BY Art Thiel 06:11PM 09/27/2013

Wedge says he’s done: ‘We see things differently’

Rather than wait for team management to tell him to go away, manager Eric Wedge beat the Mariners to it Friday afternoon, telling the club that after the season ends Sunday, he was done with a franchise that has locked up its eighth losing season in the past 10, three under Wedge.

“Obviously, I wasn’t going to move forward here,” Wedge told reporters before the game with the Oakland. “We see things differently, we talk about it, but it was obvious I wasn’t going to move forward.

“I informed them officially this morning that I want to finish this season and honor my contract, but I will not return for the 2014 season here, and that’s where I left it.”

He said that the Mariners talked to him about a one-year extension prior to the season, but he declined, and the subject was dropped.

“I told them I wasn’t willing or prepared to do that. I didn’t feel like that was the proper endorsement (for a manager of a young team),” he said.

Wedge seemed to know he was done well before Wednesday, when he criticized management in a pre-game talk with reporters for letting him “hang out there” once they let out word that the man who hired him, general manager Jack Zduriencik, would be back for another season.

“He thought going in a different direction was best,” Zduriencik told KJR radio. “He put in his resignation this morning. It’s unfortunate.

“From my standpoint, I’m saddened. We had every intention of bringing him back, and he declined it last year. We were going to meet on Monday on a gamut of issues with the club. We talked yesterday at an impromptu meeting and he made his decision this morning. I look at it as disappointing, but also as a great opportunity.”

Zduriencik declined to address Wedge’s complaint that he was denied an extension for more than a year, citing club policy.

“I wanted Eric back,” he said. “It was never a part of the discussion within the organization, among Howard (Lincoln, CEO) and Chuck (Armstrong, president) and myself, of Eric not returning.”

Speaking generally, Zduriencik didn’t think a deal of longer than a year was needed, citing former Dodgers managers Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda as managers who worked on one-year rollovers.

“I look at differently,” he said. “Players play. A manager has a certain influence, a coaching staff has a certain influence, but players are going to play. When you have a group of young kids, you have to trust the process.”

Wedge missed 28 games this season after suffering a minor stroke on the field before a game July 22. Upon his return, the club lost six in a row.

The season ends Sunday and his contract runs through Oct. 31. Zduriencik, whose extension from last winter was confirmed only this week when a reporter asked, will presumably pick a third manager in his five-year tenure, after firing Don Wakamatsu in mid-season of 2010, his second season.

“There’s a certain prototype I’m looking for,” Zduriencik said about the next manager. “We have young kids who need a mentor. There’s going to be a very excited manager taking over this ballclub.”

Mariners Managers (1977-13)

Manager Years Games W L PCT.
Darrell Johnson 1977-80 588 226 362 .384
Maury Wills 1980-81 82 26 56 .317
Renee Lacheman 1981-83 320 140 180 .438
Del Crandall 1983-84 224 93 131 .415
Chuck Cottier 1984-86 217 98 119 .452
Marty Martinez 1986 1 0 1 .000
Dick Williams 1986-88 351 159 192 .453
Jimmy Snyder 1988 105 45 60 .429
Jim Lefebvre 1989-91 486 233 253 .479
Bill Plummer 1992 162 64 98 .395
Lou Piniella 1993-02 1,551 840 711 .541
Bob Melvin 2003-04 324 156 168 .481
Mike Hargrove 2005-07 402 192 210 .478
John McLaren 2007-08 156 68 88 .436
Jim Riggleman 2008 90 36 54 .400
Don Wakamatsu 2009-10 274 127 147 .464
Eric Wedge 2011-13 483 212 271 .439





  • maoling

    Art, do you have any faith that this organization will ever get it right until Howard and Chuck are gone? Manager after manager, losing season after losing season, promises, promises and nothing but ashes every year. How is a fan supposed to have any confidence these guys know what they are doing?

    • Trygvesture

      A fan can’t: they don’t. Only time it “worked”: Lou and Pat. H-C couldn’t handle their superior and demanding baseball expertise and drove them both away. Old school top-dog management style.

      Look at the record Art included: the losing seasons — the non-Lou/Gillick ones–were the ones where Chuck had grabbed the reins, as he is said to continue to do with Z– who may not be worth a damn anyway, but, by the way he reports his own interactions with them, is likely go-along/get along with H-C. Probably therefore gets lots of slack as an ObedientCorporateGuy.

