Breaking News: Indians Fire Manager Eric Wedge
In a move sure to surprise no one, the Cleveland Indians dismissed manager Eric Wedge and his entire coaching staff today. Wedge and staff will stay on for the rest of the season.
Some may question the timing. Why fire him with five games left? The answer to that question is simple. Once the decision is made it is only right to let them know. Assistant coaches are not paid like the on field talent and the sooner they can start looking for new employment the better.
As far as Wedge goes, it is obvious he was not ready to manage at the big league level. His failings include poor starts to each season and an inability to develop young players.
The next question is who to hire as the new manager? My preference would be a manager with major league experience. I don't want another first time manager still learning on the job. Here are various names likely to be considered with short blurbs of other factors:
Buck Showalter - Former manager of three teams (Yankees, Rangers, Diamonbacks). Previously was an assistant to Indians GM Mark Shapiro.
Bobby Valentine - Former manager of Mets and Rangers. Very successful managing in Japan.
Larry Bowa - Current 3B coach for Dodgers & former manager of Phillies.
Omar Vizquel - Utility infielder with Rangers and free agent at end of season. Omar is a fan favorite who has expressed a desire to manage. No chance.
Mike Hargrove - Former manager of Indians, Orioles and Mariners. Still has strong ties to Cleveland area. Quit on Mariners middle of last season. No thanks.
Torey Lovullo - Indians AAA level manager at Columbus. Will get consideration, but I'd don't want another guy without major league experience. Add him to the staff to help the new manager learn the players since Lovullo knows them well.
John Farrell - Red Sox pitching coach. Formerly an assistant in teh Indians front office. I don't like the history of pitching coaches becoming managers. Pass.
Chris Chambliss - Former Indians player. Longtime assistant coach for several major league teams with AAA managerial experience. Often interviewed to satisfy the mandatory minority interview requirement. He'd be an interesting hire. Has had the opportunity to learn from several very good managers (Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Billy Martin, etc.). He is a little long in the tooth (he'd be 61 on opening day next year) for a first time manager, but he is due for a chance.
Pete Mackanin - Current Phillies bench coach. Longtime minor league manager & major league coach. Served as interim manager in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Known for developing young players and good in game decisions. Another guy like Chambliss who never got an opportunity.
This is the biggest decision Mark Shapiro will make as general manager. Can Shapiro's ego handle hiring a high profile, strong, opinionated manager? If the new manager doesn't work out Shapiro will be out the door with him. Many are wondering why Shapiro is getting a free pass as it is.
I'm sure there are candidates I overlooked. Who else should be considered?
Sandy Alomar Jr. - Currently coaching with New York Mets. Can't believe I forgot Sandy. He is still active with Cleveland charities and like Vizquel a fan favorite. Probably will manage in the future, but this isn't his time yet.
Brad Mills - Red Sox coach. Father of Indians prospect Beau Mills. Doubtful choice.