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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

February 15, 2007 at 7:52 AM

Money talks, underachievement walks

The sun is out and the dew is on the grass, so it must be the official first day of spring training here in lovely Peoria. A healthy contingent of Mariners pitchers, catchers and early-arriving position players are now sequestered in the clubhouse getting a “Win one for the Gipper!” — or is that “Skipper”? — speech from manager Mike Hargrove. It goes without saying that the jobs of both Hargrove and GM Bill Bavasi are on the line over the next few months, especially in light of this morning’s news that team payroll has climbed to $111 million.
It amazes me, having spent nine seasons covering the Blue Jays in Toronto, that Seattle fans take up so much time questioning the commitment of ownership to spend money. Now, I’m no owner’s shill (just put a call in to Blue Jay Way and ask), but from the perspective of a recent outsider, the problem for the Mariners isn’t how much money is being spent. It’s how the bucks are being used. At $95 million, the M’s could barely get away with not being compared to the incompetence so often cited in reference to the Baltimore Orioles under Peter Angelos. At $111 million? Forget about it. That is big-time money and another last-place result, or even a sub-.500 season, simply can’t happen. If it does, the Orioles won’t be alone on that page in the Baseball 101 handbook on how not to go about spending to win.
One of baseball’s good guys has caught on with somebody else yet again.
Looks like the Mariners will hit the field in another five minutes — 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Must have been a short speech. We’ll update you on more later.

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