Saturday, May 9, 2009

Time for Wedge to go

Every dog has his day.

Some even have six years and a month or so.

For Eric Wedge, his day has come and should now be gone.

It is time to fire the manager.

Back on April 20 I wrote that it was time to seriously consider firing Wedge, who is in his seventh season as Tribe manager.

I suggested Mother's Day as a good time to take another look and to pull the plug on Wedge by then if there was not a vast improvement in the Tribe's play.

Obviously there has been no improvement. In fact, some of the most galling defeats of the season have taken place during the period from April 20 to now, and the Tribe has put up a 7-10 record during that time period.

Obviously, the position-player roster shake-up has only been in place for a little over a week now. And the revamp of the bullpen has only begun (we hope).
But do you really see much of a difference in the days and weeks ahead with the same manager and coaching staff running the show?

Wedge has had more than six years to show he is the guy to get this team into the World Series.
So far, all we've gotten is a couple of exciting regular seasons and two huge choke jobs - in 2005 in the final week of the season , and 2007, when a 3-games-to-1 lead over the Red Sox in the ALCS was coughed up.

In addition, 2006, 2008 and 2009 were seasons of high expectations - not only from the local partisans, but also the national media.

2006 and 2008 turned out to be disasters of major proportions. 2009 seems is heading that way too.

On top of that, the awful breaks from the gate have been duly chronicled time and again. No reason to go into details here.

A manger's job is to prepare his team to play, and get the most out of the players he has. Often, especially in the early years, Wedge didn't have much. The bullpen he was provided in 2006 did him in that year and last year you could lay the blame on the injury bug. So it seemed fair to give Wedge one more shot. But it's clear he's let things get away from him again this year.

I've heard it argued that Wedge isn't the one striking out with runners in scoring position, or pouring gas on the fire from out of the bullpen.

That is true.

But the players on this club have mostly all shown they have the ability to play much better than they are playing.
It is the manger's job to pull it out of them.

The loudest of Wedge's critics get on him for his apparent laid back attitude.

They get on him, essentially, for not getting on his players - for tolerating hitters who strike out once every three or four at-bats or who fail to hit in the clutch.

They don't like his uninspiring presence on the bench. His half-
assed arguments with umpires when some good old-fashioned Earl Weaverishness would seem to be in order.

But and argument can be made that baseball players are most effective when they are playing relaxed.
To me the Tribe seems to be just the opposite. They seem to play tight all the time (at least until the front office officially pulls the plug midway through the season and then they play relaxed and well).

I don't know if it just the personality of the current nucleus of this team that they can't play when the heat is on, or if Wedge has his own way of applying excess pressure - a way that is clearly not visible to the fans but may happen in the clubhouse.

Either way, the bottom line is the team does not produce.

Fair or not, the manager ultimately has to take the fall.

Wedge is in the middle of his seventh year of not getting the job done.
Managers have been fired for much, much less.

It's time to clear the stale air around this team.

It's time for new ideas and a new approach.

That won't happen with Wedge, or anyone else currently on his staff or in the organization in charge.

We need someone from the outside to take over.

And we need them now.


Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog since the Tribe play offs in 2007- I agree 100% with this. Wedge's slow starts are documented and it's time for a change. How frustrated will we all be if we lose the division by 2-3 games knowing that the slow start cost us a chance to make the playoffs.

Ron Vallo said...

Ahh! The Playoffs of 2007. Seems like years ago.

Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting.

Things look better tonight (still one inning to go though), but if the funk continues for the rest of this week, I don't see how a change can't be made.