This is an email thread we had after reading the Bavasi interview by Jonah Keri at Baseball Prospectus. BP Premium subscription required.
I'm not as down on the interview as most of the bloggers are.Bavasi shows some sort of thought processes going on. It appears the M's were at least thinking about what kind of hitter fit best at Safeco when they went after Raul. They identified the need for a left handed pull hitter to take advantage of the ball traveling to RF as opposed to the death valley of what a right handed pull hitter faces at Safeco. He also brings the fact that the deal was 99% done before he even took the job.
I'm also not as down on this interview as some other bloggers. I agree with the Mariner Optimist that the interview was a setup. Did we learn anything that we didn't know? Bavasi is an old-school GM - we knew that. If anything, I'm happy with some of the things he said about the value of objective analysis. If he keeps saying the words it might stick.
Part II went up last night. He spoke to one of my questions, why was Guillen such a marked man. I guess I can buy the injury issue to some degree. The follow-up question I would ask is after getting Aurillia, why not keep Guillen on the bench? He's not very expensive and he'd be a much better "supersub" than Bloomquist by any measure.
I'm certainly intrigued by the "tampering" comment on Vizquel. That non-move, along with the McQracken-Colbrun trade, are what sent me into an anti-bavisi blogging tizzy. What is the good rationale Bavasi refers to?
The tampering comment caught my eye also. I'm disappointed in his answers to the questions pertaining to FrankenFreddy. I argued back in December that the M's should have non-tendered Freddy. This team has young pitching to spare and you better believe that if Freddy hits the All Star break at .500 with an ERA of 4.5 I'll be jumping up saying "I told you so". Stating that you prefer Freddy to Greg Maddux is a foolish statement to make.
Numbers for 2003
YEAR G GS CG IP H R HR BB SO K/9 W L Sv P/GS WHIP BAA ERA
Maddux 2003 36 36 1 218.1 225 112 24 33 124 5.11 16 11 0 81.5 1.18 .268 3.96
Freddy 2003 33 33 1 201.1 196 109 31 71 144 6.44 12 14 0 101.9 1.33 .255 4.51
Maddux career ERA 2.89, Freddy's 3.97, Number of years Freddy has had an ERA under 3.5 (1), Maddux (14).
I'm slightly encouraged by his response to the question regarding the M's losing defense this year compared to last. His answer gives the appearance that this was a conscious decision by the M's to trade defense for offense. Now, I don't believe that Randy Winn is going to come close to Mike Cameron in center field, no matter how long he plays there, nor do I buy in to the statement that "we had a real firm upgrade offensively in center" but I do agree with the principal behind this quote "We had a tremendous upgrade at third base, from no offense, or minus offense, and a plus defender, to a just below plus defender and a plus offensive player."
My largest concerns remain 2 things. The M's insistence on spending big money in the bullpen ( The M's should have at least 3 young, cheap pitchers in their bullpen, not continuing to prove they can get out AA hitters) and their gawd awful bench. They simply could have kept Colbrun and Guillen and had a decent bench at an incremental cost of around $1 million.