Again, there is no confirmation from the Mariners as of yet but sources say Eric Wedge is the team's choice to be the next manager.
Wedge is not exactly a household name here in Seattle but we have had the opportunity at 710 ESPN to talk to Eduardo Perez, Aaron Boone and Tom Hamilton. Perez and Boone are ESPN baseball analysts who both played for Wedge in Cleveland, while Hamilton is the Indians radio announcer. All were excited to hear the news.
"Eric is a great choice for the Mariners," said Boone, who will join the Calabro show Monday afternoon. "I consider him a players' manager, but he also has a presence, a toughness, that allows him to keep the balance."
Hamilton seemed to believe that it was a mistake that Wedge was fired in Cleveland in 2009 and noted that Indians general manager Mark Shapiro was hesitant to do so at the time. Perez, who endorsed Wedge for the position Thursday on the Calabro show, didn't mince words.
"I really believe they hit a home run picking him," he said.
Perez pointed to communication skills as being a forte for Wedge, saying he stressed how important it was for players to know their roles, not just for the season, but day to day.
"You always hear, 'well, players should stop crying and just prepare like they are starting every day,'" Perez said. "But you can't do that. In the grind of 162 game season you have got to prepare your players to go out there and produce by them knowing how to get ready and Eric does that very well with every single guy. He treats them independently, he doesn't treat them as a whole. Every player has a different personality and he knows how to manage that."
Of course the personality all eyes are on now is that of Milton Bradley, who clashed with Wedge in Cleveland. The situation became intolerable during spring training in 2004. According to Hamilton, the steps Wedge took next was for the good of the team.
"For me, the turning point for this franchise when we got good again is when (Wedge) went to Mark Shapiro and said, 'it's either Milton Bradley or me and you have got to make the call.'"
Shapiro made the call and Bradley was shipped off to the Dodgers for Franklin Gutierrez. Six years have gone by since then and while Bradley is nowhere near as volatile as he was then, there are questions about his influence in the clubhouse. Whether it will work with the plan going forward remains to be seen. Perez had strong feelings on the issue.
"It is going to be interesting to see the dynamic he is going to have with Bradley," he said. "But at the same time, Jack (Zduriencik) is going to have to back his manager up. Eric is a no-nonsense kind of guy, takes his job very seriously and expects his players to be as professional as he is in getting ready for a game."
As far as tactical skills go, Perez said that Wedge was good with the bullpen, knew how to manage a bench and utilized the platoon system well.
"It's a good situation for him," Perez concluded. "I really believe that they underachieved, that guys didn't know what there roles were and he is going to make sure that every guy is identified within that roster."
Boone again stressed the balance he felt Wedge would bring.
"In baseball, you're always trying to find the balance between having fun and staying loose, while at the same time keeping things close to the vest," he said. "I think he is a great hire. The Mariners are getting a great manager and a great leader in Eric Wedge."