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On Wood and Wedge

6/24/2009

After detailing Kerry Wood's recent (and season-long) struggles and predicting a DL stint for the Indian closer, Paneech gets to the meat of the thing:

    Wood is the least of the bullpen problems as bad as he has been lately, and that is a pretty sad but true statement. I can recall at least seven games this season already, when the Indians had at least a three-run lead after five innings and have lost the game.
    Eric Wedge needs to go. He is bringing in the wrong pitchers in the wrong situations and has had zero luck finding a cork for the leaky dam we call the Indians bullpen. The bullpen, and Wood in particular, need to step it way up and do a better job for the next manager. Wedge downplayed last nights almost tragic collapse and said, "Wood got the last out and that's what matters most.” Wrong Eric, what matters most is the fact that Wood should not have even been used in the game and that you have serious problems behind the fence in your bullpen.

Here's where Cleveland's relievers have ranked in the American League, ERA-wise, since Wedge took over in 2003:
2003:   4th
2004: 12th
2005:   1st
2006: 11th
2007:   4th
2008: 13th
2009: 13th

Not much of a pattern there. Well, these last two seasons have been disastrous. But is it Wedge's fault that Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez, who were so brilliant in 2007, haven't been nearly as brilliant since? Did he know how to run a bullpen in 2003, forget in 2004, then really remember in 2005 ... before forgetting completely again in 2008 and '09?

I don't mean to completely absolve Wedge. I seem to recall Bill James once writing that a good manager should be able to cobble together a reasonably effective bullpen from the materials at hand, like a good cook can come up with a fine meal with whatever she finds in the kitchen (that last part is mine).

Anyway, we probably won't have Eric Wedge to kick around much longer. According to this report, the Indians' owner is soon going to meet with the Indians' general manager about the Indians' manager. And as Craig notes, "One of the most important things I've learned in my life is that you never want to be an agenda item at a meeting to which you're not invited."