Wednesday afternoon, Eric Wedge was relieved of his duties as manager of the Cleveland Indians. He will finish the season, but will look for a job with the rest of his coaches once the final out of 2009 is recorded for the Indians.
Wedge’s future has been on the line for quite some time now, which means that this news is not all that surprising. The Dolan family met with General Manager Mark Shapiro to decide the future of Wedge and the coaching staff, ultimately reaching this decision.
In what has been a dismal season, the trigger was finally pulled. Travis Hafner and Fausto Carmona never came close to their peak performances of a few years ago. Grady Sizemore battled injuries throughout the year. Shapiro sent his only All-Star (Victor Martinez) to Boston, the reigning AL Cy Young winner (Cliff Lee) and Ben Francisco to Philadelphia, and Ryan Garko to San Francisco. It would be unfair to place sole blame on Wedge.
That being said, Wedge’s tenure in Cleveland was relatively inconsistent. The Indians have been 560-568 in his tenure with six games left to play. Wedge inherited a poor team in 2003, and immediately took part in the rebuilding process. The Indians peaked under Wedge in 2007, as they were one game away from a trip to the World Series. In true Tribe fashion, Cleveland blew a three games to one lead over Boston, and has never been the same under Wedge.
Wedge was never fully embraced in Cleveland. Even though he portrayed someone with blue-collar ethics in a blue-collar town, the match wasn’t always fitting.
Catcher Kelly Shoppach may have summed the situation up the best: “I’m disappointed. He’s taking all the blame. He always has for us. He has never thrown any of us under the bus.”
I think I speak for everyone when I say I wish Eric the best, but this decision needed to be made. It is time for a change in Cleveland.