Saturday, September 29, 2007

Not surprised, but still, bleah...

So Bavasi and McLaren are back for another year. I'm not at all surprised, in fact, I expected them both to be back. Its very disappointing to me though.

Even though we spend a lot of time on the blog criticizing M's management, I really am not a knee-jerk, fire everybody kind of guy. I did push hard to dump Hargrove and am horrified that McLaren has turned out worse, but I generally think that most of the time teams change managers and coaches too fast, without giving them time to develop a long term strategy.

That all being said, what really bothers me about bringing Johnny Mac and Bavasi back is the lack of accountability. McLaren decided to roll Richie Sexson out there day after day despite having a handy alternative in Broussard. McLaren decided to keep pitching Ramirez every 5th day no matter what the results. He decided that Vidro's singles were better for the club than Broussard's power. He decided that Raul's adventures in left field were acceptable for a staff of flyball, pitch to contact guys. He decided that it was more important to keep his veterans happy then to see if Adam Jones could help them win ballgames. McLaren decided that Rick White, John Parrish and Chris Reitsma should be pitching in the 8th inning of close games.

These were all McLaren's decisions and the season ended in failure. And he should be held accountable for that. There weren't any significant injuries, any extenuating circumstances, the team just didn't get it done and some of the blame can be traced to the consitently poor decisions that McLaren made.

Of course you could argue that this team wasn't talented enough to compete for a playoff spot. The fault for that lies at feet of Bill Bavasi. As Walt points out, the non-Felix part of the rotation was a total disaster. Not only didn't starters 2-5 pitch well, they didn't even pitch deep into games, taxing a bullpen that clearly wore down at the end of the year. And no one who reads this blog should be surprised by any of this. I critcized the Washbrun signing two years ago, I spoke out against the Batista signing and hammered the Ramirez deal. The only signing I was remotely optimistic about was Weaver and that had more to do with it being a one-year deal that happened late in the signing period than anything else.

Despite having a payroll north of 100 million, despite having a beautiful ballpark and a sweet local tv deal, Bavasi has been unable to put this team in the playoffs. He consistently expects players to produce like their best seasons, ignoring completely things like peripheral statistics, ballpark effects and normal aging patterns. He gets some credit for rebuilding the farm system, but since both of the managers he has hired are unwilling to give playing time to the products of that farm system, he ends up trading them for pennies on the dollar.

I made this point in another post, but this will be Bavasi's tenth season as a big league GM and he hasn't made the playoffs one time. Not one time. And he won't next year either. One more year of silly free agent contracts and one more year of trading something for nothing is just going to set the next GM back even further when he tries to rebuild the club.



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