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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fire Mike Hargrove    

The Mariners probably should have swept the Blue Jays this weekend. After these past two games, in which even in extra innings our best reliever did not make an appearance, the total for games lost only by Hargrove's idiocy, based on rough guesses about the likely outcome if we had been smarter, is now at least three. It could be as high as five or six, depending, but it's not like this is a great team that can be expected to perform particularly well in hypothetically superior matchups or anything. I count two completely, 100% management-blown games, and six more that there's a very good chance we would have won (not to mention several that we barely managed to win in spite of inept in-game management).

Three games would be the difference between our current record of 44-48 (last in the AL West) and 47-45--second place and one game back. We could very well be first and picking up steam right now if some of the more toss-up situations worked in our favor. I can't describe how frustrating it is to sit here on the internet and witness these horrible decisions unfold. I'm sure I don't need to point out that Carl Everett is something like the second-worst DH in the AL this year, and Guardado personally cost the team four games (four games!) this year by virtue of being completely incompetent. Both of these disasters were forseeable and preventable.

It's nice to know that by the time the Mariners have a legit shot to compete, next year, these problems should all be fixed. But it's incredibly frustrating to watch it unfold. If this team dumps Everett, Hargrove, and one of Mateo/Piñeiro (relegating the other to exclusively low-pressure situations) right now, we still have a chance at this thing. But time is running out, and the Mariners are just not the kind of organization that feels comfortable doing something like firing Hargrove mid-season. I don't think this team can make the playoffs with him managing games, so barring a miracle, I'm giving up on this season.

I am still very, very excited about 2007, but as excited as I am, I'm just as nervous about the future capacity of this organization to evaluate aging players who just don't have it anymore and the tendency to favor idiotic, good ol' boy management. And that Washburn contract is even more horrible than I thought it was at the time. I can't believe he's going to be clogging up our rotation for 3 more years. Say what you want about the Beltre and Sexson contracts, which were both pretty high-risk and can probably be classified as busts at this point, but at least they made some sense from a player-evaluation standpoint.

All this team needs to add next year is one good and one competent starting pitcher (and to extend Eduardo Pérez for another year), and the rest should take care of itself. We have the money; we have youth and talent. It's all going to waste right now.

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