Mariners Insider

Mariners manager Eric Wedge discusses his job situation

Post by Ryan Divish on Sep. 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm with 15 Comments »
September 25, 2013 7:31 pm

At some point it needed to be asked, and today was the day. Eric Wedge is not under contract for next year. And at times he sounds like a man, who knows he won’t be retained for next season. He was asked about it today. Here’s the transcripts.

On his job status

“Well, it’s tough. I feel like I’m hanging out there, that’s the reality of it. But I’m coming here and doing my job. You know how passionate I am about this team, and these players in particular, and this organization. The unfortunate part about how it’s being handled is the effect it has on the players. That’s why we’re all here, is for the players.

I’m a strong man, and I’m going to be fine either way. But I’d like to see this thing through. We’ve done a lot of developing with a lot of young players over three years. I’d like to be here to lead them and turn the corner.”

On working with more of a finished product instead of young players:

“Well, it’s going to be a combination of both here. The bottom line is you’re going to have a lot of young kids, but you’re going to have to mix in some veterans, too. You have to add to it. Because when you have young kids up here all the time, they’re going to make mistakes. That’s part of it. We haven’t taken a step back. It’s just the fact we keep bringing up kids. You’re going to continue to make mistakes up here while you’re learning. The forward part of it is we have a lot of kids that are moving forward, and that should pay off for us. But you’re going to have to still add to that. That’s just the way it works.

You know what? You know how passionate I am about this. It is what it is.”

On the difficulties of missing a month of the season

“Here’s the thing, the big league club was in bad shape when I got here. And that was told to me directly. We righted the ship. We won six more games the first year. We sured up our system and won eight more games last year. Came in here this year and felt like were going to do better. But things changed in a hurry with Montero, Gutierrez, Morse, Ryan, Ackley – everybody up the middle – whether be performance or injury. That’s a quick chance at some key positions. So you bring young kids up, so you take a step back to move two steps forward, that’s what we did.

And I still felt like, before I got sick, that we were ramping up. If you look at what we were starting to do and some of the series we werecplaying and some of the wins we were having, it was all coming together nicely and then I got sick and I’m gone for a month. It’s not like I left marching orders. Robby (Thompson)  and everybody did a great job, but the program was disrupted. It’s been unfortunate. And it’s been tough ever since. The guys are fighting and we’re playing. We are in every game. That shows you how close you are. It can be frustrating when you look at it, but it also shows how close you are. We are a hit, a pitch, a play away from winning a lot of those ballgames.

Hey, I’ve done this before. I know how to do it. The worst thing they could do is blow it up and start over. You got to stick something at some point in time.”

On if he’s been told when some clarity about his situation will happen

“It will be some time between now and the end of the season or right after the season ends. So we’ll have to sit down and talk.”

On if it’s difficult to manage in this situation

“Yeah, we shouldn’t be in this situation. But you man up. You handle it. It’s what you do. When you are leading men, the men like to know who and what they are being led by and if they are going to be around tomorrow. So it does change the dynamic. But I knew that along time. This hasn’t just started. It’s been that way for quite a while. It gets to be in the way.”

On when there should have clarity been given to this situation:

“I don’t know. I couldn’t really put a timeline. I do have my thoughts on that more specifically but I probably won’t get into that for other reasons.”

On whether it’s fair or unfair to bring up his health:

“Well that would be unfair. It’s been very clear to me from all the doctors I’m going to be 100 percent. I’m going to have to get into the offseason and then I’ll be fine. They said 3 to 6 months. But hell, I’m going to be better than I ever have been because evidently my brain wasn’t getting enough oxygen each and every night and I was working all day to catch up from it (laughing).  I’m looking to be fueled and fired the rest of the way.

I feel great. I feel like I’m 33 years old again. My best managing days are ahead of me whether it’s here or somewhere else. I want to be here. I moved my family out here. I’m committed to the community. I’m all in. I haven’t done anything wrong except for come out here and coach up these kids and teach them how to play at the big league level. That’s what I do. I don’t bitch about anything. I’m here to help these kids become good solid big league players and hopefully solid citizens in Seattle. So if that is not enough for them, then so be it.”

