Mariners Analysis

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tampa Bay can play

My daughter used to say "Tampa Bay can't play" all the time, but with the Bucs having already won a Super Bowl and the Rays getting to the WS I think it's safe to say "Seattle can't play."

I'll be rooting for the Rays, and would like to take a minute to ask all the traditional baseball types to pause and reflect on what they saw- a young, talented team beating "experience" and "veterans" and every other tired cliche you can think of.

Remember when some analysts opined the Rays made a mistake by not trading for a veteran bullpen arm? What did they think when Price closed out the game?

It's human nature to try and cherry pick stats. I ask all the "traditional" minded baseball fans to remember this series the next time an argument is made that favors experience over talent. I'll take the talent every time.

So now we have Moyer versus the Rays. I hope Moyer pitches well in his start, but the Rays win in 5. I don' think it will be that easy, but I do expect the Rays to win the series.


Now quickly on the M's GM search.

The team blew it.

I know that seems strong, but I really feel the team made a mistake in the hiring process. The list of candidates is hardly the worst you could put together, but let me ask you a simple question.

Would you rather have the selection pool be A or B:
A- The current final four list.
B- The list of people who rejected the teams interest.

Frankly, I'll take B every time. The list of people who declined included my personal favorite, Hoyer from the Sox. And here's why I think the team made a mistake in the process.

The team has decided to go in to the interview process completely open minded. Lincoln and company compiled a list and invited every one with an equal invitation. Come and explain how you would build this team, and we'll listen and pick the answer we like best.

Nothing wrong with that, some would say. But here's the problem with that approach.

It's not how execs like to be chosen.

The reality is politics and apperance play a huge role in job selection at the highest level. No rising exec wants to interview for a job and get turned down. Instead, they want their body of work to speak for itself. Those with the big egos and minds don't feel an interview should determine who gets a job. Instead, the interview process is just a meet and greet, more to do a final relationship and getting to know each other than actually pick a "winner."

Imagine you are a "hope to be GM" hot shot like Hoyer. You want the phone call conversation to be something like...

"Jed, we love the work you've done for the Red Sox. We've done our homework and think you've got what it takes to be the next GM for Seattle. We'd like to sit down with you and discuss the opportunity and get to know each other in the process. The jobs yours if you want it."

Instead, Howard and Chuck went with this...

"Jed, we have heard a lot of good things about your work with the Red Sox. We've already interviewed seven people for the job. Why don't you come in and make it number eight? If you do a good job, you might even make the short list, but be prepared! We are going to ask some tough questions in the interview process. We have not made any decisions but want to hear how you would go about turning this team around."

Is it a big suprise guys like Hoyer turned down the opportunity?

If you really, really want someone who have to go after it. If you wanted a Cashman, you need to quietly send the word no check is too big to make it happen. If you want Beane's right hand man, you go after him first. The interviews with the Ng's of the world who are just happy to have a shot can wait. You get the person you want, not wait to see who will show up for the interview.

The good news is the team will definitely end up with a better exec than Bavasi. It's the advantage of starting from absolute bottom. But I'm not all that impressed with the final four, and I think the M's made a classic mistake in the interview process.