Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wedged in for the foreseeable future

Finished up my trip to the home front on the 4th with a visit to the MetroParks Zoo. The last time I was there, my cousin and I were pulling around our now-20-something kids in a red wagon.

I ran into a big flock of seagulls while I was there (non-residents). Apparently they too got bored with the Tribe and are seeking entertainment elsewhere.

I was pretty much incommunicado the whole way home today. Not much in the way of radio in the hinterlands of northern PA.

But when I got home I read the news that Tribe GM Mark Shapiro gave manager Eric Wedge and his coaching staff a public assurance that they will be around 'til the end of the season - at least.

As unwelcome as that might be for many of us, the news was hardly a surprise.

Repeating his oft-stated mantra of the past month or so, Shapiro said that basically everyone in the front office and on the field is responsible for the disaster that is the 2009 Cleveland Indians.

No argument here. And as I've said many times before, we're well past the point where a change of managers might have sparked a rally by the club and a return to the race.

The only good that would come of releasing Wedge and his cronies at this point would be the knowledge that they won't be back next year. With today's announcement, that remains a possibility as Shapiro said the team is still in evaluation mode.'s Anthony Castrovince speculates that Wedge's future may be decided less by wins and losses the rest of the way than by his staff's ability to develop the Tribe's many youngsters so they are ready to contribute next year.

If that is the case, I might be calling the realty company right about now if I were Wedge.

The list of current and former Tribesmen who either failed to progress or regressed under the tutelage of Wedge & Co. is long. Here are just a few names;

Fausto Carmona, Raffie Perez, Kelly Shoppach, Josh Barfield, Andy Marte, Jeremy Sowers, Jhonny Peralta, Ben Francisco, Franklin Gutierrez, Brandon Phillips, Jeremy Guthrie, yada yada....

On the plus side we can put Grady Sizemore, Shin-soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

Can Wedge and the boys get Fausto straightened by the end of September? Will their new favorite, Luis Valbuena, be hitting with any consistency by the end of the year? Will Raffie Perez snap out of it? Will they EVER bring up Matt LaPorta, and if so will he produce under the watchful eye of Derek Shelton?

If that's the bar that has been set, I wish Wedgie and friends good luck.

On one other topic, the PD's Terry Pluto wrote today that he believes LaPorta's return to the majors is being delayed by the injury to Sizemore, saying the Tribe brass needs to keep Ben Francisco around to play CF when Sizemore's balky elbow won't allow him to play.

Pluto further reports the Tribe wants to keep Chris Giminez around because they consider him a utility player of some value. Last time I looked, Gimenez and LaPorta play the same positions. Wouldn't LaPorta's presence make Giminez expendable?

But wouldn't LaPorta need a place to play everyday, you ask? Sure. He can play LF and Francisco can sit, except when needed to cover for Sizemore.

Pluto was clear to point out that he was just reporting the Tribe's thinking, not necessarily his own. From reading his piece, you get the idea that Pluto might make a different decision.

I certainly would.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the Indians are yet AGAIN carrying 8 relievers.

They could easily send one down (Gosling!) for LaPorta and go with a NORMAL 4-man bench of Shoppach, Carroll, Fransico, and Gimenez.

As you said, let LaPorta start everyday in LF. Let Francisco play CF when Sizemore needs a rest.

I fear that this vote of confidence by Shapiro will mean that everyone is back next year.

Tribe always plays well in the 2nd half despite Wedge.

People will see that the Indians played well in the 2nd half again this year and decide Wedge is the man for the job.....then will promptly come out and lay a goose egg the first 3 months of the year.

Never ending cycle.....

One of the best hopes to end it vanished this weekend.....

Ron Vallo said...

good point about the extra reliever.

if I were to bet (with your money), I'd say wedge is a goner by Oct. 5.

the difference between the indians and the yankees - they had "the goose." we have "the gosling."

Anonymous said...

I've lived in NEO most of my life--the rest in Boston. The difference between the Indians and Red Sox is that they have an owner who could not only afford to buy the team, but also plenty of money to run the team. The Dolans are good people who paid way too much for the team, and have no money to run it in a way it can be competitive and play in World Series more than twice in almost 60 years.

MLB needs to revamp its rules about who can own a team--they have to be able to own it AND run it!

Now, for this season...This season has really pissed me off! Wedge and his management team have no clue--the players who are good coming out of the minors and have a good year here alway regress--including Grady Sizemore whose batting average gets lower each season. Even Victor Martinez who is always good when he is healthy, isn't always healthy because it took years for Wedge to turn him into a first baseman. Victor should NEVER catch again, given his value to the team--Shoppach and Gimmenez can handle the pitchers even if their bats are suspect.

I could go on and on--and its not usually a good idea to place too much blame on the manager, but Wedge and his guys are not what this team needs. Perhaps a teacher like Buck Showaltter would help.

Ron Vallo said...

I focus more on the need for a salary cap to level the field, but, since the union appears to be too strong, and too unwilling to put the best interests of the game ahead of the best interests of the players I guess the next best thing would be to be more picky about who buys a team in terms of their long-term financial wherewithal.

Of course when the number of jobs is cut by 1/3 when teams like Pittsburgh, Cleveland Kansas City, Cincinnati etc... can't make a go of it any more, maybe the union will see things differently.

Anonymous said...


so you saw 2 zoos in cleveland - the one off 25 th street at the brookside park and one at the corner of carnegie and east 9 th !!!!

Anonymous said...

I guess perez and abreu aren't the answer to the bullpen

maybe scotty bailes and ernie camacho are available

what is it with relievers and the indian uniform


Ron Vallo said...

Actually, I saw one zoo. The other is more like a circus.

Anonymous said...

A salary cap in baseball is the worst idea ever. It'll make things even worse, not better.

With a cap comes a salary floor. Teams will have to overpay players to meet it. It makes rebuilding through the draft nearly impossible.

Teams like the Yanks and Sox will still be on top.

What baseball does need is to put a cap on the draft and fix it's revenue sharing. But an actual cap? Definitely not.

And I really hope Gimenez never catches 50 games a year. Toregas should be brought up to catch if anyone. He can actually throw guys out (what a crazy concept for a catcher).

And Victor has to catch. IF he's not, then he loses a TON of value to this club.

If you compare Victor's stats from the first half of this year to Garko's last 350 at-bats or so....there actually is barely a difference. Victor's value comes from being a catcher. As a 1B, he's just average offensively.

Not saying he should catch 150 games, but he should catch 90-100 for the next couple years at least.