Tag:Bill Bavasi
Posted on: July 23, 2008 4:02 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2008 7:26 pm
 

Phillies focus on Grabow, Sherrill

The Phillies, who had been among the more aggressive teams pursuing Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, have shifted their attention to Pittsburgh left-hander John Grabow and Baltimore lefty George Sherrill, according to sources.

Phillies special assistant Charley Kerfeld has been in Houston watching the Pirates, and the Phillies had three different scouts in to watch the Orioles during their current homestand. While the Phillies have also shown interest in Pittsburgh outfielder Xavier Nady, a deal for Grabow is considered a much stronger possibility.

As for Fuentes, there's still some question about whether the Rockies will trade him. Even if they do, the Phillies now consider him too expensive in terms of the players they would have to give up.

The Orioles seem increasingly likely to trade Sherrill. The Baltimore Sun reported that both St. Louis and Milwaukee have shown interest, but the Angels might have a better chance to get him by offering shortstop Erick Aybar. As one scout who has followed the Orioles said: "Baltimore is dying for a shortstop, and Aybar could be a regular for them."

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has told people that his phone has been ringing off the hook since Sherrill pitched so well in the All-Star Game last week.

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One scout who has watched Seattle regularly this season said that while he doesn't really like left-hander Jarrod Washburn, he still thinks Washburn would be a decent fit with the Yankees.

"That's who he needs to pitch with, because he needs runs," the scout said. "He's another Bill Bavasi mistake. If the Mariners can get rid of Washburn, they should. If they get rid of him, that would help whoever gets that (Seattle GM) job next year."

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The Mets know they have little chance of winning without closer Billy Wagner, and they also know there's no way they have enough chips to trade for someone who could successfully replace Wagner if he can't pitch. That's why they still list a corner outfielder, preferably one who bats right-handed, as their primary need, with relief help and even another starting pitcher behind that.

The Mets have talked about Nady and also Jason Bay, but it's doubtful they have enough to get either one from the Pirates. It might be more realistic to think that they could get Casey Blake from Cleveland, or Austin Kearns from Washington. Seattle's Raul Ibanez has also been discussed, even though he bats left-handed.

 

Posted on: June 20, 2008 7:56 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2008 9:12 pm
 

Gillick on Cito, and other happenings

Pat Gillick, who won two World Series in Toronto with Cito Gaston as his manager, said he wouldn't be surprised to see Gaston succeed in his second go-round with the Blue Jays.

"I think he can," said Gillick, now the Phillies general manager. "But it depends on what kind of players he's got."

Gillick said he agrees with the idea that Cito was the right manager for the players Toronto had in the early 1990s.

"Absolutely," he said. "Cito did a great job. He had a tremendous rapport with the players. He's certainly a players' manager. People think it's pretty easy, but sometimes it's easier to screw up a good club than to keep them where they should be."

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Of the three teams that fired managers this week, you might have noticed that the Mariners were the only one that also fired their general manager.

There are those in baseball who believe that Bill Bavasi lost his job as Seattle GM because he wouldn't fire John McLaren himself. And there are just as many who believe that J.P. Ricciardi in Toronto and Omar Minaya with the Mets are in serious danger, if not now than at least at the end of the season.

Asked how Ricciardi could fire John Gibbons, his longtime friend, one veteran baseball man responded: "You don't worry about friends when your own job's on the line."

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That's three managerial firings in four days, with Willie Randolph early Tuesday morning, McLaren on Thursday and Gibbons today.

Tough time to be a manager?

"It's the nature of the game for anyone in this position," said the Angels' Mike Scioscia. "The only job security is performance."

Scioscia's job security, of course, ranks near the top of the list. But then, so does his performance.

"Those guys (who got fired) are terrific baseball men," Scioscia said. "But everybody's going to look at your report card and ask, are you getting the most out of your players?"

