not sooner… and he’s built just like the King of the same age at 6-3 and about 185 pounds.

Triunfel is going to play full-season ball, at least to start the year, so that spells Wisconsin. Martinez may also start his year in the Midwest League, but none of the above is set in stone, and the club swears up and down that none of those decisions have been made as of yet.

Prospects 11-19 will be published on Tuesday night.

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58 Responses to “Prelude to the Top 20”

  1. Any idea what the Dodgers offered for Soriano, before pulling it off the table 24 hours later?

  2. 3rd Watch said

    Nice. I’m completely pumped to see the next post. Thanks for all of the insight.

    Do you see Clement and Johnson splitting time behind the plate? If so is this good for development? I can see the injury factor and wear on the body, but if Clement is going to play the position he needs more game experience. If they don’t project him there I could see a move to first base.

  3. re: Soriano

    LA wasn’t as heavily involved as the Mariners wish they were. They never countered with any offer that didn’t go beyond Soriano. It was always, “Soriano AND Jones,” or “Soriano AND Ibanez” for Brad Penny and a prospect.

    And the prospect was never James Loney.

  4. Hey Jason,
    Thanks for all your hard work. I’m really excited about looking at your research. Building a team is fun. (I don’t know how many people agree with me) It helps you
    (me) look at the big picture when all the pieces come together. You’re doing the tough sledding and we appreciate it. Hope to see you in Spring training.
    Many thanks,
    Don

  5. Hey Jason,
    Thanks for all your hard work. I’m really excited about looking at your research. Building a team is fun. (I don’t know how many people agree with me) It helps you
    (me) look at the big picture when all the pieces come together. You’re doing the tough sledding and we appreciate it. Hope to see you in Spring training.
    Many thanks,
    Don

  6. Slack said

    I look foward to the next set of prospect rankings. Well done!
    Jason, you mentioned that Tui and Clements development has been stunted becaue they were rushed. Do you think it would be a good idea to send them back down a level to find a groove or would that be ineffective?

  7. Lailokenin said

    Jason,

    Thanks for the great content. Those three major international signings reminded me of another talent still on the market. Ryde Rodriguez is taking a long time to sign. An 18 yo five-tool talent who is a switch-hitter sounds good to me. His status as a now-Argentinian also is a major plus. Were the M’s one of the teams watching him work out?

    Also, didn’t the Gillick/Mattox era also produce some hindsight 20-20 headshaking non-signings such as Rich Harden? I know that any org can miss & come up with a stunning list of oversights or unsigned players but I seem to remember those years as having an extraordinary amount of talents we drafted then didn’t sign, often in the later rounds.

  8. marc w. said

    I’ve always heard that Juan Carlos Ramirez is Nicaraguan, not Venezuelan…right?

    If so, I keep hoping that his command issues might improve as he plays more baseball; I’d imagine that a kid growing up in the baseball-mad nation of Venezuela would’ve played on more teams/leagues than the relative backwater of Nicaragua. We’ll see… definitely one of the guys I think we’re all interested in seeing in the US this year.

  9. Lance said

    JAC, this question may be premature, but it seems that last year you weren’t high on Adam Jones as a hitter. Basically, pretty average. Has your opinion of him as a major league hitter increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the last twelve months?

  10. JCR is a native Nicaraguan-turned Venezuelan citizen. But yes, you are right, Marc. I believe he moved to Venezuela is 2003 or 2004, so he didn’t grow up there. Good point.

    re: Lailokenin

    I haven’t heard much about RyRo for a few months and am not sure if the Mariners worked him out or not. Let’s see if Helfgott has heard anything.

    Hey Jon, you heard anything, man?

    And yeah, sure, the previous regime had its share of “non-signing” but it wasn’t due to lack of effort. You just don’t give lower round draft picks huge money. There was a reason Harden wasn’t a first rounder, and while he’s answered those questions, there was no way to tell if he ever would, hence not worth the millions it would have taken.

    re: Clement, Tui

    I think it’s possible that Clement AND Rob Johnson start the year in AA. And I think it would be wise to do the same with Tui, too. I think it’s most important that the M’s draw back off that aggressive attack, and it sounds like they are going to do so.

    Clement can easily regain his status offensively, and Johnson, a defensive catcher anyways, just needs to get some confidence and bide his time. Tui worries me. I think if he starts hitting for power it may come with more whiffs than is tolerable.

  11. After the ’05 season, Lance, I was still saying he had a lot to prove. One good year does not make a big leaguer…

    well, he now has TWO good years and I’m sold.

