Bill Bavasi was hired Friday morning as the Mariners' new general manager, replacing Pat Gillick, who resigned on Sept. 30 after four seasons with the club.
Bavasi, 45, spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers as the team's director of player development. Prior to that, he served as GM for Anaheim from 1994 to 1999.
"Today is a very exciting day for the Mariners," said CEO Howard Lincoln at the team's press conference Friday afternoon. "Working very closely with Chuck Armstrong, we have spent the past several weeks looking at a very complete list of potential candidates to become our new general manager. While we considered many very qualified individuals, Bill was our top pick and we believe he is the best person to lead the club."
The other two finalists for the job were Detroit assistant GM Al Avila, and Mariners vice president Benny Looper. Seattle interviewed a slew of candidates before narrowing the search down to three, a list headlined by current Montreal GM Omar Minaya.
"This is a tremendous opportunity and honor for me," Bavasi said. "The Mariners' franchise is one of the elite franchises in all of baseball. Seattle has an outstanding ballpark, great fans, an excellent baseball operations staff, an ownership group committed to winning and a nucleus of talent on the Major League roster that has won nearly 400 games over the past four seasons. I am looking forward to getting to work immediately."
Bavasi, a former member of the San Diego Padres' grounds crew, got his first break in the baseball business in 1980 when hired on with the Angels as an administrator. He was promoted to the director of minor league operations with Anaheim in 1984, holding that position until moving up to assistant GM in 1993. Bavasi was named Angels' GM in 1994 at age 36 after the resignation of Whitey Herzog, a job he would hold for five years.
During his time with Anaheim, the Angels finished second three times (1995, 1997, 1999). Few can forget the 1995 team, which succumbed to the Mariners' miracle late-season charge, ultimately losing in a decisive one-game playoff.
Basavi said Friday the difference then was a tall left-hander named Randy Johnson who the M's were able to throw in the critical deciding game. Asked if that season in any way affected his feelings towards the M's organization, the team's new GM didn't hesitate with an answer.
"If you can't beat them, join them."
Bill Bavasi named Mariners GM
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