Friday, August 10, 2007

Mariners should extend Bavasi

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 While in Anaheim, Bavasi regularly superseded that standard.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.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The moves of the Boston Celtics

I was talking with a buddy about the Celtics today and it finally struck me what I like so much about what Danny Ainge and the Celtics did this off-season acquiring both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Too often teams over value their own talent. The Celtics did the opposite. Some of their players were nice but none of them were anything special. Al Jefferson is currently overvalued because he put up good numbers on a bad team. He is a nice player, but not a star player and to win you must get a star player.

Teams do the young re-building thing all the time. It doesn't work unless you get a star. The NBA is a star's league. The Celtics didn't have a star so they moved a bunch of acquired assets and got established players. The day the Blazers and the Sonics won the lottery the Celtics made the correct decision to move all their assets. Had they got Durant or Oden they would have seemingly had their star.

I can't tell you how many times talking to a GM I have heard how one of his players is really going to be fantastic in a few years so we can't move him now. Every now and again a Rashard Lewis comes around who actually develops, but more often than not it never happens. Which means teams hold onto potential that never develops.

It is refreshing to see someone do the opposite. A tip of the hat to Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pacers and Sonics face truth on the cycle

It is obvious that the Pacers are looking to trade Jermaine O'Neal and start a rebuilding process. What jumps out at me is that the Pacers and the Sonics are at the same point. Both of these franchises were at the top of their games in the mid 90's. Each got one trip to the NBA Finals.

However, after their single trip to the NBA Finals parts of their roster started tpo fall apart. For the Sonics, Shawn Kemp went off the deep end simultaneously the core of Det, Perkins (thanks for the correction) the Hawk, etc all started aging. For the Pacers Rik Smits called it quits and the rest of their crew namely Reggie Miller started to age.

Neither team was willing to un-load and rebuild at that moment. Instead, they both tried to re-gain the magic and avoid the inevitable cycle that is the NBA. We all know the Sonics path trying everything from Patrick Ewing to resurrecting Vin to trading GP for Ray. The Pacers gambled with Ron Artest, ran out the string with Reggie and gambled on Peja.

The point is that neither franchise was willing to coincide that the NBA goes in cycles and your time on the top is limited and the fall is unceremonious. The Spurs are the only team to avoid the fall and that is because they hit the jackpot with Duncan. Had they not gotten Duncan when David Robinson retired they would have the same place that the Knicks, Boston, Houston, Chicago and the rest ended up.

It is inevitable in the NBA.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

And then their is today

After feeling so good last night -- today's Mariners performance has to make you shake your head. However, big picture they have won 3 of the last 4 series against very good teams.