  12. Lance said

    Again, this may be premature, but I’m hearing that besides the great athleticism, he’s also a bright guy that learns well, which should add to his advancement. Do you concur?

  13. Who are you speaking of, Lance?

    And Don, I’ll be in the desert in the middle of the month…

  14. JH said

    Haven’t heard anything about the Ms working Rodriguez out, but there aren’t many people who think he’s worth a damn, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  15. etowncoug said

    What are the odds that O’Flarethy breaks camp with the M’s? I thought the Woods and Rhodes were pretty much locks to make the 25 man roster. Hopefully with a good camp Eric makes the big league club.

  16. Lance said

    I was speaking of Adam Jones.

  17. Yes, Lance, I’d agree with those sentiments on AJ.

    Re: EO

    Maybe 40%? He has a shot, but he does have to make the Mariners staff forget about Arthur Rhodes first.

  18. cujo said

    I think one thing allways gets forgotten about here Gillick brought the mariners Bob Engle who has been huge for the mariners.

  19. Cujo is right, and I think I’ve spoken plenty about Engle here. People that have read this scribe site know how I feel about the job Engle has done with the Mariners.

    If it wasn’t for Engle, who would play second for the Mariners this year? If not for for Engle, who would draw fans and pitch for the Mariners this year? Nobody good, is the bet.

  20. cujo said

    I agree you have mentioned a bunch but i dont think the public remembered .I just thought i would throw a refresher course on the people also did any one else throw up reading Larues article on Bavasi sunday>?

  21. Any idea what the Dodgers offered for Soriano, before pulling it off the table 24 hours later?
    Conor — I asked Bavasi at FanFest (off the mike) why Ho-Ram, and if there were any other offers on the table — specifically if other teams knew Soriano was available, and what names were out there for Soriano. Bavasi mentioned that the Dodgers offered Kuo, which was the offer Bavasi preferred, but when the Dodgers then blew Bavasi off, didn’t return his calls, and he was pretty ticked by it, he moved on Ho-Ram. He didn’t say for sure, but I got a good sense in the other tone of that conversation, that he was very pressured to get a starting pitcher in the winter meetings.

  22. Allen said

    So Bavasi recognizes he needs a starter and goes out and gets Ho-Ram? Where is the logic?

    Getting a starter likely to have a 4.75 ERA doesn’t help…Baek is cheaper and it would be hard to argue that he will be worse than Ho-Ram or Bautista.

    Bavasi has dug his own grave.

  23. Slack said

    I don’t think this is all Bavasi’s fault. I think he probably got alot of unreasonable pressure from guys like Howard Lincoln.
    I am so-so on Ho-Ram but I find Batista almost unforgivable. They call him an innings eater. Yeah, I’ll take 6-7 mediocre innings a game for 8 million a year from a league average guy who is only bound to get worse because he’s 36. I will agree that Baek might have been a better idea.

  24. d2ret said

    What puzzles me is that Eaton got about the same contract from Philly as we gave Batista, a bit less even. I thought we were trying to bring home the local talent. Jason, was it because Eaton was one of the first FA pitchers to get signed that we didnt really put out an offer that matched the one Eaton got? Did Gillick kind of set the market with that signing because it was one of the first deals? Its too bad, cause it would have been nice to see Eaton pitching for the M’s next year for 3yr./25m instead of Batista. Truthfully I think in a fair market, Batista might not be worth 5 mil a year.

  25. The Mariners wanted Jason Schmidt and Zito first, so they weren’t all hot and heavy for Eaton at the time he signed.

    Re: Soriano deal…

    If Bavasi told someone that, he didn’t share that info with his cronies, I can guarantee that. In fact, it would mean he flat out lied to them, which I find hard to buy into.

    LA dropped out of the running for Raffy as soon as the Mariners wanted a second player after Penny. Maybe they countered with Kuo, but that wasn’t going to be enough to get it done, at least in November.

  26. Slack said

    Speaking of a fair market (from D2ret’s post), any chance the market calms down and people stop overpaying for mediocre pitchers?

  27. Ozzie said

    Where do you rank Blakley? Upcoming prospects or not even worth your time. This guy was suppose to be a can’t miss. I still think he can be a good middle starter for a big league team if he gets his head on straight. Great article and i love your site.

  28. He’s certainly worth the time, Ozzie. Travis is in the 11-19 range, in the second half.

    I’m not sure if he was ever a can’t-miss type, but he was a good bet, let’s say that. Labrum surgery in February of 2005 set him back more than a year… he sat out all of 2005 and had to use 2006 as a rehab year.

    If Travis can stay healthy, I still think he’s a big leaguer, and I know of one front office member for team on the east coast that adores Blackley and the way he goes about his business.

