Today the Seattle Mariners sit in the playoffs. That would seem to be enough to give General Manager Bill Bavasi a passing grade. However, for a great deal of the Mariners fans the three straight 90 loss season's are more than they can overcome.
Their is no question in my mind the Mariners should extend Bill Bavasi. The truth here is the Mariners got what they hired. The problem is they tried to turn Bavasi into something else in the first few years of his stewardship. Bavasi is a system developer not a free agent signer.
Bavasi's track record with the Angels and the Dodgers is on of the best in baseball in regards to building a franchise from the bottom up. If a major league team can add one position player and one pitcher a year from the system they are well ahead of the game. While in Anaheim, Bavasi regularly superseded that standard. He developed two to three position players a year and numerous pitchers. It was this core that became the World Champions.
This is exactly what he is doing in Seattle. Adam Jones is the newest of a collection of players and mostly pitchers that have been developed in Bavasi's system. A system that was completely dead when he took over. The drought of development in the Mariners system is what lead to the back to back to back 90 loss season not the actions of Bavasi.
Great franchises are defined by their ability to evaluate their own talent not the evaluation of the rest of the league. The ability to know what talent is going to progress and which are going to hit a wall and flounder is the basis by which all deals are made and franchises develop. In the past the Mariners have been one of the worst in baseball at this. Today they are reaching the upper echelon.
If Bavasi has a weakness he is inconsistent in the success of his free agent signings. That is as much a reality of free agency as it is a Bavasi's fault. Free agency is inconsistent. Moreover, Bavasi was forced to play the free agent market with a team that had enormous gaps and no talent coming up the system. The Mariners put Bavasi in a position to fail in an area that was not his strength.
He has now rectified that with the fantastic development of talent throughout the minor leagues. This means that in the upcoming years he will be able to deal from a position of strength when fixing the club rather than a position of weakness.
That is why Bavasi needs an extension.