I'll rise in the morning, my fate decided

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

 

The official stance of the Indians is that the fate of Eric Wedge will be decided at season's end.

 

Somehow, I'm not buying it.

 

Ownership and the front office have been having conversations about Wedge and his coaches for weeks, as part of an overall organizational review. If they're not sure what they're going to do by now, they'll never be sure. And all indications are that these are Wedge's final days at the helm.

 


wedge.jpgSo, why delay the inevitable? Why extend the awkwardness? Why not just make the obvious official, in advance of the Indians' flight to Boston for the final series of the season?

 

Wedge told reporters earlier this month that he hopes to know his fate before the last game of the season. He's been a good soldier to this organization over the last seven years, and he certainly deserves enough respect to have that request honored.

 

But unless something changes in the next few days, it appears the Indians are going to be sent off on the last road trip of the season with a lame-duck skipper at the helm. It appears the Tribe will play out the string, then schedule a press conference a day or two after the season ends to officially announce non-news.

 

My suggestion? Announce it before that final flight toward Fenway. Wedge shouldn't have to make this trip in limbo. Shapiro should sit him down beforehand, deliver the bad news, pat him on the back and then offer him the opportunity to finish what he started and manage the season's final games.

 

What difference would it make, and what harm would it cause? Wedge would handle that situation like he has every other since 2003 -- like a true professional. In that talk with reporters earlier this month, he said he'd go about his job the same way, even if he had firm knowledge that his days as the manager of this club were numbered. Given his track record, there is no reason to doubt him.

 

And if Wedge chooses not to manage the final games, so be it. The players will get the message that a change is coming, and the adjustment period will be officially underway.

 

Whether dismissing Wedge is a move that is going to significantly improve this club going forward is another debate, entirely. I, for one, have been one of Wedge's most vocal supporters this season, because I recognize that he was dealt a bad hand by a front office that, through a combination of poor judgment and bad luck, constructed a sub-par ballclub. And as I wrote in July, I feel Shapiro did the right thing by announcing at midseason that Wedge and his coaches would keep their jobs through the end of the season.

 

But that's not what this is about. Even those who support Wedge know that bringing him back for next season would be an impossible sell to this fan base. Especially after the team just completed the franchise's worst losing streak in 78 years.

 

This is about putting an end to the uncertainty surrounding a guy who has been the model of consistency, with regard to how he goes about his job through thick and thin. Wedge has been in limbo long enough. If you're going to make the move, make it official before hitting the road.

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY...

 

  • The ghost of Jake Westbrook passed through the Indians' clubhouse this morning. No, wait, that actually was Westbrook, and it was sure good to see him. He said he began his long-toss program Friday. That program will last three weeks, then he'll head to Goodyear, Ariz., for three weeks of throwing off a mound. Westbrook said that if all goes well with this throwing program, he's leaning toward pitching winter ball for the "peace of mind" it would offer him and the organization going into 2010.
  • As I wrote in this story on the main site, the last time Westbrook pitched for the Tribe, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia and Paul Byrd followed him in the rotation. Ain't it funny how times slips away?
  • Westbrook and Joe Smith might have something in common, because it doesn't look like Smith is going to pitch for the Indians until 2010, as well. Smith, dealing with a sprained left knee, was supposed to throw his third bullpen session this morning and then be activated off the disabled list. But he didn't throw, because the knee is still giving him problems. Smith said he's able to throw without any problems, but he doesn't have the agility to field his position. Smith was expecting to talk to the training staff and Wedge after today's game. "I wouldn't say it's looking up," he said.
  • The Indians are looking to sweep the Orioles today. They haven't done that since Aug. 19-21, 2005 - also a three-game series here in Cleveland.
  • The Indians have won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 26-27.
  • Of the Tribe's 63 wins this season, 32 have been of the come-from-behind variety. Is that a credit to the never-say-die attitude of the Tribe's hitters, or a comment on the struggles of the starting staff? I'll leave that one up to you.
  • Shin-Soo Choo (.304) is 12th and Asdrubal Cabrera (.303) is 13th in the AL in batting average.
  • The Tribe's offense has hit 300 doubles this year, fourth-most in the AL.
  • Finally, many thanks to the reader who provided the link to this Sports Illustrated story on our old friend Sal Fasano. A rough year for the Mustachioed One. Here's wishing him and his family all the best.

~AC

UPDATE (postgame Sunday): Michael Brantley has been out of the lineup the last two days because of a sore right ankle. Wedge did not make it clear when Brantley, who pinch-hit last night, is expected back. Brantley also dealt with the ankle issue at Triple-A Columbus earlier this year.

Also, Tribe media relations director Bart Swain completed the Half Ironman competition in just under six hours. Congrats to him.