    I wish Miguel Batista did not exist, because then we’d have a real fight on our hands: Former roommates Cha “Sizzle” Baek versus Travis Blackley for the fifth spot in the rotation.

    Now THAT, my friends, is fun competition.

  29. eknpdx said

    I would love to hear Blackley’s take on Baek, considering the comments he made (from the car while driving, IIRC) that you had reported.

    Personally, I’m rooting for the Aussie.

  30. Travis loves Cha Sizzle.

  31. I love both of ’em. And, considering I was Cha Cha’s biggest non-supporter after 2005, that says a lot about him. And, were it not for Church already tooting his horn a-plenty already, I’d probably be a whole lot louder on Blackley myself. I can seriously hardly wait to see Travis in ’07. He certainly has the, uh, what’s the word, oh yeah, cojones to leap back on the radar. The talent’s there, too. It’s the health that’s the question mark now, and having more time pass in that department should help immensely.

  32. What sucks is, Feierabend, Baek and Blackley should be fighting it out for TWO spots, because Horacio shouldnt be here either.

  33. Re: Soriano deal…

    If Bavasi told someone that, he didn’t share that info with his cronies, I can guarantee that. In fact, it would mean he flat out lied to them, which I find hard to buy into.

    Interesting. I’d heard some buzzings about Kuo-Soriano behind the scenes myself a little bit, so it was interesting having Bavasi confirm that when I spoke to him after the Q/A session at FanFest. I got the impression from Bavasi’s statement in that conversation, that the Dodgers offered Kuo, not that Bavasi asked for Kuo. Penny-Soriano made some sense straight up, and it wouldn’t surprise me for Bavasi to ask for other prospects to help defray the $ difference. He didn’t mention Penny in that conversation, and I was going to ask about Penny, because I’d heard some of that chatter, too, but alas, I wasn’t the only one trying to ask him questions…

  34. Totally. Or, if he was, it’s not at the cost of Soriano, and he’s battling for a spot himself.

    I’m fairly certain Baek could outpitch Ho-Ram. I know Feier can, but he may need just a little more time in the minors. Blackley, of course, too.

  35. I’m not all that down on Ramirez. To me, he’s Washburn’s equal in overall talent, and he actually has better stuff.

    He just needs to be 100% – but therein lies the issue.

  36. cujo said

    Theres proably some fuse missing in his fuse box that makes it work on a consistent basis! How does a gm that has been nothing but a loser come out and say that about a player?It was time for Gil to leave but no matter what you would never hear Schurholtz are Gillick ever say something so rude are so unneeded to say publicly.Bavasi keeps taking pot shots at players when they leave like he did with Bobby Mads also.Bill i would suggest at least when you get fired have a little class and quit showing your ass in public.Cujo has spoken!..lol

  37. You’d think any GM would avoid saying negative things about any players because he may have to deal with that players’ agent somewhere down the line.

    Although, maybe he knows he’ll never have another GM gig in this league.

  38. …maybe he knows he’ll never have another GM gig in this league.

    Uh, well, what ownership group would want to hire him, considering how poorly he’s spent almost $300 million over the last three years. Okay, so maybe that’s a bit harsh, considering he inherited some of that, and it’s not like he gets a $100 million clean slate each year to spend, but still, the point’s almost as valid.

    But you know as well as I do that MLB is as big of a Good Ol’ Boys network as any. Bavasi will find a job somewhere, and likely another GM gig, even. It certainly won’t (or shouldn’t) be because of his resume…

  39. Ozzie said

    Seattle Times reported a 109 million dollar payroll for this year! Can’t believe how many old, bad, average players we have under contract for years. Time to quit spending and start over with prospects. Fans might hate it, but we need to drop payrol and spending to get better.

  40. I would take that bet, Paul.

    I think Bavasi’s days as a GM are over.

    He’s failed twice. Getting a third chance doesn’t happen too often in any sport, and it may be toughest in baseball to get that second chance, let alone a third.

    Same goes for managing… they get a second chance, but it’s harder to get that third shot if you failed two times before without any success to brag about.

    I just don’t see it.

    He’ll get a job somewhere, sure. But I don’t see how any club would want him as a GM, which is kind of sad. I’d really like to see Bavasi go into a situation where he inherits a team without any existing payroll where he’d be surrounded by pre-existing consultants and a good scouting director, like he has in Fontaine.

    With an owenr willing to spend money and, most importantly, willing to be somewhat patient on his return, Bavasi could be successful.

    But his problem is that he can’t help himself.