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Kudos to classy Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, who accepted full responsibility today when reporters asked him about his baserunning blunder Wednesday night. Hunter lost track of how many outs there were, and started jogging back to the dugout thinking the inning was over.

"It was the worst feeling in baseball," he said. "I've talked trash and pulled young guys over when they've done something like that. I was like an ostrich, with my head in the sand. It won't happen again. Trust me. You won't have to write that story again."

Incidentally, Hunter said getting away from the Metrodome's artificial turf has made a huge difference in how he feels this year.

"God knew what he was doing when he made grass -- it's healthier," Hunter said. "It's like organic food vs. antibiotic food. Organic's good for you."

*****

The Yankees are understandably happy with how Joba Chamberlain's move to the starting rotation has worked out, but it remains to be seen whether Chamberlain will be efficient enough with his pitches to work deep into the game against the better lineups in the American League. He needed 100 pitches to finish 5 2/3 innings Thursday against the weak-hitting Padres, and he's averaging nearly 18 pitches an inning in his four starts.

"Some days, 100 pitches might get you eight innings," Yankee manager Joe Girardi said hopefully. "Some days it might get you six or five. The key is that you shut down the other team."

That's true enough, but some are calling Joba the ace the Yankees need in Chien-Ming Wang's absence. You'd like an ace to get you into the late innings regularly, and it could be tough for Joba to do that right now (especially since the Yankees will be understandably cautious with his pitch counts).

Posted on: June 19, 2008 2:01 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2008 5:38 pm
 

What next for the M's?

First the general manager. Now the manager.

It's been quite a week in Seattle, hasn't it?

The Mariners aren't as big a soap opera as the Mets, but they might be an even bigger mess. One scout who just watched them play said the only way to get things turned around would be to trade Ichiro. Don't expect that to happen.

Already Bill Bavasi is the ex-GM, and John McLaren is the ex-manager (replaced today by Jim Riggleman). What's clear now is that almost anyone else wearing a Seattle uniform could be gone, too. Erik Bedard, Carlos Silva (if anyone will take his salary), maybe Miguel Batista, maybe even J.J. Putz (if he can prove that he's healthy). They can't trade Richie Sexson, but they could release him.

Interim GM Lee Pelekoudas explained today's firing of manager John McLaren by saying the M's "owe it to ourselves and our fans to do everything we can to win as many games as possible."

No they don't. They're 17 1/2 games out. They're not coming back. They need to tear apart this team so they can start all over.

Posted on: June 16, 2008 7:51 pm
 

Avila could give M's overhaul they need

The Mariners chose Bill Bavasi over Al Avila in 2003, and less than five years later, they're again looking for a new general manager.

Maybe this time they should hire Avila, who as Dave Dombrowski's assistant has helped revive the Tigers.

Dombrowski and Avila overhauled the Tigers when they took over, and the same type of overhaul is needed now in Seattle. There isn't a quick fix. Listen to what M's pitcher Jarrod Washburn told reporters Sunday: "There's no sign of turning it around. We're not good."

The thing is, the Mariners were in need of an overhaul in 2003, too, and they didn't get one. They were an aging team, and yet they kept trying to convince themselves they were a move away. That's how you end up with a $117 million payroll and the worst record in baseball.

It's strange to look back at the Mariners-Orioles trade from the winter, the one that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle. Now the M's are a mess, and could well trade Bedard. Meanwhile, the Orioles -- who finally themselves realized an overhaul was in order -- are respectable at 34-34.

I'm in Philadelphia tonight, and the Phillies honored Orioles third-base coach Juan Samuel by inducting him into their Wall of Fame. Samuel said the thing about the young Orioles is that "they think they can win, and they talk about winning." He also said that they've turned things around because there's been a focus on playing the game right, starting with manager Dave Trembley, and the players have bought into it.

Why have they bought into it?

"Because they see the results," Samuel said.

They see results in Seattle, too -- negative results.

 
 
 
 
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