On if this rebuilding timeline was what he envisioned:

“Well, with the exception of probably just getting it younger again, your third year in. Which is just part of it. It’s just the way it’s worked out. Because you’ve got a lot of good young player coming, and it’s either that or you have to go out and get somebody. We took the alternative of bringing our younger players up.

So if you do that, you’re not going to win as many games. But you’re going to be better suited for the future. It has to be a long-term plan. I didn’t get here 12 years ago, I didn’t get here six years ago. I got here less than three years ago. So this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re committed to. You have to have strength. You’ve got to have conviction with what you do. But if somebody else is sitting in this seat tomorrow, they’re going to be in a decent situation moving forward, really.”

On his reaction to Z extension:

“Good. I’m happy for him. Good for him.”

On where does he see improvement in the rebuild:

“Just again, every day we’re out here and these young kids are playing and learning. You can’t practice everything. There’s a lot in baseball you can’t practice. That’s why you play games in the Minor leagues. They’re up here playing games and learning on the job. To be so competitive – and we have been competitive, by the way, and we’re looking to be more than that, of course – but to be so competitive with so many young kids and the fact we broke in how many more pitchers this year in the bullpen and starting pitchers, the fact the Smoaks and Saunders and Ackleys of the world are now 2-3 years into their careers and look like they’re going to be pretty good players, it will all add up once you have them from Day One.

What’s going to be interesting is having these guys together from Day One. The guys that aren’t here or got hurt, they weren’t going to be part of this for the most part anyway, probably. Not all of them, but most of them.”



Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. westside_guy says:

    I am not a fan of Wedge the manager, but he seems like he’d be a good guy to have as a neighbor – or to just go have a beer with. The one thing I DO think he does very well is protect his players and keep the clubhouse together. Those aren’t trivial skills. I just wish his ideas about how a team wins weren’t locked in to the 1950s.

  2. Quinault says:

    We do not steal bases. We do not hit and run. We do not take the extra base. We do not advance the runner. We swing for the moved in fences and have hit a lot of homeruns this year and yet we are still in 4th place (no longer last – thank you Houston).

    I will give some credence to what he said: the team played better under Thompson. Maybe they will play better under Thompson next year. I do want to dispute one thing Wedge said: ” I haven’t done anything wrong except for come out here and coach up these kids and teach them how to play at the big league level.” I have not seen it.

  3. They don’t steal bases because they have the slowest team in all of baseball. they don’t hit and run because they have poor contract rate. I mean, I can go out and buy the special shoes and spend hours trying but I’m not going to be able to dunk a basketball.

  4. The Mariners are one of the must unathletic teams in baseball. Miller and Franklin and Saunders are average base stealing threats at best.

  5. Quinault says:

    Instead of buying special shoes, buy a mini-trampoline.

    Guti used to run. Ackley has speed (ish). Almonte has been refreshing – still way too green – but fun to watch. They even worked with Montero in the off season as how to run. Thankfully we did not see the results this year. But who knows about next year….. Chavy is capable of running, but should not be on the club next year. Even Ryan could run the bases. The only problem he has was getting on base.

    Contact rate is a critical part of this puzzle. We cannot get runners in or over.

  6. Guti used to run but is made of peanut brittle in 32 degree weather. Ackley is fast-ish but is not a great base stealer. You can’t force them to be something they aren’t. It’s like sac bunting … they are the worst hitting team with RISP. why waste an out to put a runner on second if they cant’ hit him in.

    Putting the game in motion just for the sake of doing so when you aren’t built for it or good at it is foolish to me. Situational hitting is much different and can be addressed.

  7. Quinault says:

    Another point is that you use whatever tools you have in order to score. Foot speed = stolen bases. Putting runners (and the team) in a position to score (and win) = pressure on the other team. Pitching pretty much trumps everything.

