Trust Thy Brain: Shapiro Saves Eric Wedge For 2009

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer ISeptember 12, 2008

As if there was any question about it.

Eric Wedge still has a job in 2009 and it will be with the Cleveland Indians as the team's manager.

Granted, with him joined at the hip of Mark Shapiro, there wasn't much doubt. Wedge is Shapiro's hand picked leader for his ball club. He wasn't going anywhere, even with a disastrous start and failed expectations.

Most of that has to do with injuries, of course it’s a built in excuse for any team with a bad season, especially losing a pitcher and the middle of your lineup.

I don't hate Eric Wedge one bit, he frustrates me, and I certainly wouldn't make him my number one pick if I was building a team, but he’s a solid manager.

He fits this team’s mentality and the vision Mark Shapiro had, which is why he picked Wedge to lead his team. All the players love Wedge and would do anything to save his job if put in the position.

He is the right man at this point in time for the job and he earned an opportunity to take this team to the World Series. I'll support Eric Wedge in 2009, mostly though because he won't be in this situation.

Despite what Mark Shapiro said about Wedge in this year, I think Wedge is showing his flaws as a manager in these types of situations.

"When teams go through tough times and transition, some don't utilize the time to get positive work done," Shaprio told the Cleveland Plain Dealer "We have made the most of the situations. We've infused a lot of young talent into this team. Eric ensured that we'd get something out of this year."

The Indians definitely got something out of this year, they've learned a lot about players like Jensen Lewis, Anthony Reyes and Shin-Soo Choo.

But, Wedge failed in many more aspects of finding out what this team has.

Since returning from the disabled list in early September, Josh Barfield has started just one game at second base. Jamey Carroll has started the same amount as Barfield at the same position.

Why is Jamey Carroll even playing a position other than third to give Andy Marte a day off?

Okay, so I'm arguing a matter of one game, what's the big deal?

The big deal is you are wasting precious at-bats in which you can see how hungry some of these players like Barfield are.

Wedge has no problem sitting one of his least favorite players in Ryan Garko two games in a row to get Michael Aubrey into the lineup.

Why not sit Jhonny Peralta a game, play him at designated hitter the next (one of Hafner's off days), and give Barfield a few starts in a row.

Why the overuse of David Dellucci in the month of August? Franklin Gutierrez and Shin-Soo Choo are the future of the team, or not, you need to find out.

Wedge put winning before finding out about talent and evaluating their worth.

Let's get to the bullpen where he has refused to use newly acquired John Meloan in blowout situations.

Instead, he's thrown an exhausted Masahide Kobayashi or put in Rafael Perez, who we know doesn't need to be in games that the Indians have a five run lead in. Give someone else a shot and if the situation presents itself, then bring in Perez.

Why pitch Juan Rincon and Brendan Donnelly so much? We've seen them enough, is it that hard to give John Meloan an inning in there somewhere?

It's the reason Craig Breslow is with the Minnesota Twins. He used him once every two weeks and Breslow became rusty and in-effective when he did pitch.

God forbid I tell Eric Wedge how to do his job, but it frustrates me to no end to see young talent rot away on the bench when there is nothing to play for in terms of wins.

Of course, you want to win every game you can, but pinch-hitting for Andy Marte in the 8th inning is cutting off your nose to spite your face. What if Marte gets a big hit there late in the game to give him some confidence?

Benching him for hacks like David Dellucci is just killing his spirit even more.

Here's a great example of Eric Wedge playing favorites in situations.

Thursday's game saw the Indians with a three run deficit in the 9th inning. Michael Aubrey led the inning off with a walk. By Wedge's standards, Ryan Garko would have already been in the game to lead off the inning.

The next batter was Andy Marte, who was immediately pinch-hit for by Jhonny Peralta.

Peralta reached on a hit, which brought up Josh Barfield with two on and nobody out.

Wedge's next move was to bring in Kelly Shoppach for Josh Barfield, Shoppach promptly struck out on three pitches.

I would have been ecstatic if Kelly hit a three-run shot to tie the game up, I really would have.

But what are the odds of an all or nothing hitter coming off the bench cold doing that when he hit two solo shots the previous night? No pitcher in their right mind would let him do that without making him hit a ball halfway into the dugout.

What harm is there letting Marte and Barfield hit in those situations? You let Aubrey hit, granted there wasn't anybody on base, but you then reverse that thinking and pinch hit for the other two younger players.

I'm aware that I'm making mountains out of mole hills and fighting over one at bat or one game. But, it’s the situations that count. Eric Wedge isn't efficient in his playing of the young talent as Mark Shapiro says he is.

Everyone needs at bats and time in, I'm fine with giving Jamey Carroll starts, but you can see Eric Wedge manipulating the situation. Andy Marte went 2-2 with an RBI and a walk in Thursday’s game.

What does that get him?

Pinch hit for late in that same game and a benching on Friday.

Go figure.


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