    I swear on my monkey’s uncle that if I were a GM in baseball and my bosses, the CEO/Owner types, put the hot-seat style pressure on me the way it appears they have done to Bavasi here in Seattle, I would stand up and tell them to kiss my ass.

    This is NOT the best way to go about building a baseball team and even if you threaten me with my job, I will not go in a direction in which I do not believe.

    I will NOT spend just to spend. I will not back the overly PR safe approach. Wanna fire me? Fire me… but I will be going public with the REAL reasons why things did not work out.

    Bill knew what he was getting into, yes. So he pretty much agreed with the suits on the way things were going to be done. But even then, It got to a point where I would have stood up and told them where to stick it.

    The GM and his crew are the baseball people, not those writing the checks.

    Bavasi has displayed lot of weaknesses as a GM, though, and one of them is those he has chosen to join him in the front office.

    John Boles? Dan Evans?

    I’ve heard plenty about how detrimental one of the above can be to an organization on and off the field with the way he conducts himself. And the other is better as a field manager than he is anything else. How does that help a GM?

  41. Re: Ozzie

    Yeah, the M’s have not spent this 100+ mil well at all. It stinks something pretty awful for sure.

    But they don’t have any contracts that are/will/would hold them back from making good decision on future deals. The fact that they have Washburn signed for three more years at 28 mil isn’t stopping them from offering Zito 6/85 or Schmidt 4/45.

    And don’t have any long-term deals that will hinder them at all.

    Miguel Batista, JJ Putz, Adrian Beltre and Washburn are the only players with guaranteed contracts beyond 2008.

    Ichiro (’07), Sexson (’08), Reitsma, Vidro (’08), Weaver (’08), Guillen (’07-’08), Johjima (’08) and Bloomquist (’08), Ibanez (’08), and a few insignificant others, are free agents after 2007 or 2008.

    Everyone else is on a year-to-year contract and guaranteed nothing.

    Looking at 2009, just two seasons away, the Mariners have just 33.5 million committed to four players, though Lopez, Betancourt, Felix, and probably a few others will be getting arby raises and multiyear extensions by then. But those would be GOOD deals, like the Putz contract.

    There are a lot of teams in worse situations as far as future payroll goes.

  42. Gookie said

    what kind of money do you think the mariners will throw out to keep lopez and bettencourt around ? or do we have to wait on after this year to be able to tell?

  43. We’ll certainly have to wait. The two infielders’ contract situations are different, as Betancourt is headed into year three of a guaranteed major league deal, while Lopez is not going to be eligible for arbitration until after the 2008 season.

    Betancourt will be eligible after 2008 as well, but may qualify as a super two, as may Felix. Betancourt is guaranteed 400k this year and 450k in 2008… he could receive a 700k bonus if he gets to the 1000 PA plateau for his career by the end of this season, which he will.

    It’s likely that we’ll see YuBet ink a 2-3 year deal next winter, for at least 1.5 or 2 mil per, probably more, since he can make more than a mil in 2008 anyways after the incentive clause kicks in.

    I’d guess he goes for 3/10-12.

    Lopez is two years away from that, so who knows what the M’s might do.

  44. marc w. said

    Same goes for managing… they get a second chance, but it’s harder to get that third shot if you failed two times before without any success to brag about.

    In general, perhaps. But what about Buddy Bell? As much as I like the guy, Frank Robinson kept getting opportunities despite never having a .500 cumulative record with any team.

    In general, it’s always ‘easy’ to hire an ex-player and an ex-manager when you’ve got an opening. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but to most fans there’s this massive, yawning chasm that separates the minor leagues from the majors. It’s almost as if AAA and MLB are related about as closely as the NBA and MLB. Hence, you get ‘safe’ signings like Vidro and ‘safe’ managers like Buddy Bell, and meanwhile guys like Rohn/Shin-Soo Choo/etc. are shut out.

  45. Dude, you just named about half of all the skippers that got more than two shots.

    And Frank Robinson’s was a special situation.

    Plus, with GMs it’s even tougher.

    Name two GMs that got THREE chances.

  46. marc w. said

    Well, there are more managers – Jeff Torborg, for one. Hell, Jim Lefebvre got three chances despite never finishing higher than 4th in a division. Rene Lachemann, too. I might include Bill Rigney in this category as well.

    Anyway, yeah, GMs generally don’t get THREE chances – that’d be somewhat insane. With that said, if there’s ever a guy to get that chance, it’s probably Bavasi. He’s quite personable, he tells a good story, and he’s got an excuse (a plausible one) for just about everything. He’s got tons of connections in the industry, and he’s got the Fontaine card to play as well. I’m not quite as confident as Paul that he gets another shot, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

  47. Lefebvre has some semblance of success, as did Torborg who won 94 and 87 games with CWS… that’s some kind of success.