    I think we are built for the game in motion, if Miller, Franklin, Ackley, Saunders and Almonte are starters next year. I almost want to put Seager in that bunch, but somebody has to drive them home. But you are right – we are not good at anything, especially RISP. It will be Wedge’s epitaph.

  8. The sheer amount of youth that has come up this year should give Wedge a pass on this year’s W-L record. And he is right, they have been “in” pretty much every game. I agree with him that you have to stick with the program and the rebuilding with the young kids, and I have yet to hear any of them complain about him.

  9. Foot speed does not equal stolen bases. Simply being fast does not make a player a stolen-base threat. It is an art, and requires skill and stones. There are guys who steal that lack elite speed but are adept at reading a pitcher. There are guys that can run like the wind but get thrown out 30% of the time.

    Ackley is a great example. He has straight-line speed, one of the 3 fastest guys on the team. But he gets HORRIBLE jumps. Can that be learned? Sure, to an extent. If it was an easy skill to pick up then a lot more guys would be like Rickey Henderson.

    With so many young guys getting extended playing time, I am not surprised to see the team struggle with RISP. Staying calm and not trying to do too much is something that they should pick up with more experience.

    Again, there was nothing Wedge could do about Guti getting hurt (again), Joe Saunders and Aaron Harang pitching like garbage for the majority of the season, Wilhelmsen imploding, Pryor getting hurt, Brendan Ryan hitting sub-.200, Montero being ineffective/injured/suspended, Morse getting his finger busted and never being the same, Michael Saunders crashing into a fence and getting hurt when he was (arguably) the MVP at that point in the season, the list goes on and on. Are there things that he could have done better? Absolutely. Is he perfect? Nope. But for a young team that is going to have its fair share of struggles as they learn to play consistently at the bog league level, he is a good fit. He is a leader, he takes pressure off the young guys by putting it on himself, he doesn’t run away and hide and blame everybody for the struggles (Valentine), doesn’t cry about the situation, doesn’t play the “what if” game.

    Q, you say you want someone like Gardenhire in here. Hasn’t Minnesota sucked the last 3 years? Haven’t their struggles been similar to what Seattle has gone through (lack of starting pitching, inconsistent bullpen, injuries, young players)? But Gardenhire is a great manager and Wedge sucks, right? Give me a break.


    Minne has been worse than the M’s the last 3 years, but Gardenhire has a long record of leading winning teams with a shoestring budget. Wedge does not. He did have a couple of good records with Cle. I hardly think that Wedge is the biggest problem here, but I think that Gardenhire would be an upgrade. He would likely benefit from a new situation IMO.

  11. If the young guys, which is the core and future of our team, believe in Wedge, believe in his message, and want to go out and continue to play hard for him, then you keep him. A manager’s job at the big league level is more about motivation and psychology than anything else, and he has kept this group together very well, all things considered. Just my opinion.

  12. The only question I have is who is going to come here with a lame duck GM that is on his third manager in 5 years? Maybe they will promote Robby Thompson or Darren Brown. Gotta keep Wedge one more year. He is tied to Jack Z.

  13. westside_guy says:

    I can’t significantly disagree with anyone who’s posted, really. We do have some guys who can run reasonably well, but that’s not much help when you add in the plodders – how many times have we seen Saunders on first base with Smoak or Morales on second? I frequently disagree with Wedge’s lineups, but with a bunch of slow guys starting… they have to go somewhere! In the end, that’s on Zduriencik not Wedge.

    And much as I’ve enjoyed watching Zunino behind the plate… he really should’ve been at AAA this year so he could learn to hit. That’s going to take a while at the major league level, if it happens at all. Bringing him up early was putting short term needs ahead of the teams long term interest, and again that’s Zduriencik not Wedge. There were guys better than Blanco or Quintero or Shoppach available.

  14. They were counting on Montero and Shoppach this year, and it was apparent after about a month that wasn’t going to work out. Then they had to scramble for even halfway decent players at the position. Once Sucre got hurt, they really had no choice but to bring up Zunino. He has played well defensively, and has provided better offensive production than Montero, Shoppach, Blanco, or the last couple years with Olivo. It was good learning experience for him.

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