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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Plain Dealer | Pluto: As Cleveland Indians become stagnant, Wedge becomes more vulnerable

Lost in all the discussion of the Indians trades and the Dolans’ millions of losses is the fact the front office is finally admitting something the fans have sensed for a while—they aren’t just a woe-is-me, small-market team, they have been underachievers in the last two seasons. [...]

Yes, it’s nice that the Indians are 13 of their last 19 after Tuesday night’s 5-0 victory over Texas. But what should that mean when it comes to judging the future of manager Eric Wedge?

Absolutely nothing.

The fact is the Indians were supposed to contend, and collapsed when it counted. The fact is the Indians had their fifth losing April in seven years under Wedge. Or that this is the third time in five years they were under .500 at the All-Star break.

Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: August 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3290273)
Yeah, I was actually thinking about this very thing the other day. The Tribe's now 10 games back, which probably isn't close enough to catch the Tigers and White Sox, but definitely close enough to get the deficit into the mid-single digits (say, six games back) before the end of the season.

My conclusion was that a comeback like that may actually make Wedge's chances of keeping his job worse. In both last season and this season, if they had put up any kind of decent start they'd be right in the middle of the race. In three of the last five seasons they've stumbled - badly - out of the gate and put together a monster second-half run to make it respectable. Once is unfortunate, twice is worrisome, but I think three times is an indication that it's time to make a change. I think Wedge is toast. The only way he keeps his job is if they somehow make the playoffs, which is implausible but I guess not impossible.

As frustrating as it's been to see them dump salary and not be willing to spend to retain players when they hit free agency, the next manager's going to have definite pieces to work with. A rotation of Westbrook-Masterson-Laffey-Carmona-Carrasco/Rondon is light years better than what they had to start '09, the lineup still has Grady and Pronk, Asdrubal Cabrera looks like the real deal, and they've got impact MLB-ready bats like Santana and LaPorta in the minors. If the bullpen doesn't totally suck, and it almost can't possibly suck as badly in 2010 as it has in 2009, that looks like a contender to me.

There's a lot of ifs...if Jake Westbrook is back, if Fausto Carmona has kicked the yips, if Grady bounces back once he's 100% healthy, if the young bats come through. But the pieces are there. It's not a totally hopeless situation like San Diego or Washington, where you can't possibly imagine contention even in a best-case scenario.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 12, 2009 at 04:43 PM (#3290278)
Dan, concur almost 100%.

I think they should have kept Lee for this very reason, 2010 need not be a writeoff.
   3. DL from MN Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:30 PM (#3290365)
Anyone else imagine this conversation in the offseason?

Shapiro - "Get clear, Wedge. You can't do any more good back there."
Wedge - "Sorry."
   4. Swedish Chef Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:37 PM (#3290379)
This shows the value of a GM being loyal to a manager. It gives you one last piece to sacrifice even after your team has sucked for several years.
   5. Maxwn Posted: August 12, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3290416)
Yes, knowing when to burn your scapegoat is a very important skill for bad GMs.
   6. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: August 12, 2009 at 06:04 PM (#3290427)
I won't make an argument for or against firing Wedge, but firing based on dwindling performance after trading away several good players seems a poor one.
   7. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2009 at 08:49 PM (#3290737)
No, you'd be firing him because he can't get the team to play well in the first half of the season.
   8. JuanGone..except1game Posted: August 12, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3290767)
No, you'd be firing him because he can't get the team to play well in the first half of the season.

Exactly! Doesn't it speak to Wedge's inability to prepare his team to play, that they have this same pattern almost every year of his tenure. I'm not sure how many people here are football fans, but Jim Fassel used to suffer from this same syndrome. It's good that a manager is good at getting his guys to play well when there back is up against the wall, but the big question is why it takes that much to get your guys motivated to play throughout the season.

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