Mariners manager Eric Wedge is still on the job and not about to go quietly. Wedge read the media coverage of yesterday’s events and was not pleased with statements by the team that his decision to leave was mainly about his lack of a contract extension beyond 2014.
This morning, Wedge was blunt about why he chose to leave.
“Let me be clear here: the contract is not the reason I’m not coming back here,” Wedge said. “If they’d offered me a five-year contract, I wouldn’t have come back here. So, let’s be clear with that.”
Wedge was asked to go into greater detail.
“It’s where they see the club,” he said. “They being Howard (Lincoln), Chuck (Armstrong) and Jack (Zduriencik). And where I see the club and my vision for the future and theirs, it’s just different. And that’s about as plain as I can make it.”
Wedge said his vision of the future is sticking with the young players the team has committed to, adding to that mix and then being patient and sticking with the program.
“And having consistency,” he said. “You have to have consistency with personnel. Every time you turn over, you start over again to a certain extent.”
Wedge said he wasn’t just talking about himself and the coaching staff, but also the players the team has chosen to bring in.
“The whole gambit,” he said.
The Mariners did bring in a bunch of veterans this past off-season but mostly on one-year deals. He’d like to see the team commit to more stable pieces that can help the younger players not just now, but down the road. And not only veterans on thir final legs, but players in their prime.
When I mentioned to him that Zduriencik yesterday suggested that he and Wedge were mostly on the same page vision-wise, outside of their contract differences, Wedge shook his head.
“That’s not the case,” he said. “Like I said, I’m not not coming back here because of the contract. It’s because of how they see things and how I see things.”
So, what exactly is Wedge’s vision? Well, he talked about some of it yesterday, about sticking with young players and not bailing at the first — or second, or third — sign of trouble. But it also involves supplementing the core with some proven talent — something this franchise has been loathe to do going on several years, especially when it comes to increasing payroll.
Wedge clearly is not pleased with some of the supplemental work done here. He didn’t want to get too far into it today, knowing what a storm he’s already going to cause with his words. But we pressed him on it and he did offer up some stuff.
For starters, I asked him whether he was as involved in the decision-making process as he felt he should be when it came to personnel, given his prior seven years of experience managing a rebuilding effort in Cleveland.
“No, not to the extent that I would have liked,” said.
Wedge was asked about the lack of younger veteran players on the team, the fourth and fifth year guys who could help speed a rebuilding plan along.
He agreed the Mariners don’t have enough of those and that it hurts the team’s consistency.
Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez worked out for him, but both are on one-year deals. Wedge was asked whether he’d have liked to see more experienced pieces brought in on multi-year deals.
“Yeah, that are vested in it, yeah,” he said.
Wedge was asked whether he felt he was being made to absorb the blame for the team’s record, despite the fact the Mariners were forced to abandon their pre-season game plan in April due to injury and then called up a bunch of Class AA and AAA players in-season.
“I think it’s all part of it,” he said. “It comes with the territory, you know what I mean? I mean, I know what’s happened here and that’s enough for me.”