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June 18, 2008

Mariners Foibles

In Seattle Mariners news, they just filed their GM, Bill Bavasi, for spending $100+ million payroll on a team that is 22 games below .500.

I think the problem goes beyond the GM. The real problem is the ownership group, which is firmly committed to a strategy of developing young players and then trading them for older players. In other words, trade good, cheap players for bad, expensive players. This strategy is doomed to failure and no amount of firing of GMs, managers, and hitting coaches will fix it.

I went to the Mariners-Marlins game last night. I looked at the two rosters and grouped them into people born in 1975 or earlier, between 1976 and 1980, and 1981 or later. In other words over the hill, in their prime, or improving. The Marlins have 4 over the hill players, 11 in their prime, and 13 improving. The Mariners have 9 over the hill players, 7 in their prime, and 8 improving. No surprise that the Marlins are in a pennant race with a $25 million payroll and the Mariners are terrible.

I did get to see one of the Mariners' young players, Felix Hernandez, pitch and at times he was spectacular. In the fourth inning he struck out three players on nine pitchers, which I read somewhere was only the 13th time in American League history that had happened. In fact if you look at this pitch-by-pitch account of the game, you will see that he struck out six people in a row on 20 pitchers, and in the second through fifth inning he only threw four balls (and was one home run short of perfection). Then things got a bit dicey, but we did hang on to win the game.

I actually have a pet theory that the Mariners are bad because we have bad...sportswriters. The local sportswriters seem to be a very old-school bunch who love over-the-hill power hitters and therefore inspire the Mariners to keep signing him. They ran Freddy Garcia and Bob Melvin out of town on a rail under dubious pretexts, and continue to think that Lou Piniella was a good manager. When Asdrubal Cabrera did his unassisted triple play, they were moaning about how could we have let this guy go. Because of one play!! (The Indians sent Cabrera down to Triple A four weeks later for producing an unassisted lousy batting average.) With that nonsense going on in the background, how can any team hope to do well?

Posted by AdamBa at June 18, 2008 10:46 PM