Audio of Bill Bavasi talking about the off-season. Go to mlb.com or just click here.
The audio starts in the middle of Bavasi talking about Meche: "There's probably some fuse missing in his fusebox that makes it work for him on a consistent basis."
Bavasi talks about:
the free agent pitching market (the Eaton contract was the real shocker for him)
the everyday lineup is settled, but they are still looking for upgrades in the rotation, the pen, and the bench.
the return of John McLaren
No comment, per Mariner policy, on Ichiro's contract situation
adding veterans in the clubhouse to lead young players (Ramirez, Reitsma, Vidro, Batista). Guillen has a hot button.
Bavasi talked about grit and toughness quite a bit. He started out talking about the pitching staff, and threw veiled barbs at pitchers departed: "You won't look at a single guy on the pitching staff and say, 'Boy that guy is so talented but he's not getting the most of his ability.'" Then he talked about mental toughness overall. Speaking about the club this year, "Once they're between the lines are they real gritty and a tough club? I think so, but you don't know until they are out there."
And the philosophy of rapid promotion through the minors is part of a strategy to build toughness. The Mariners want the young players to have a bit of a mean streak in them, and he thinks that by pushing them through the minors fosters that building that toughness.
Rapid promotion is tough on the guys and there are some casualties from which players need to recover. Tuiasosopo is one of those casualites, but they think he has the character to recover.
Resigning Ichiro is a priority, and the decision to resign him will not be a big issue for the club.
He expects a lot out of hitting production from both Sexson and Beltré this year.
He would like for both Sexson and Lopéz "step it up" defensively on the right side of the infield. He does credit Sexson with saving a lot of errant throws to first base.