By Shannon Drayer
Eric Wedge wanted to make one thing clear Saturday morning: the reason why he is leaving has nothing to do with his contract status.
"It didn't matter if they offered me a one-year contract or a five-year deal," the outgoing Mariners manager said on the pregame show.
Wedge went into more specifics during his daily meeting with the media, reiterating that his vision for the club was different than the vision those above him had.
"Where they see the club – they being Howard (Lincoln), Chuck (Armstrong) and Jack (Zduriencik) – and where I see the club, my vision of the future and theirs are just different. That's as plain as I can make it," he said.
Wedge's vision has been one of patience. In his view, young players don't grow up overnight, and it is tough for them to grow up without help in the lineup.
"Sticking with the kids you believe in, adding to it, being patient," he said in defining his vision. "Sticking to the program and having consistency. You have to have consistency with personnel. Every time you turn over you start over again to a certain extent."
Wedge has been vocal in the past about not having enough veterans on the team – or having ineffective ones – to supplement the youngsters. His belief is one-year free-agent fixes are not going to get the job done. In his view, the team needs veterans who are more invested. As I suggested in my previous post, his control over how to use the players he had or had available to him appears to have been an issue as well. When asked if he was able to do what he wanted to do or expected to be able to do with this club, he didn't go in to detail but answered, "No, not to the extent that I would have liked."
And so he moves on.
"It's tough," he said. "I still love being around the players, the kids, the coaches, but ultimately you have got to do what you believe in."
On his way out he pointed to what he believes the club needs to do going forward.
"You've got to get some guys in here," he said. "Someone that you can count on in the middle of your lineup, another one in your rotation and probably in the bullpen, too. But that's up to them."
Additions aside, Wedge told Rick Rizzs on the pregame show that he still believes in a lot of the youth we have seen this year and hopes whoever comes in next will stick with them.
"Hopefully they can come in here and be patient," he said. "That's what it takes. I know nobody wants to hear that. Ultimately you have got to stick with the program and be patient to let these guys end up being the big-league players they can be. They have got to continue to learn on the job here. They are going to inherit a good situation, a good group of guys and they should be in a position to be where a lot of these guys are ready to take off, so hopefully they will."
For now it would appear Wedge has had his say.
"I know what's happened here," he concluded. "That's enough for me. I had a certain vision coming in here. I came here for certain reasons, and I will leave here for certain reasons."