Mariners to retain Bavasi, Hargrove

Mariners to retain Bavasi, Hargrove

SEATTLE -- In an open letter to season-ticket holders Thursday, the Mariners confirmed general manager Bill Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove will return for the 2007 season.

"We believe they are the right people to lead us to the next level," the letter started. "We have great confidence in their abilities. In our view, continuity of leadership is extremely important at this time."

The letter was signed by chief executive officer Howard Lincoln and chief operating officer Chuck Armstrong.

Hargrove is nearing the end of his second season as manager. He has one more year on his three-year contract. He's 145-176 with Seattle and will take a 76-83 record into the final three games of the season, beginning Friday at Safeco Field against Texas.

Bavasi is essentially on a year-to-year contract, or as he calls it, a "year-to-year deal with the element of security that I'm comfortable with."

The letter commended Bavasi for his role in helping develop the makeup of the roster.

"Under Bill's watch, we have seen a dramatic improvement in our scouting and player development departments, which has already resulted in several top prospects climbing quickly up the Minor League ladder and playing key roles for us this year," the letter states.

The letter also lauded Hargrove's efforts in handling a roster that was one of the youngest in the Major Leagues and how he handled his veteran players as well.

"Mike is uniquely equipped to lead a young team. His experience in developing and dealing with young players is one of the reasons we hired him in the first place. And we have watched as Mike has kept all his players -- veterans and young players alike -- focused and playing hard every day of the season," the letter went on to state.

Bavasi is convinced that Hargrove is the right fit for this team because of his willingness to go with young players and lean on them instead of falling into a pattern of relying solely on veterans.

Seattle had the second-youngest roster in the Major Leagues this season, trailing only the Florida Marlins.

"For a manager that will play with young kids and work with them -- that's hard to find," Bavasi said on Thursday. "It can be very hard to find a quality manager that will do that, who will give to the organization before he gives to himself."

The development and emergence of young talent like pitcher Felix Hernandez, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and second baseman Jose Lopez have helped the team improve following two consecutive 90-loss seasons.

"We've got this going in the right direction," Bavasi said. "We'd like to turbo-boost it and get it going faster, but when you're using so many kids, sometimes you can't go as fast as you like."

But Bavasi knows that, at the end of the day, all of that promising youth will not matter much if the team doesn't win.

"We're definitely headed in the right direction -- that's a fact," Bavasi said. "But at the end of the day, we're human and we only have so much patience. We like to compete -- we like to be on top. We're trying to show patience but we also want to push to get there a little faster."

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.