Given the 2007 season, the announcement Thursday that both general manager Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren will return next season is bound to be met with wildly mixed responses.
How could it not?
Before spring training began, there were those who wanted Bavasi fired – and, ironically, most of those same voices wanted Mike Hargrove fired and replaced with then-bench coach McLaren.
Well, Hargrove departed on his own June 2, and those who’d wanted him canned call him a quitter on his way out of town.
It was that kind of season.
With a team few thought would be .500 – the prediction here was an 84-win season – Bavasi kept his core players and added hitters like Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro. In a market where there were few pitchers available who could make a difference, he landed Miguel Batista, who was a solid contributor.
And he added free agent Jeff Weaver and traded for Horacio Ramirez, who were not.
McLaren inherited a rotation where no one seemed to want to pitch as many as seven innings a start and a young bullpen that by mid-August simply ran out of quality innings.
In Jose Lopez, he had a young player who started coasting. McLaren dealt with by benching the second baseman until he was certain he’d gotten his attention.
In Richie Sexson, he had a veteran having the worst season of his career. McLaren sat him occasionally, worked with him and tried to get from Sexson what the man’s career indicated he could deliver.
That didn’t work.
Another way to look at the season is to ask what if Howard Lincoln had fired Bavasi and Hargrove last September, after the Mariners won 78 games.
If a new GM and new manager had then put together this season, with 84 wins and four games to play – and that once was on the brink of the post-season – would reaction have been the same.