After the end of the 2003 season when Pat Gillick left the team, the Mariners were in contention. Safeco Field offered some of America's best baseball. Just two years before, Seattle's "boys of summer" had set the record for most wins in a season.
Each spring, as lights were being tested and clubhouses were being swept clean in ballparks across the Cactus League, Mariners fans would gather around water coolers and talk of the promise to come.
There was no reason for fans to think the winning would stop. The M's had been successful for the better part of a decade and in the shining glare of that past success, the future for the Mariners looked bright.
All of that would come crashing down with the hiring of Bill Bavasi. What Woodward and Gillick had created, Bavasi put asunder. With relentless determination, the Mariners new GM began the methodical dismantling of a once proud franchise.
The demolition began immediately with the trade of Freddy Garcia in 2004. Shortly thereafter, Bavasi sent Carlos Guillen to Detroit. Randy Winn was sent to San Francisco before the trade deadline in 2005. In less than two years, Bavasi had ripped the heart from the Mariners clubhouse.
To many fans, Bavasi's moves seemed to be malevolent and diabolical. The players he was sending away were a part of the organization. We had watched them grow from supporting cast members into featured players. They were the successors.
Apparently, sending away the future wasn't enough. Phase two in Bavasi's strategy: Acquire a bevy of semi-talented, almost-has-been role players and hope they can mesh into a team, while playing above their individual skill sets.
Although, Bavasi made many poor decisions during his time as the Mariners GM, the following are the five worst free agent acquisitions during his reign.