Wedge not the reason Indians are struggling

June, 22, 2009
There were a lot of us who picked the Indians to win the American League Central, and right now they have the worst record in the American League. But manager Eric Wedge is not being fired. Wedge is not the issue.

General manager Mark Shapiro has always preached accountability to his players, and as the Indians have fallen from one game away from the World Series in 2007 to last place less than one and a half seasons later, he says, "in the end, it's the players, and who's responsible for the players? I am."

Shapiro has always considered his manager his "partner," and he and Wedge have worked that way. Wedge has never been considered fungible or intimidated, and Shapiro says, "our players have never stopped playing hard, never quit on him; there's been no back-biting or dissension and, frankly, we may have been in position to win games we shouldn't have.

"I think," Shapiro says, "just firing the manager is a cop-out. Winning is an organizational result. We haven't had a very good team on the field at times; when you're a small-market or medium-market team and go through injuries or players don't perform as we hoped, it's hard to replace them."

Grady Sizemore has been hurt most of the season, Travis Hafner is just coming back. Fausto Carmona (2-6, 7.42 ERA), Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt, Asdrubal Cabrera , Aaron Laffey and Jake Westbrook all have been hurt or have underperformed. Adam Miller didn't come back from finger surgery.

Maybe the Rockies players had heard Clint Hurdle's voice too long; they have responded to Jim Tracy. Josh Byrnes also made a change in Arizona because he wants to change the way major league players are coached and developed.

Shapiro has essentially shared whatever blame disappointed Indians fans think must be thrown into Lake Erie.

"I am willing to accept the consequences of our reality," says Shapiro. "Accountability is singular, with me."



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