The recent firing of Indians' skipper Eric Wedge is not a shock to many after the Tribe finish the 2009 season over 90 losses, their worst record since 1991.
However, the way this season unfolded is surprising when you consider the club's strong finish in 2008 leading to high hopes for the 2009 campaign.
Cleveland's dismal season can be largely accredited to its lack of veteran leadership and some questionable front-office moves, such as trading 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee.
Lee was the second Cy Young pitcher to be traded by the Indians in two years.
Wedge had success with his young cast of characters in 2007, making an impressive playoff effort before falling short against the Red Sox. Unfortunately, the team that took the field in 2008 looked nothing like that of 2007.
Every time it seemed Wedge had something going, there was a trade or injury that seemed to trigger a negative affect that hampered the Indians' success.
Some blame the team's lack of success on Wedge's focus on team chemistry over talent. The problem with this theory is that Wedge can't control who the front-office signs and trades. He can only manage the players he's given.
Wedge outlasted a number of other managers around the league during his time and justifiably. It is sad to see him go.
Wedge will finish his career with the Indians with a .496 winning percentage and with the respect of most Indians' fans.
The only way the Indians will improve as a team is if they bring in a manager with the ability to revitalize a team the way Mike Hargrove did in the '90s.
Hargrove took over the team in 1991, when they finished 57-105, and by 1995 was managing one of the best teams in baseball.