Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The learning curve?

Bill Bavasi hasn't made many friends among the M's fans who are paying attention and I know that's not news. I do wonder what the long-term picture for the M's is. Living in Kansas City, I'm now a part of a city that is excited about its baseball team, for the first time in a long time. And much of the blame for the long malaise in Kansas City baseball could be laid of the feet of GM Allard Baird. How many Rob Neyer articles did we see lamenting the idiocy of move after move -- trading for Neifi Perez, signing Chuck Knoblauch after the Yankees released him? But somehow, Baird has learned to put together a decent roster with a shoestring budget (no thanks to miser/owner David Glass). And Baird has changed; after giving away Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye, Baird is at least hanging on to Carlos Beltran. Baird used to go after players like Knoblauch and Greg Zaun. This year, he went after Juan Gonzalez and Benito Santiago.

Baird talked an intelligent game for a long time, but didn't execute it very well until recently. And my greatest frustration with Bavasi is that no one is making him answer tough questions (BP's interview notwithstanding), and they won't for a long time because the Mariners are still a pretty successful club. If the seats are filled and the team is winning, there's no problem to Grill Bill (HAH!) about. I'm very doubtful that Bavasi will be able to learn the way Baird did, at least in the short term. I certainly hope that Seattle doesn't go into a decade-long string of losing seasons the way Kansas City did. That may depend on how willing Bavasi is to learn.

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