Monday, October 04, 2004

It Wasn't All Bob Melvin's Fault

The Seattle Mariners, after having had some very good seasons in recent years, fell to 63 wins and 99 losses this year. They haven't had a season this bad in a long while. Manager Bob Melvin bore the brunt of his team's lousy play, as he was fired today by General Manager Bill Bavasi.

In all fairness, Bavasi didn't give Melvin the best team for the 2004 season. Bavasi hired some free agents during the off-season, thinking several older veteran players would be positive additions to an already-aging Seattle ballclub.

- He let Mariner center fielder Mike Cameron leave via free agency, and signed Kansas City outfielder Raul Ibanez (a former Mariner) because he thought Ibanez would post some good power numbers at the M' ballpark, Safeco Field. Ibanez proved to be a good addition offensively, but the loss of Cameron's glove in center field hurt the Mariners' overall defense.

- He traded talented shortstop Carlos Guillen to the Detroit Tigers for lesser players, and Guillen went on to have a career year in Detroit.

- He replaced Guillen at shortstop with veteran Rich Aurilia... who turned out to be bust. No bat, very average glove. Aurilia ended up being released during the season.

- Scott Speizio was signed to play third base after the previous two seasons' disaster with Jeff Cirillo manning that position. Speizio hit about as poorly as Cirillo. His band Sandfrog is actually pretty good, and Speizio is a good singer. Maybe "musician" should be his day job.

- The Mariners had several older players who had been signed to contract extensions. First baseman John Olerud played poorly, and was released. Designated hitter Edgar Martinez performed admirably in in his final season, and his lesser performance could have been expected due to his age. Second Baseman Bret Boone simply had a sub-par season. Starting pitcher Jamie Moyer, still pitching at 41, had a lackluster season.

A couple of positive notes: the team called up a bunch of young players from AAA, and the farmhands didn't look too bad. The team was slightly better after the All-Star break (31-45) than before it (32-54).

My guess is that management wanted a field manager with more fire. Melvin was about the most laid-back manager imaginable. He wasn't very animated at all, and having a manager who often looked mopey probably didn't do wonders for team morale during all the losing.

It's tough to tell what kind of guy they hire for 2005, but he won't be as laid-back as Melvin.

Goodbye Bob, you will end up finding another job in baseball and doing well.


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