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GM who traded Shin-Soo Choo away from Seattle: “I just blew it”

Dec 27, 2013, 11:20 AM EDT

Shin-Soo Choo Getty Getty Images

Rob Neyer had a fun and refreshing email conversation with Bill Bavasi, the former general manager of the Seattle Mariners who — sad to say — didn’t exactly have a great tenure in Seattle.  But what he does have now is some refreshing candor about his judgment in trading Shin-Soo Choo for [gulp] Ben Broussard.

Go check out Bavasi’s assessment of that deal and how he got to it. Short version: he says “I just blew it.” You’ll see none of the corporate GMSpeak that is so common these days. Just pure “oh well” accountability, which is kind of nice.

In other news: Shin-Soo Choo passed his physical, making his $130 million deal with the Rangers official.

  1. frankgarrett - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    the whole city of Seattle Sucks. The People are Trash . Id piss on everyone if I could

    • Tick - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      No one gave you any spare change today, huh? Might want to go stand in front of a different Starbucks.

      • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        Ackcherley, there’s a Cow Chip Cookies cafe on the southwest corner of Pioneer Square. That might be a more appropriate spot. On a weekend morning, it’s packed with big-hearted yuppies. Another suggestion: stand at the foot of the Lenin statue in Fremont. You’re sure to attract the beneficence of a sympathetic tovarich or two.

        Failing that, there’s the prototype Crapper in the basement of Doc Maynard’s. You could take yourself and your overactive bile duck and flush yourself to happiness and contentment.

      • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        Heh heh, duct….hope no one’s taping this….

    • bigkurt6 - Dec 27, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      This isn’t Philly…. come on man

    • lostsok - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      Please don’t piss on everyone in Seattle, Frank. Then it’d smell like New York.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM


  3. pisano - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    It’s not like the guys Ken Griffey Jr. for Gods sake, he’s barely over the Mendoza line (under .200) against lefties. Bavisi acts like this guys the second coming of Christ. I can’t believe he got the contract he got, he should be thankful it was a small free agent pool this year.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      He might not be Ken Griffey Jr. but he’s also not Ben Broussard.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      A) Batting average is incomplete.

      B) Plate appearances against RHP count too. The man posted one of the highest OBPs in baseball. The fact that he did it with a pretty severe platoon split just means he was that much more ridiculous against the majority of pitchers.

      He’s not Barry Bonds, and I wouldn’t have given him that contract, but he’s a really effing good hitter and looking at only his warts seriously misrepresents what he brings to the table.

      • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        A) No, that’s his whole batting average.

  4. asimonetti88 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Bavasi had his share of moments he could say he “just blew it” on with the Mariners… Richie Sexson… Scott Spiezio… Carlos Guillen trade… Erik Bedard trade… Mariners GMs lately just haven’t been able to recapture the SoDo Mojo.

  5. wlouden77 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    this is the same gm that also traded Asdrubal Cabrera to the Indians for Eduardo Perez a month before the Choose trade

  6. Kevin Gillman - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    As an Indians fan, thank you for the Choo and Cabrera trade. The Indians held on to Choo at the right time as well. We knew he wasn’t staying, so why not get value for him? I agree though he surely isn’t the right player to get that massive contract. Texas needs to watch this very closely. What does Choo do in 4 years? He’s never hit 25 HRs in a season, will that change in Texas?

  7. vegagreenleaf - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Bavasi may be a classy guy – I certainly wouldn’t know (or care), but he was possibly the worst GM in the history of the game. Certainly the worst the Mariners have had.

  8. The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    To be fair, almost nobody at the time of the trade thought it was a bad move for the Mariners. The only writer I could find who had any issue with it was Keith Law, who was then of course called an idiot by every Mariners fan in the country for thinking Choo had any value, and totally underestimating the awesomeness of Broussard.

    Bavasi may have blown it, but a whole lot of guys would have made the same mistake on this one. Some of his other deals, well….

    • Reflex - Dec 27, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      While there is truth to what you say, in the case of Bavasi its the pattern more than the individual deals that matter. He inherited a team with a rich farm system(despite Gillick’s win-now approach), a dominant position in their division that had been sustained for at that point about 8 years, and owners who were willing to elevate payroll to meet needs and squandered it while deconstructing the entire franchise down to nothing.

      Bavasi is why I give JackZ a pass so far. It is not a trivial task to rebuild a franchise as thoroughly destroyed as the M’s were when he took over. Dead last in the farm system, a ton of bloated, useless contracts, ownership that lost faith in the product and declining attendance mostly going to see the aging Ichiro. Jack made his share of mistakes(Chone Figgins, one year too many of Griffey’s return, etc) but he has rebuilt the farm system both in the draft and some savvy trades, finished off the terrible contracts and at the least has a core that *could* become a contender. Whether it will or not I have no idea(he is terrible at picking managers for instance), but its a huge improvement over the Bavasi era.

      Really Bavasi was one of the worst GM’s in the modern history of the game IMO.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 27, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        Swap you Joba for Felix.

      • jackvcr - Dec 27, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        Not in your humble opinion, Reflex. In your learned opinion. What a gonad Bavasi was as a GM.

  9. jackvcr - Dec 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    “Just pure “oh well” accountability, which is kind of nice.”

    There was not a single thing about Bavasi that was kind of nice. He was a laughable joke as GM in Seattle. But you got one part right: “oh well” was definitely part of that loser’s regimen.

  10. yahmule - Dec 27, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Buzzie Bavasi spent 50 years in major league baseball. His well directed influence enabled two grossly unqualified sons to ascend to general manager positions.

  11. fearthehoody - Dec 27, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Bavasi is a clown! He set the M’s back a decade!

  12. mikhelb - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    It is easy to say right now that he “lost” in that trade, but back then Broussard was already producing at the MLB level, Choo was a high OBP guy with not a lot of power in the minors with an awful split vs LHP.

    If anything, Bavasi is “guilty” of not giving Choo a chance to play a full season before trading him.

    Maybe a high OBP outfielder was not a priority for Seattle (Ichiro+Ibáñez+others) and they needed a 1B/DH with power (they had Carl Everett with an awful season and to rest Sexon from time to time) and pulled the trigger trading Choo (in his short stint in two seasons he was bad with the Mariners, but it might as well be a lack of at bats).

    • Reflex - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      I just want to point out that Broussard even back then was a part time player with seriously bad splits. Choo was a young prospect with a good set of tools (some power, some speed, good defense, good OBP, etc). The M’s never gave him a fair shot, in the minors he was a .297/.385 hitter, which is damn impressive considering he had power and speed to go with it.

      The deal was dumb. Some of the more advanced analysts noted it at the time. Presumably a team has access to even more comprehensive information than the analysts.

  13. soulsy22 - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    When did Choo become The second coming of Babe Ruth

  14. lostsok - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Wow, even Bavasi knows he sucks. Oddly, that move might not make his Ten Worst list…

  15. dirtyharry1971 - Dec 28, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    AA in Toronto must have been saying this to himself all of last year “I blew it” , heck that should be his nickname cause that’s all he ever does

  16. sidelineshot - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    These guys in the front office of professional sports … some of them are just so predictable.
    They don’t spend much on their farm systems and player development/assessment. Yet, they are quick to sign supposed super stars for mega stratospheric contracts to make the proverbial “splash”.
    The predictable part is that, in most cases (90%+), they proceed to regret what they’ve just done before the ink on the contract is even dry.

    Think Rays, Cardinals, Boston (post Theo Epstein), Oakland, Snakes and even the Cubs (Theo learned his lesson). These teams build a good roster without the madness … and win long-term.

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