It is times like these that I am glad that I am allowed to be opinionated in my posts. As many of you have heard, Eric Wedge made some stupid comments about us stupid sabermetricians, and how we are ruining stupid Dustin Ackley. What he said was clearly ridiculous and backwards in so many ways, that it makes it difficult to make a full post about it. Well, at least for me, as USS Mariner and Lookout Landing have already touched on it in their own ways.
Dave Cameron took the sarcastic route, followed by the sabermetric hammer, in which he displayed how illogical Wedge’s comments were. He said:
If you want to sum up the philosophy of “sabermetric thinking”, it’s basically take pitches out of the strike zone and swing at pitches in the strike zone. A lot of hitters swing too often, chasing pitches they have no chance of hitting with any authority. We would tell them all to try and be more selective. Some hitters don’t swing often enough, taking pitches down the middle in hitters counts when they should be trying to hit the crap out of meatballs. We would tell them all to try and be less selective.
Essentially, yeah, we like walks. We want people to swing at strikes, and watch balls (haha), because that is how you find success. What we don’t want is for people to not swing at all in order to try to draw more walks. Because you won’t draw walks by getting into an 0-2 count over and over. So even if he were attempting to please us stat guys, we is not doing a very good job.
Then, Scott Weber at Lookout Landing essentially just criticized Wedge and his comments, and looked at what he said on a personal level, and how offensive they could be.
If he is going to peg sabermetrics as the reason that Dustin Ackley has struggled then he isn’t doing his job. Shouldn’t he be able to have a conversation with Ackley at some point to get him to change his approach if it really is that cut and dry? All this does is point out Wedge’s incompetence at developing young hitters and his inability to prevent them from falling into bad habits.
He’s spitting it in the face of everyone who stopped playing baseball for one reason or another, be it fear, anxiety, injury, lack of money, lack of transportation, or lack of talent. To every person who had to give up the game they loved: Eric Wedge is looking down on you, telling you your opinion doesn’t matter because you weren’t fortunate enough to be him.
It seems that no matter how you look at it, his comments were illogical, unnecessary, and just plain stupid. Not only do they not make sense and are rooted in ignorance, but they were also borderline offensive. Needless to say, he should not have said what he said.
I am not going to go too much more into what he said, in terms of commentary on why it was wrong . If you can’t already tell, I agree with both opinions above, especially with the parts in which Wedge basically incriminates himself out of ignorance. And if Dustin Ackley cares that much about what bloggers think, that is his own problem. He shouldn’t. He should just go be productive in any way possible. But that isn’t the problem, because Wedge was lying/wrong.
What I am going to focus on is Wedge as a whole, and whether or not he is fit to be an MLB manager. This is just one more domino in the chain of incompetence that is Eric Wedge’s reign as manager of the Mariners. He has yet to put together a successful season with the Mariners, and only has one or two in his career.
Now, there is always the question of how much effect a manager actually has. It is probably less than most people think, so Wedge is not the only person to blame for this whole M’s situation. But he certainly has a part of it, and it is easy to show that there are things he could/should have done differently, and the team would have benefited.
And then he makes lazy, ignorant comments like these, providing more proof that, irrespective of the lack of talent he has to work with, he just does not have the necessary baseball acumen to be a Major League manager. He is far behind the times, even for a old manager.
This is not the first time he has said something that does not make sense. In fact, this statement is even in contrast to what Jack Zduriencik said on the topic of Ackley, who said he was not sure whether his problem stemmed from the physical or mental aspect of the game. And then you have the ad nauseum manager comments that contradict both himself and others from one day to the next. Part of it is him saying what he has to say to defend his players or whatever. But I sincerely believe that he sincerely believes some of the crap he spews.
As far as some specific choices he has made that hurt the team…where do I begin. Well, there is Miguel Olivo playing over John Jaso last year, even against righties. There is Raul Ibanez playing as much as he has (even with the outfield injuries). And finally we have his constant need to rotate guys in and out even when they don’t need days off. He seems to not understand that some players are better than others. To put it in terms he may understand, the gooder guys should play more than the not gooder guys. That is how you win games.
It is tough to but an exact number on the effect it would have, but it is safe to say they would have been better if things had been done “the right way.”
This is not a very good team regardless of who is managing it. This whole organization took a step backwards in their ideology, going from what we thought was an advanced approach that valued pitching, defense, and undervalued aspects of the game, to one that wanted home runs and home runs only. Homers are nice, but they do not guarantee success. But having Wedge at the helm likely lowers the teams chances of success even more than they already have been.
That is why I believe it is time to move on. Move on from Wedge’s incompetence, and to someone who will not attribute a player’s struggles to what some people on the internet think. Someone who will put the best team on the field every day, and values performance over name or clubhouse presence (not that those aren’t important). Someone who has a better understanding of the game in general.
Look, Wedge obviously knows the game. You don’t get to be a professional player-turned-manger without some kind of knowledge of the game. But knowledge does not always equate to success as a manager. You can know how the game is played like the back of your hand, while simultaneously not knowing how to teach players that knowledge, or even how to put that knowledge into action himself. I am not suggesting that I could do any better, or that it is easy to manage an MLB team. I couldn’t, and it isn’t. But there are other people who could do a better job.
This current team probably isn’t a winner no matter what. But with Wedge, any small hope is all but sucked away. At least with someone who knows how to better run a team, there would be a chance, albeit small. I would not be surprised if Wedge is fired at some point this year. They have turned it around over the last couple days, but I am not sure that Ol’ Wedgie will last through another big losing streak, should one come about.
What do you guys think about Wedge and his comments? Do you buy what he said? And moreover, do you think he should stick around as manager?