What to do with Eric Wedge?
By JJ Keller
I often feel that managers are often handed too much blame. If he has a bad team, it’s not his fault they aren’t winning. For the most part, that is the case with Eric Wedge. His leadoff hitter has a .300 OBP, and his team leader in home runs is at 18. It’s tough to win ball games like that.
However, as demonstrated in this article from U.S.S. Mariner, he doesn’t help himself out much. The article outlines the fact that John Jaso was available to pitch hit for 4 right handed hitters, who were all to face a RHP. These players are Casper Wells, Miguel Olivo, Brendan Ryan and Franklin Gutierrez. I hope Dave is right, and Jaso was unavailable for some reason. It’s not like Wedge didn’t want to pitch hit, as he sent Trayvon Robinson out there for Wells.
Why else would you leave your best hitter, at least against RHP, on the bench when you have a chance to win. Especially when that guy is as clutch as Jaso has been this year. How many times have we seen him produce in important situations, either as a pitch hitter, or when he started the game.
Lineup and game management are obviously not Wedgies strong suits. He has many many questionable calls, both to start the game, and during it. DHing Olivo, really playing him regularly at all, starting Figgins (although that has been gone for a while now, thankfully), and slotting guys in odd spots in the order. So while Wedge has not had a lot to work with, he has shrunken that supply even more by sitting guys who produce more than others who are playing.
I am not necessarily saying we should fire him though. Players, especially young ones, need consistency. Changing the manager during the middle-end of a rebuilding process isn’t usually a good idea. While the new manager may do some thing better, that also means they will be done differently. Young, struggling players have enough to figure out as it is. Completely changing the mindset of their “leader” just adds to the already overwhelming situation. I am kind of on the fence at this point, and I’m not sure which I think would benefit the team. I certainly wouldn’t fire him just to fire him. There would have to be a candidate out there who the organization is confident would help the team more than Wedge does.
I do think Chris Chambiss has to go. I just think that having as many talented players struggle as we do cannot be a coincidence any longer. Something is wrong, and the logical answer is coaching. Look at Casper, Carp and even Smoak. They all showed improvement in some way after returning from AAA. Casper and Carp started to crush the ball, and Smoak’s swing has looked much shorter and quicker. The thing is, Carp and Casper didn’t end up sustaining the success. It wore off. Could it be that working with AAA hitting coach Jeff Pentland helped them, and once they went back to Chambliss they lost it. Who knows. But Smoak did put Pentland in his phone as “Hit Doctor”
So what do you guys think? Should Wedge be fired, or should we keep him around, at least for now? Feel free the comment explaining your vote as well.