Okay, I appreciate Shannon Drayer and all the information that she provides us. She’s a lot of fun and interacts with pretty much anyone and everyone on twitter. I’ve never heard of anything negative about her and it won’t certainly start from me. But, I have to be honest I usually have to be directed to her blog. And it’s usually after she’s written something of interest. It’s like hanging out with old friends that live reasonable close but not close enough to interact and as they leave, you realize how awesome of a time you guys had and you don’t understand why you don’t do it more often. But then you don’t call them and it goes another undisclosed period of time before you see them, again. See where I’m going with this?
Well… she wrote a really solid blog post the other day and I caught it hot off the presses since I follow her on twitter. Here is a great little excerpt.
I wasn’t a fan of the trade at the time and would wonder from time-to-time if Guillen would have had the same breakout seasons had he stayed in Seattle, but it was a move that didn’t happen that winter and I think it hurt the Mariners even more. A move that appeared to be possible at the time and not only would have helped the team avoid a huge slide, but very well could have put them on the winning path.
The Mariners missed out on their off season target that year: shortstop Miguel Tejada. Tejada was a free agent for the first time in his career and a highly sought after bat. Bill Bavasi had discussions with Tejada’s agent, Fern Cuza, at the winter meetings but Tejada would leave New Orleans with a 6-year, $72 million dollar contract from the Baltimore Orioles.
Here she highlights a specific time in which she believes was the turning point in the organization. Of course she also mentions Larry Stones’ own piece on the same subject just a few days ago. It can be fun to talk about what could have been. Though, obviously other times it sucks rehashing these scars. You know like drafting Tim Lincecum, trading Shin-Soo Choo, and signing Carlos Silva. Those get old. But other times… well I’m sure it can be fun in some way or another.
Both Larry Stone and Shannon Drayer chose to take similar perspectives. Where the team stopped progressing and being entertaining, and instead became a horrific train wreck of an organization. My words not theirs. Maybe from their perspective the organization never really reached the epic levels of such a terrible event. But undeniable is the level of poor play and the downward spiral that the team saw under Bill Bavasi, who took over in the 2003-2004 off-season.
That’s the same off-season in which Carlos Guillen was traded and there is without a doubt a great argument to be had for that being the point in which everything to a turn for the worse. But the biggest turning point in the Mariners organization happened, by my point of view, outside the actual organization. There is something awful that happened with the Mariners losing to the Yankees in the 2001 playoffs. They had accomplished one of the most historic seasons ever compiled over 162 games. Then were cast aside before reaching their ultimate destination and goal, the World Series.
Then in 2002, the Mariners, who were in first place for the majority of the season, choked it all away over a weeks time in the middle of August. Which was sad enough but it also ended in the reign of Lou Piniella. His relationship with the front office was obvious rocky and by the end of the season he was oddly enough traded to Tampa for Randy Winn.
This was the on field management shake up instituded by Pat Gillick prior to his departure. But again this turning pointed didn’t truely lie in anything the Mariners actually did. Rather it was the lack of what they did. The Mariners didn’t do anything big in the off-season of 2002 or 2003. Instead they realized that they had the talent. But, the front office put the pressure on Bill Bavasi and as we often retell he made poor decisions under that pressure.
That pressure wasn’t the undoing of the Mariners franchise. Rather it was where that pressure was coming from. Now, many people can talk about that coming from pressure Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln and I’m sure those are the two that applied there is enough evidence to support such a claim. But the pressure itself and the originator of all the trouble came from the 2002 Angels.
A team that won the World Series. A team that overtook the Mariners. Follow a season later by losing out on the division by 3 games and losing out on the wild card by 2 games. There is a reason why there was an impulse to spend and collect aging talent as it was going out of style. They were desperate. While it took two years for the affects to be fully felt, these moves were by a desperate man trying to reclaim what had been lost.
Losing out on a young Carlos Guillen, as well as seeing the team overspend on Scott Spiezio hurt. No doubt about it. But there is a root cause here in my opinion. Again, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Ultimately arguing one way or another on why something failed is a rather sad task. It’s important to understand why things didn’t work out but going any deeper only exploits pain, so I guess this was all done in vain. But, I just had a thought and I needed something to write today being that it was Superbowl Sunday. I hope you ate a lot and that you rooted for the Giants. If you didn’t root for the Giants it means you didn’t have as much fun as those that did root for the Giants. Because winning is more fun than losing. Fact.
Get ready guys and girls. Regardless of who and when started the Mariners descent. It’s less than a week until Pitchers and Catchers report and that marks the new rise in this organization. One that is considered very highly among prospect analyst and an organization that is regarded with a new vigor. Push aside the thoughts of what the Angels and Rangers did this off-season and focus on what we’ve done. This isn’t a who spent the most competition, unlike popular belief, it’s about the guys that we added to this roster and the progress of the youngster becoming a combination of viable major league regulars and all-star candidates.
We went through some bad days. But the sun is setting on that period and time and a new day and era is beginning.