The Seattle Mariners are on pace to make history. Yes, that's right, the last place Seattle Mariners are on pace to make history.
Unfortunately, it is not the kind of record that any team would like to hold. The M's are on pace to become the first 100 loss team with a payroll over $100 million.
This is a feat that was not easily accomplished, and was a product of an accumulation of bad personnel moves, that eerily (or obviously, take your pick) parallels Bill Bavasi's tenure with the club.
The foundation for this team was laid with the signings of Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson in 2004. While Beltre has won a Gold Glove with the team, neither player has managed to live up the the lofty offensive expectations that came with their contracts.
Next, Bavasi set himself up for failure as he assumed the offense was sufficient, and went to improve the pitching staff. So of course, the logical solution was to throw a huge contracts at Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista. Luckily, he also had the foresight to acquire the train wreck known as Horacio Ramirez.
Then, possibly the worst thing happened for the future of the club. They won some games. The 2007 Seattle Mariners stayed in the race, thanks mostly to smoke and mirrors. The team was not ready to contend on a yearly basis, but the record suggested otherwise. Bavasi was under pressure from the fans and management to repeat 2007.
Enter Erik Bedard. Bavasi morgatged the future of the club for this "ace" who turned out to be less than advertised. Bavasi dealt a major league ready prospect (Adam Jones), a dominant reliever (George Sherrill), and a furture star (Chris Tillman).
Bedard has been injury prone and inconsistent, while Sherrill has over 20 saves, and Jones looks like a stalwart for the future in Baltimore's right field.
But the fun doesn't stop there. Bavasi also managed to hand Carlos Silva a $48 million dollar deal. That $48 million also happened to be approximately $20 million more than any other team was offering him. After a great start that made Bavasi look smart, Silva has lost his last nine starts, and now has a ERA over 7.00.
Bavasi's recent firing was the conclusion to an ugly chapter for the Seattle Mariners baseball club. No team has ever been this expensive and played this poorly for a full 162 game season. What Bavasi managed to do is truly incredible.
He managed to create one of the most embarrassing teams in Major League history over the course of four years, and managed not to get fired before now.
This Mariners team has the chance to do something never done before, and I, for one, cannot feel more let down.