Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thoughts About Eric Wedge

It appears that the Seattle Mariners are going to hire Eric Wedge as their new manager. Forgive the Fan if he isn't impressed. From most accounts, Wedge is a nice guy. But his seven years in Cleveland were far from awe-inspiring. And it isn't just about performance. It's also about pizazz. Perhaps that isn't fair. A manager doesn't need commanding presence to get the job done. But for a city that has just gone through about the worst season a baseball town can go through, something with a little more pop might have gotten those poor fans a lot more excited. In football, a Wedge is those nameless and faceless guys that hold hands during kickoffs and try to John Deere anybody running up the field. It's an apt metaphor here.

Eric Wedge had one good year of managing the Indians (2007). That year was the only year that the Indians out performed their run differential. During the other six years, the Indians were a staggering 31 games under their Pythagorean win-loss projection. Even if you add in the five games over projection in 2007, Wedge went -26 in this category. This statistic isn't the be all and end all for how to rate a manager, but it's the best we have. Until Mike Sciocia's 2010, he was like +20 for the past four years. Putting this another way, according to this statistic, the Indians should have won 26 more games spread out over seven years than they did.

Simply put, the Indians should have had more than two winning seasons in those seven years. Travis Hafner was still good during the first five. They had Victor Martinez and Grady Sizemore and Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Even in 2007 when they made it to the ALCS, they gassed Sabathia and Carmona so they had nothing left. They insisted on using Borowski as closer when they had two better options. They let Jeremy Sowers start seven too many games. As good as it was, it could have gone a whole lot better. And that characterizes Eric Wedge's entire run as manager.

Yeah, this all sounds really negative. Granted. There were the same kinds of articles written like this one when the Yankees hired Joe Torre in 1996. Look how that worked out. And perhaps it would have been of little matter who manages the current Seattle Mariners with their current roster problems. Perhaps it will all work out. For the Seattle fans, let's hope so. They have endured enough ridicule. They don't deserve another wedgie. Oops. Couldn't resist.

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