    I’m talking about FAILURES… no track record of success. Bavasi has none.

    You are mentioning guys who were not terrible, though they were mediocre and sub .500. But Torborg won 47% of his games and had some REALLY bad teams, as did Lefebvre who won almost 49% of his games.

    Name a GM that has gotten THREE chances.

  48. Lance said

    JAC, regarding your comment at #40, I believe Lincoln’s ‘hot seat’ comments were intended to put the entire organazation on notice that winning was now job 1. That included himself, which he acknowledged. It was meant as consumption for an irrated fanbase and was never directed as a peasonal slight to Bavasi.

    I also believe it was privately explained to Bavasi, and Hargrove, that way and being the big boys they are, they were fine with it. Certainly Hargrove doesn’t see himself in a position different from virtually any other manager and has made those comments publicly. Lincoln’s comments were nothing for anyone to quit their job over in a huff. These guys know what the stakes are, and will do their jobs accordingly. Meanwhile, the Mariner fanbase can maintain some expectations and not dispair in a morass of last place finishes (my, how I pity the Tampa Bay Devilray fan), which was the intention all along.

  49. Winning is NOT job 1, not for Lincoln. He may want that to be Bavasi and Grover’s top priority, but if it wasn’t before, how can it be now?

    What was job 1 before now?

    How could being on the hot seat be “fine” by the two guys that will lose their gigs at the end of the year?

    You may believe what you just posted, but none of it is news to anyone who can read, and none of it as true as you seem to believe.

    These guys are spin doctors, dude.

    They’re spinnin’.

  50. Jim said

    JAC
    I have heard that if the M’s are doing bad by midseason then they will most likly get rid of Hargrove becasue McClaren is now the Bench coach, and considering his expieriance and history with the M’s he would be a good coach for the rest of the season after. I personally like McClaren a lot, I would like to see him get a shot at the Head Coach job for a full season next year. What do you know, and what are your thoughts on him? Would he be a good fit for the M’s?

  51. Gookie said

    would frank robinson ever consider being a bench coach for the mariners? or could that ever happen?

  52. Lance said

    JAC, just to answer your question, job 1 had been “building”, whether that was the big league club, or the farm system. Winning was desirable, but not critical, not at the expense of the building process. Now winning is critical, and in that sense I referred to it as job 1.

    You may feel, as do many others, that to Lincoln job 1 is making money. but while I’m sure he’s concerned with the bottom line, he also realizes that making a profit and winning go hand in hand. He also knows that the patience of the fanbase can only be stretched so far and it’s not far from snapping. I’m sure there was some spin involved, but I also believe his overall message was sincere and that, in affect, all in the organazation must know there jobs are on the line.

  53. Lance said

    You also asked if winning wasn’t job 1 before how could it be now? However, I was speaking to the level of winning that would be acceptable. Obviously the team’s 2006 record, though not the desired result, was acceptable or else Bavasi, and certainly Hargrove, would not have been brought back for another year. But to repeat that record in 2007 won’t cut it. And, everyone knows that.

  54. Lance, you’re way off base. Job one is to make money, period.

    End of story. Lincoln doesn’t realize anything.

  55. Gookie said

    …And that’s why the mariners will suck this year.

    At years end, all we’ll have to talk about is who we can get in trade for who.

    And I’m sure that with the FO this team has, we will just continue the cycle of losing.

    Lincoln needs to go.

  56. Ozzie said

    The only reason they spent the money this offseason or pretend to give contracts they knew where going to be beat is because they had extra money from the Nationals sale this year. this is a public stunt to get attention and to try to keep the base of fans, but we the fans need to be patient and relize that this is going to take three to four years to overturn.

    The problem with the Seattle fans is that they are not patient and want to win right away, so the bosses try to make quike fixes to excite the fans.

    Be Patient Fans and hope that change in the Front office is soon with people with a plan and not just stunts.

  57. Lance said

    JAC, thanks for the new rules update. Some of them were long in coming, but should make the game less controversial and statistics truer.

    I am surprised, however, that owners oked the plan not to replay suspended games, costing themselves a bonus gate. How can they afford it? j/k

    Any update as to the next round of prospects?

  58. Yeah, Lance, they are coming. I have three of them fully completed, as soon as I get to four, and I’m working on the fourth as I type, I’ll go ahead and post 16-19 as I continue with 11-15… when 11-15 are finished, I’ll add them to the post.

    Shouldn’t be any longer than 1pm today for the 16-19 crop.

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