Mariner’s Fire GM Bavasi

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners have fired general manager Bill Bavasi, as the team lags along with the worst record in baseball after having been expected to contend for the playoffs.

Bavasi was fired Monday morning and the organization has planned a 2 p.m. press conference to announce the decision. Vice president/associate general manager Lee Pelekoudas will take over in his place.

Mariners’ CEO Howard Lincoln said in a release that new leadership was needed in the GM position. Lincoln says a search will begin immediately for a permanent GM, and Pelekoudas will be a candidate.

Bavasi was in his fifth season as Seattle’s GM, only once turning out a club that finished with a winning record. That was last season when Seattle won 88 games.

Armed with a $117 million payroll, Bavasi put together what many believed was a playoff contender for 2008. But the Mariners have underachieved from the start and entered Monday night with a 24-45 record.