Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bavasi Write-Up

Since the USSM guys say it's okay this time around to post what Bavasi said yesterday at the USSM feed, I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon. Thanks again to those guys for setting it all up. I was the tall guy in the back by myself taking notes. My one disappointment was that it was a little difficult to tell who was who (hint: bloggers are a little anonymous) so next time I would suggest that they give a little time to let a few of the more major bloggers (lookout landing, etc) a chance to introduce themselves so that smaller bloggers like myself can let them know how much we appreciate their work. Just a thought.

On to the fun! These are rough notes that I've tried to recompile in a way to make them readable. Hopefully it works for all of our five readers.

- Bavasi was asked about media coverage, specifically if he ever woke up in the morning, read the paper about some rumor, raised his eyebrows and said, "I'm about to do what?" He responded using the recent Craig Wilson-Joel Piniero rumor, and let us know that he hasn't talked to Dave Littlefield (Pittsburgh GM) since before the GM meetings.

- He tries as best he can to balance the win now attitude (to save his job) with his responsibility to the future. Bavasi made his first fun comment to the fans at this point, stating that he believes the farm system was "neglected" prior to his arrival. Yeah, "neglected" is one way to put it. He also mentioned that soon after he arrived he noticed that the M's really weren't as deep in pitching as the organization thought.

- He really likes our catching depth now, and overall with the team is trying to "have the fertilizer on the bottom, not on the top". Hint: that's a subtle crack at a bunch of crap from the past season.

- He believes the farm system strengths are catching and middle infield, and states that we are not quite there on pitching. He has changed scouting since arrival and the way the M's "push" players. His example of this was Travis Blackley. One of Blackley's first major league starts was against the Oakland A's and he got rocked. After getting pulled Blackley threw a fit in the dugout. Bavasi remarked that Blackley had "no clude how to handle adversity" and had been moved through the farm system far too slowly. He believes in the previous regime Felix would just now be starting in AAA. His philosophy is to move players quickly through the minors so they learn how to handle adversity early.

- He was asked about the infamous 12 man pitching staff. He is not a fan of it, but stated that as long as Meche and Piniero fail to get deep into games we need that 12th man. Unfortunately it's difficult to argue with that.

- His expectations for Adrian Beltre are similar to last year, a little bit over the aggregate of his previous years. He thinks Jeff Pentland will be a good hitting instructor for him, as Pentland has had success with big sluggers before (Sosa, Sheffield). He believes our offense is riding on Beltre.

- His best comments were about Chris Snelling. The M's would not have signed Carl Everett because of Chris. While Jacque Jones (USSM favorite) was intriguing, he wanted a multiyear deal. Because Everett only wanted a single year (with a vestable option that Bavasi doesn't feel will be easy to attain) he was a better option to leave room for Snelling. Doyle himself will be starting on the 15 day DL and Bavasi thinks he could be ready in a month! Wow! Apparently Snelling will also be "the only guy in the history of the game who we are going to teach how to slide headfirst" in order to protect those legs.

- Kenji Johjima was the "easiest free agency signing ever". He wanted a first contract someplace comfortable and also "someplace that didn't have any catching". We fit the market pretty well.

- Back to his philosophy on signing veteran free agents, Bavasi stated that Scott Spiezio "was not an age issue, it was a mental explosion issue". I liked that. He did feel they overpaid for Beltre, but it was worth it because of his youth. We were more interested in Jarrod Washburn when the Angels didn't offer him arbitration so we could keep that second draft pick, he does have high expectations for Washburn, but not for upside. Overall signing free agent pitching scares the hell out of him. He was not comfortable with the years and the money, but the the numbers and injury rumors were worse with Kevin Millwood.

- On drafting, he basically lets Bob Fontaine pick the guy and he stays out of the way. He has given Fontaine their list of options, which include "1. Pitching 2. Pitching and 3. Pitching". This is a pitching-deep draft and they are excited with who they might land.

- Finally, he was asked about the possibility of Rafael Soriano in the rotation. He dropped the bomb that pitching coach Rafael Chaves would like to have Soriano as a starter (which I would love) but the medical staff believes it is too soon after his tommy john surgery. It would then be yet another guy who needs his innings watched and the team doesn't want to do that again. I'm just glad it's an option.

Overall, Bavasi was engaging and personable. He didn't cut corners and we all really appreciated his time. I do hope he manages to win enough to stick around, because our farm system is going to start producing under him to give us sustainable success in the future.

posted by Gavin @ 3:26 PM  0 comments

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