Mariners Insider Blog

The search for accountability and leaders

I know the arguments we have had about the impact of leaders, and the need for accountability in the organization, starting with the players.

Some people don't believe it's necessary, some people do. I think most of you know where I fall on the side of the debate. And that's why I was happy to see starting pitcher Carlos Silva show a little bit of that yesterday after his start.

Without naming names or pointing fingers, Silva questioned some of his teammates and their motivation these days. Let's see, this guy has been here for less than a year and could see something was wrong. It's that obvious.

As I mentioned before, general manager Bill Bavasi also backed manager John McLaren and criticized the players and their lack of leadership and accountability yesterday.

It was very similar to what Padres general manager Kevin Towers said about his team and manager Bud Black a week ago.

But as our columnist John McGrath points out, many of these players that Bavasi is being critical of, are players he brought in himself.

Still, President Chuck Armstrong has said again that Bavasi's job was secure.

So where do we go from here?

Is the season hopelessly lost?

At what point do you call it good and start playing young players?

I really don't have answers to these questions right now.

Here's the transcript from the interview with Bill Bavasi from yesterday.

You guys know guys that we don't and never have commented on contract situation, whether its free agents or employees or me anything else.

On John McLaren's status..

"This is not a field managerial issue. John is doing a good job. Our performance is not related to his work. It's purely related to player performance and underperformance and underachievement.

Nobody had the nerve to pick us less than second place in our division. We were picked anything from first to second to wild-card. You name it. The expectations were a heck of a lot higher than this, based on any analysts' evaluation of our players' individual track records and their age. Their ages are such that they're not all young guys that they're inexperienced. But they're not too old to believe that they would backslide. So, I think those expectations are realistic. They were and they are.

From our point view this is not a field managerial issue. It's more an issue of player performance, the roster and the like. To that end, our biggest issues are just playing the game clean. We're not in a position to be talking about wins and losses. We have yet, since spring training, played three clean baseball games in a row.

We're ending up with a man on second or men on second and third with nobody out and they stay there. Then we run into a period, where we can't get out first three innings without giving up 20 runs.

Unfortunately for us, we don't have on this club so far, we don't have that players, or players, enough in his guts to take care of himself and with enough left over to take care of somebody else as well.

We don't get a runner over, don't get a runner in. As a group of individuals, the players are tolerant. Good teams just don't tolerate that.

We can make changes on the roster because we have a player designated, so we're talking to every club by virtue of that. We're going to be hard pressed to make deals this far before the deadline for anybody that's better than what we have. If we can, we can get back into character issue.

We've expended a lot of minor league players in deals for guys that have a lot of talent.

That's it in a nutshell right here.

So you're saying this a direct call for leadership from players?

As loud and clear as I can. I hear that from our McLaren. I hear them out from our guys. That's self evident. Good teams they take of this stuff in the clubhouse. They make demands of each other and I'm not sure we've got that going on right now.

"I know the popular refrain during a period like this is that he manger becomes a topic That's not the topic for us. We're looking inside; we're looking at our club for help. We're looking for them to step up and play like they can, not like they want, but like they can."

Do you have anybody in mind to be that leader?

I see people who can. You'd be surprised who can in all walks of life. But you have to be wiling to take that first step out of your shell.

What can you do?

I don't know that that's something that we want to react to right now. If we have a magic bullet, we would fire it. From our point of view as a staff, in the office we have to keep looking player personnel, deals, but like I said we're going to be hardpressed to find somebody better than what we have now. That doesn't mean we stop looking.

Every club plays close attention t0 the character of guys, but you never what their character is truly like till they get into the heat of battle. John and his staff and all of us just have to keep doing what doing now which is identify problems on a daily basis, address them and keep making changes that way. Make changes in the way we play, and keep keeping on guys from the staff's point of view about the way were playing, make the correction and try

At the end of the day, the players gotta go out and do this. This interview isn't meant to be a sole attack on the players, you can't send out a memo saying play better. These guys are putting their effort into it. They just might need to put effort in a little differ in more intelligent way and play the game right.

We can analyze this thing real well, we're looking for people who can analyze and help solve it. Sometimes that is making demands on each other. The good teams do that. The good teams can point out the things they're doing wrong they've done wrong and but they can demand of each other that they do things right

How this has affected him personally?

It's beyond frustrating. It's tough to fathom. That's not to say we're giving in. We're kind of a lucky bunch that in this kind of fix that we're in that nobody has blasted away in our division. I think there is hope here. We're not devastated to the point that we're giving in. I get worried when I hear play talk about and say it's falling apart. I get more worried when I hear about things falling apart and not anybody stepping up to find their own solution within that clubhouse.

On Ichiro's comment that the team could be falling apart.

From a personal point of view, it's frustrating to see what's going on and its frustrating to hear those kind of things. It's a very, very, very frustrating time right now.

On whether he can sit and watch a whole game?

This whole thing isn't easy to go through, but these are our jobs. They're no fun to watch, but you watch. Every time you watch one, like John, like his staff trying to pick something up to use.

On the players' playing hard.

This group of guys, the players do care, I think they're playing hard, I think they're trying hard, but sometimes have to try more intelligently, have to find some sort of strength, get that runner over, runner in. It's the same examples on the mound, make a pitch.

On the sloppy play, the last few rundowns as examples…

"We need that player that will grab somebody by the throat and say, 'Hey, that's not what we do here,' The best teams, they take care of this stuff in the clubhouse. They make demands of each other, and I'm not sure we have that going on."

Will he make changes in the future?

"I don't know that that's something that we want to react to right now,'' he said. "If we had a magic bullet, we would fire it. I think we have to, from our point of view as a staff, in the office we have to keep looking for player personnel, deals, but like I said, we're going to be hard-pressed to find somebody better right now than what we have. We have to keep looking for those guys. It doesn't mean you stop looking.