Howard, Howard, Howard. Can I call you Howie? HoLo? No? Ok, Howard it will be.
My name is Matt Paige, Seattle Side Up Baseball Editor and member of the Seattle fan base who have watched and lamented the Mariners during most of your tenure as CEO of the team. We’ve watched with pained expressions as you made media gaffe after media gaffe. Ok, so working with the press isn’t your forte; that’s no crime. I’ve made my peace with you remaining as CEO of the team. As long as Nintendo continues to remain the absent owner they prefer to be, you will be the CEO. That is how it will remain until your retirement in a few years.
The Truth Hurts
But let’s be honest here for a minute: your tenure as CEO of the M’s doesn’t have the most sparkling of records. You’ve overseen the team since the mid 90s, and you’ve been credited with chasing away a HOF General Manager, and at least 2 Managers. During the 20 years of your management, the team has made the playoffs 4 times and had a losing record 10 of those years (soon to be 11 most likely). You hired one of the least competent GMs in recent history in Bill Bavasi, and attempted to correct the wrong with the hiring of Jack Zduriencik.
Here is the Deal
That brings me to my point for this letter. It’s time to move on from Jack Z, and end your career on a high note. The opportunity presents itself right now to make a literal game-changing move.
Jack Z has misrepresented himself, overseen the signing of albatross contracts, and refuses to learn from his mistakes. He’s fundamentally misjudged the type of roster he needs at the major league level to succeed and it’s time for him to move on. Everyone in baseball is aware of this, and a part of you must know it too.
Need a fix? I got the good stuff
But who would you move on to? The first thing you need to do is assess the needs of the organization.
- Good minors scouting base, as we tend to have a moderately-ranked farm system. The system continues to produce pitchers for us on the cheap, but struggles to adequately coach up the hitting. So that’s something that needs to be addressed.
- Major league level scouting needs work. There’s a lack of focus on defense in a cavernous outfield.
- Finally, you need someone who can construct a roster to fit the strengths and weaknesses of Safeco Field, as you’ll be playing at least 80 games there.
Wins Above Replacement Level GM
To that effect, I’ve come up with 3 potential candidates that deserve real consideration. These 3 deserve to be given the red carpet treatment and a serious salary as they all possess the ability to take this team to the next level.
- Michael Girsch (Asst. GM of the St Louis Cardinals)
- Oversees the Scouting and Player Development of one of the best systems in baseball
- Has experience with negotiations and all transactions
- Built a “Baseball Development” department with the Cardinals, focusing on analytics and scouting report structure
- Jason McLeod (VP of the Chicago Cubs)
- Oversees all Player Development and Scouting
- Has worked in same role for San Diego Padres, and Scouting Director for Boston Red Sox
- Encourages review of scouts and their performance at judging talent
- David Forst (Asst. GM of the Oakland Athletics)
- 10 years as Assistant GM to one of the best GMs in the business, Billy Beane
- Has been coached in negotiations and experience rebuilding teams
These men have the experience we need, and the knowledge to take the Mariners into the future. You may not agree with them on decisions they make, but they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt in the industry’s eyes. Check the wishlist of any other team that needs a GM and these 3 will be near the top, and for good reason.
So Howard, please make the right call and pull the trigger soon. The good ship Mariner is not righting itself this season, and the fall guy should NOT be the hitting coach. The problem is more systemic than that; it’s the Architect. Save your legacy and bring in a forward thinker who can finally bring the Mariners into the 21st century.