Former Seattle manager Bob Melvin is "a real good man. He works hard. He cares about his players," that according to the GM that just fired him, Bill Bavasi.
Bavasi would not tell reporters why he let Melvin go but did praise his hard work and commitment. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Bob," quoth Bavasi. Why he'd even give Melvin a reference for another managerial job:
"To the untrained eye, I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth," Bavasi said. "We just let him go, but I'm recommending him. In this crazy business, that fits because he will do things differently the second time. He had some bad luck here."
All Bavasi would say was that the decision to fire Melvin "crystalized in my mind" over the past five or six days.
But given that I have a "trained eye", I know what Bavasi's doing here. In the biz we call it CYA. He's finding a scapegoat before he becomes one himself. Bavasi refused to trade young arms at the trade dealine in 2003. The M's ended up missing the wild card by just two games. That's OK, he must have told management. The Mariners were rebuilding for the future on those young arms. So when the team fell apart like tissue paper this season, who's to blame? Why, Bob Melvin. Surely, he was the reason that 41-year-old Jamie Moyer came back to earth in 2004. He signed Scott Spiezio to play third. He invested $4 M on Raul Ibanez in 2004. He sign Rich Aurilia, who was so bad that he had to be dumped along with his $3M+ contract mid-season.
Sure, it makes sense that Bavasi would bend over backwards to accommodate Melvin. Why tick off a guy who can get you fired in his exit interview?