12 Comments

What happens if the Cleveland Indians retain Eric Wedge for 2010?

http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/indians/

Maybe if they let Wedge go early, Marte will start at third once or twice. Granted, that’s certainly not more important than getting Carroll in at third, since he’s going to be an important piece of this franchise for years to come.
Yes, that was sarcasm.
SS: the word you’re looking for is PR nightmare. Like AC said, we can debate Wedge’s pros and cons all day, but at this point it’s simply a matter of making it clear that change is coming, both to the team and to the fans.
Heck, for that matter, I liken the situation to Peralta: if the goal is to compete starting in 2011 and to continue competing beyond that, there’s no reason to hold on to anyone who won’t be around then. Next season should be about getting ready for the year after that — so just imagine having a lame duck skipper for an entire season, not just one week.

yep, I’ll agree that Wedge wasn’t dealt the best of hands, questionable trades and roster moves, injuries and ineffectiveness from the pitching staff likely doomed the season no matter who was managing, but Wedge has not helped matters. The weird refusal to play Derosa at 2b and the weird refusal to play Marte at 3b epitomize what is wrong with Wedge’s decision making

Man, we should be thankful we’re not O’s fans. You would think our pitching is amazing, given how the book ends of this series went.
Still, probably a good confidence builder for Huff (and Fausto). Perhaps Sowers’ option issue will work in Huff’s favor next year and he’ll get the #5 job when they move Sowers to long relief. I just don’t know if they’ll give up on Sowers next year unless they absolutely have to.
Anyone got the numbers on what our record is with Marte in the game?

I believe 20-18 in games Marte started

It’s really not fair at all to use those numbers for Marte. Like you said, LACF, you never know how things would play out over a long period of time. I still vote for getting rid of Peralta and moving Marte to third, but I doubt that will happen. Marte has done some good, but nothing is really that impressive. All’s I’m saying is that if we do let him go, I don’t think we will be hard pressed to find someone who can put up the same numbers, if not better, than him. I respect the guy for never giving up even when it seemed like the world was against him. But I don’t believe for one second that Marte would be responsible for raising our winning percentage form .376 to .526.

I calculate a .376 winning % in games Marte did not start, and .526 winning % in games he started … if they kept that up, they’d almost be in 1st place. The haters can claim that the reason for that is 7 of his games came against Baltimore, but if it weren’t for Marte, they would’ve been 2-5 against the Orioles instead of 5-2.

Here’s a wacky stat for you:
If you projected Marte’s numbers over a full season (using Peralta’s stats as a full season), he’d have 92 RBI…which would lead the team.
He’d also have a litte over 10 errors, although those are all at first. Again, those are using Peralta’s numbers as full season numbers (Jhonny currently has 14 errors, but a decent chunk of those came in one game).
Oh, and he’d have 24 home runs, which would lead the team.
Sure, wishful thinking as you never know how things will go over that period of time, but he’s already been up and down with streaks, and we know he plays better when he’s in there every day, so I’d be willing to look on the upside of those numbers. Just interesting info for a guy we might give up on.

I don’t really think Marte would be responsible for taking the team from last place to first, but you have to admit that he’s impacted games more than a lot of their other players. He has almost as many RBIs as Valbuena, with 200 fewer ABs, and he’s hit primarily in the 9 hole, while Valbuena’s mostly hit 7th or 8th. A Marte, Cabrera, Valbuena, Laporta infield has a whole lot of potential for next year and beyond. And as far as impacting games negatively goes, I do believe the number one culprit for their slow starts is Peralta. When you have a big gaping hole in the middle of the lineup for the first month of the year, it’s a problem. This year Wedge compounded it by opening the season with Peralta batting cleanup, personally I’d bat him 8th or 9th and then slide him up to 5th or 6th come July, when he always turns it on. Unless the Red Sox sign another shortstop, I’ve got to think they’d take him off our hands, he should have impressed them with his performance in the ALCS, and a change of scenery could be good for him and get him back to hitting .290 with 25 HRs … they can give us John Farrell, and the deal’s done

savage, Peralta batted cleanup only once in the 1st 45 games. He was mainly 5th or 6th. Still too high.

But I agree with you, Wedge’s stubbornness in refusing to move a slumping player lower in the order is frustrating. Along with a 100 other mistakes.

Wedge and Hurdle’s teams consistently underperformed the number of wins that Pythag said they should have won. They just weren’t managers that got the full amount of talent out of their players. They need(ed) to be fired.

you’re right, I forgot they had Hafner batting cleanup at the start, Peralta was 5th … It would have been interesting if the Indians had dumped Wedge earlier in the year like the Rockies. The Marte experience shows how a manager can impact games negatively. If not for Laporta’s injury Wedge would’ve chosen to sit Marte, putting Carroll in the lineup over Marte when he had the chance. All three games against the Orioles Marte makes an impact, Marte hits a double and scores the go ahead run in game one, they might lose that game otherwise. They definitely lose game 2 without Marte’s HR and 3 RBIs. Today’s game, his two-out single prolongs the inning for Shoppach’s 3 run HR, that’s 4 runs right there from a player who Wedge prefers out of the lineup. If they had played Derosa at 2b early in the year, had Peralta batting 8th in April, had Martinez as the full time catcher, and called up Jordan Brown instead of Chris Gimenez, how many more games would they have won this year? I think lots, probably enough so they don’t trade Cliff Lee, probably enough so that they’re only a couple games behind Detroit on Sept 1

I admire what you have finished here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers

%d bloggers like this: