Wedge's dismissal long overdue
Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
You had to think that when the Cleveland Indians decided to unload Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez at the trade deadline, manager Eric Wedge's days with the Indians were probably numbered as well.
That sense came to fruition on Wednesday when the Indians announced that Wedge and his staff would not return for the 2010 campaign. However, they will stay on board for the club's final six games of the season.
Wedge's seven seasons in Cleveland reaped one just division title and a postseason appearance in 2007, when his team came up one game short of the World Series. His 560-568 mark ranks fifth-best among the 39 full-time managers in Tribe history.
All in all, though, Wedge's time can only be looked at as a disappointment with only two winning seasons. To be honest, I can't believe he lasted as long as he did there.
Every year it seemed his Indians were the favorites to win the AL Central, but with the exception of two years ago, the Indians always came up short.
I know it's not his fault that Travis Hafner's power has all but disappeared and Fausto Carmona's 19-win season in '07 seems to be the exception rather than the rule, but Wedge has vastly underachieved since taking over for interim skipper Joel Skinner before the 2003 season, and his in-game management has been questioned ever since he took the helm.
However, he always seems to do just enough to keep his job, then disappoints after the organization decides to keep him.
Last year was a case in point. After being on the brink of a World Series in 2007, they were brutal in starting the '08 season, leading to the trade of CC Sabathia. Wedge was likely on the ropes then, but the Tribe rebounded with a terrific second half and ended up finishing the 2008 campaign at 81-81.
After the strong finish, big things were again expected from the Indians this season, but again, the team stumbled out of the gate. The only thing that probably saved him early on was that despite their early struggles, the Indians were still right in the thick of what was a very-winnable American League Central.
The team, though, never recovered and injuries made it very obvious that there was no big second-half run in this club. Instead they went another direction, dealing two of the biggest stars in the organization, and it was just a matter of time before the other shoe dropped on Wedge.
Cleveland's recent stretch may have been the final straw, as the Indians have lost 20 of their last 25 games and enter action on Wednesday 64-92 and in fourth place in the AL Central.
It is probably too early to gauge which direction the Indians will go, but the way things have gone lately, I suspect they will look outside the organization, something they have not done since they hired John McNamara in 1990.
One name that will certainly come up is Boston Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. Although Farrell is under contract to the Red Sox through next season, the team has stated that they would let him out of his deal if he wanted to leave, something he chose not to do last year when the Pittsburgh Pirates came calling.
Farrell, though, may have been waiting for the Cleveland job to open up. He has ties to the Indians, for whom he started 87 games from 1987 through 1994. He went on to become Director of Player Development from 2001 until he was hired by the Red Sox in 2007.
A big part of Farrell's duties with the Indians was overseeing the development of the Latin American programs, and he was instrumental in the development of Carmona, who a few years ago looked like the heir to Sabathia's throne before the emergence of Lee.
Who better than Farrell to get him straightened out? Obviously, though, Boston has other fish to fry at the moment, so any talks with him would have to wait.
If you are looking for a name from the retread list, look no further than Buck Showalter, who always seems to work wonders with young teams, then wears out his welcome right before they are about to win. Well, the Indians are going to be a young team next year, and like I said, there is nobody better than developing a team than Showalter.
Either way, I expect Indians general manager Mark Shapiro to take his time with this one. He has made a lot of big deals in the past few years and most of that young talent he recouped will start to see the light of day on a regular basis next season.
Shapiro can't afford another mistake here, or he will be on the unemployment line with Wedge before long.