This is cross-posted from ProBall Northwest
Of course, not a full hour after I posted a review of the managerial candidates, and news is starting to filter out that Eric Wedge will be tapped to lead the Seattle Mariners on the field in 2011 and beyond. Credit to Larry Stone and Jon Heyman for breaking the story, and curses to my typically horrible timing. Oh well.
By all indications, Wedge seems like the most solid choice of the options the Mariners had on their shopping list. Outside of his famous issues with Milton Bradley (getting so bad at one point that Bradley wore a shirt that said “F*** Eric Wedge” in the clubhouse with the media present), Wedge had a very good reputation of having solid relationships with his players, and for getting the most out of them that he could. He lead the Cleveland Indians to the brink of going to the 2007 World Series before the Boston Red Sox came back and ultimately won the title themselves. That 2007 Indians team was a good one to be sure, but going into the season few if any baseball analysts would have seen them enjoying such success.
By all indications, Wedge is also a great teacher for young players, having overseen the starts of the Indians’ current rebuilding process. Outside of Bradley, I have yet to hear of anyone in the game speaking ill of him. In fact, the majority of the reviews you’ll see on him from around the league will very likely be glowing ones. This doesn’t seem like a bad hire for the Mariners in any way.
Stone tweeted a short while ago that Wedge’s pitching coach for much of his Cleveland tenure was Carl Willis, most recently the M’s pitching coach after Rick Adair at the same time as Wakamatsu’s firing. I’d be happy to see Willis retained in that role, as he worked closely with a number of the M’s young pitchers both at the Major League level and in the minors as the team’s roving pitching instructor. Seeing him work at the major league level, including watching him run a pre-game session in the bullpen with off-day starters and relievers alike, I like his style and would be more than willing to support him going on with the team as the pitching coach.
I still wish we had given Clint Hurdle a chance to interview, but oh well. As I’ve said before, I can be more than happy with Wedge.
I do want to repeat something that I said at the end of my candidate roundup from earlier, though. We can all guess and estimate and theorize until we’re blue in the face, but we won’t know if the M’s hired the right guy for probably at least two years, especially considering that the team is headed into a (hopefully brief) rebuilding phase. As things are now, we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best. We now seem to know just who that guy will be, and now we just have to wait and see what happens.
Also, I wish all the best to Darren Brown in his future. I hope he finds nothing but success wherever he goes, whether it’s back to Tacoma (which is what I’m hoping for), or elsewhere.