Prior to Randolph’s canning, the Seattle Mariners also made a rare in-season firing of a General Manager by showing Bill Bavasi the door.
I honestly don’t have too much more to add on this issue than what I’ve already written. A little over a year ago as we did our “What They Need” reports in 2007, I argued that what the Seattle Mariners needed was less Bavasi. He took over the team in November of 2003, inheriting a team that had won no less than 93 games per season between 2001-2003. His first full season at the helm, the Mariners won 63. The following year, they won 69, followed by 78 games in 2006. By this point, most GMs would have been fired. But Bavasi hung on.
In 2007, the Mariners surprised a lot of people (including myself) by winning 88 games, and during the off-season, I basically called the team a fluke. However, even I didn’t think that the Mariners would start ’08 24-46. But that’s exactly what has happened.
All in all, he has spent over $480m in payroll over five seasons but constructed a team with a 322-396 record (.448 Winning %). He has resigned aging catcher Kenji Johjima because he thought that there would be a shortage of aging catchers in the future (pure speculation on my part but can’t think of any other reason). He gave a 4-year, $48M contract to Carlos Silva over the off-season, who is currently earning his keep with a 5.79 ERA. He signed Ichiro Suzuki to a 5-year extention worth $90M that will have the M’s paying a 38-year old outfielder $17M in 2012. Sure he’ll still be able to put the bat on the ball at that age. But speed’s the first skill to go as you age, and Ichiro is going to be a one-dimensional player very soon. And although both Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro will be off the books following this season, they’ve still got one more year of Adrian Beltre ($12M), Jarrod Washburn ($10.35M), and Miguel Batista ($9M).
From what I can tell and have heard, Bavasi is a likable guy. But mistakes kept piling up and the owners finally had had enough.