      • Robert

        I’ve been seeing this ‘ran off’ line about Piniella quite a bit today, and while I won’t say it’s not true, let me make two observations:
        1) Piniella lasted a hell of a lot longer in Seattle as manager than he did anywhere else
        2) Not to say he’s a quitter – more of a hothead – but he sure strikes me as a guy who’d be easy to run off

        • Trygvesture

          All the more reason to have and exhibit a competent managerial style. All the more pathetic that Howard would not tolerate nor recognise Lou’s greater expertise and resorted to the old school response: he called Lou “insubordinate” for the coproration- sin of advocating for the player he needed to win it all. Howard preferred to take it as an affront rather than see it for what it was– a clear statement of how to win from a winner. And the team has been a loser ever since.

  • Jamo57

    I love this tweet from Sound Transit:

    Sound Transit ‏@SoundTransit2m

    It’s been a great @Mariners season. Reminder to our riders – no Sounder service this final weekend.

    The manager and ST have both decided to shut it down early this year. Great season though!

    • Trygvesture

      Stellar. Says it all.

  • jafabian

    They should just promote Robbie Thompson. If it works out, great. If not then a new GM isn’t stuck with a manager he didn’t hire.

    • tedsfrozenhead

      Or maybe Simmons. Time to go old school

      • jafabian

        That was done when McClaren was promoted. The last two GM’s were first year GMs. Maybe thats where to go old school.

        • tedsfrozenhead

          I agree that we need an established GM with a proven track record of success. As far as Johnny Mac and Simmons there is really no comparison except neither had any MLB managerial experience. Simmons is known as an old school tough player from a no bull crap era while McClaren was a AAA player at his best and a career coach. Knowing them only by reputation I still see a tremendous difference between their mindsets.. Simmons has never coached or managed though and his appointment as mgr would only be because no one else could be found. He stepped down from high pressure job as GM for the Pirates due to heart issues and I doubt he would want to step into this mess. Look for another unproven manager for the Seattle Mariners

  • Guy K. Browne

    I had to blink a couple of times, and then look back at the list. Only one manager (Sweet Lou) had a winning record over the past 35 years of Mariner baseball. Ooof.

    • davewakeman

      What’s bad is that it’s Lou with an above .500 record and the rest of the managers aren’t even really close. You can’t really place the blame at the feet of the manager, entirely, because minus Pat Gillick, the GMs that are picking and signing the players haven’t done a very good job of giving the managers the pieces to manage.

      I think it is going to be tough to get a manager to come in this off season because it is pretty obvious that Z is a lame duck GM and that the ownership situation is in flux.

      So as an M’s fan, we kind of have to resign ourselves to another year before there is any sort of change in vision or direction.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    This organization has become a laughingstock to the rest of the league. For long suffering Mariner fans it is a little different perspective. Did GMZ & the M’sreally cite the Dodgers 1 year deals when he has never done such a thing? Their incompetence is so transparent. I have been a fan since day 1 and applauded Nintendo for saving baseball in Seattle but I can no longer give my blind allegiance to these buffoons. It’s almost time to jump ship on these clowns. Unless Howard wants to step out and explain himself this franchise is doomed…..

  • Ken

    I’m not moved, either way; baseball managers have only a limited impact on wins and losses. But I continue to be incensed, outraged really, by our owners continuous squandering–and yes, they saved our M’s–of the vast financial resources that Safeco Field should still be generating. The two chief operating officers, Howard and Chuck, should have being fired years ago. Chuck has proved that he is a Major League Baseball simpleton, a mere lapdog for whoever in the organization has more influence or power than he. And Howard–I haven’t figured out whether he’s delusional, mentally ill, or merely a moron; it may be that he’s the later, though I wouldn’t rule out the former: Or, quite possibly, he is both.

  • maqman

    Looks like a bunch of lollygaggers to me.

  • Matt712

    I was never a huge Eric Wedge fan. I liked him – he seemed like a solid old-school kind of baseball guy – but I thought he lacked charisma. And yet, I respect him now more than ever. Since Howard Lincoln took the helm, no manager has lasted more than three seasons under him – even driving Mike Hargrove out of baseball (although now an advisor to the Cleavland Indians). Wedge was dangerously close to ending this dubious streak. I think it would’ve eroded his credibility even more than I think it has eroded Jack Z’s. And I think Wedge thought so too. Turns out his credibility was more important to him than a job. There are better days ahead for people like you, Wedge.