After seven seasons in Cleveland, former skipper Eric Wedge wore out his welcome with his “grinder” approach and lack of sustained success. Now in just his third season with the Seattle Mariners, might the same thing be happening in the Pacific Northwest?
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, one of the best baseball writers out there, dedicated the first segment of his online column today to Wedge and Kansas City’s Ned Yost. He called out both for their disappointing starts to 2013, but said the problems run deeper than just that.
“Why are the Mariners constantly failing to improve and why can’t they identify or develop good young hitters?” Verducci wrote. “Those questions must be answered by general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge, both of whom should feel less comfortable these days than [Dustin] Ackley. … The Mariners have nothing of substance to show for trades of Cliff Lee and Michael Pineda. And, no, it’s not to be blamed on spacious Safeco Field, where the Mariners once built a 116-win team. Something is seriously wrong institutionally when it comes to identifying and developing talent in Seattle.”
Verducci proceeded to share how Wedge’s Mariners teams have often ranked at the bottom with some of the worst offensive statistics in franchise history. His overall record is 165-213 (.437) with no playoff appearances. The team improved from 67 wins in 2011 to 75 last season, but has regressed thus far in 2013. Most notably, several of their top hitting prospects — notably Ackley and catcher Jesus Montero — haven’t lived up their lofty potential.
The Indians swept the Mariners in a four-game series at Progressive Field just two weeks ago. Yan Gomes’ walk-off home run on May 20 bumped the team to season-high nine games over .500.
Of course, preceding Wedge’s tenure in Seattle, it’s also not too helpful when the Mariners organization has so often gift-wrapped up-and-coming to the Indians. Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and Omar Vizquel are three All-Stars acquired for pennies on the dollar over the years in Seattle-Cleveland trades.