Thursday, August 06, 2009

Well, That Helps Explain the Lee and Martinez Trades...

Ouch. This is especially unfortunate given the vicious cycle of losing seasons and team incomes - a team starts losing money and has to let some players go, the team does worse, the fans don't come as much, team loses more money, more players go, fewer fans, etc. And unfortunately, it's not going to change until the Indians turn around - casual fans won't suddenly start coming so the team has more money; it's incumbent upon the team to do well (see: 1995's contention and the subsequent 455 sell-out streak).

As for Wedge, I'm usually not one of "those" guys, but hopefully, ownership and Shapiro determine that it's time to change horses. I like Wedge a lot, but the constant slow starts in April (9-14 in 2009; 14-15 in 2008; 15-8 in 2007, the lone good year; 13-13 in 2006; 9-15 in 2005; 10-13 in 2004; and 7-20 in 2003) are tough to deal with. What's more, Wedge is just really tightly wound, and very controlling, which can be great; however, after awhile (and it's been awhile), it leads to players pushing too hard, always trying to get that hit, always trying to get the perfect pitch, which just leads to swinging at bad pitches and making bad throws. In short, the team is too wound, pressing too hard, and Wedge's personality and style has a lot to do with that. And it's never a good sign when teammates are not-too-subtly throwing each other (and the manager) under the bus when things go wrong (see the July 12 post). It signals that the antagonisms between players and managers have irreversibly manifested themselves, and at that point, your manager is no longer effective.

So, I am rarely one of those people who quickly and rashly declares the manager has to go (Eric Mangini being the exception - let it be known here and now that, when it comes to the "fire Mangini" bandwagon, I'm not hopping on; I'm driving the thing). However, it's clear that Wedge's style has worn thin and lost its effectiveness. If Shapiro wants to bring a bunch of young guys up from the minors together and have a cohesiveness (and it certainly seems that that is now his plan), then he's going to need a manager who can work better with that. So hopefully, ownership and Shapiro will be on the same page, and Cleveland will have a new face as manager next year, even as I wish Eric Wedge the best of luck and future success with another (non-Yankee) team.