Tribe's Wedge not feeling pressure
Manager, in final year of deal, 'on board' with Showalter hire
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Eric Wedge has had plenty of contracts to discuss in recent weeks. The only one not on his mind, it seems, is his own.Wedge, entering his fifth season as the Indians' manager, is also entering the final year of his contract. And coming off a 78-84 season drowned in disappointment, the speculation around baseball is that Wedge's seat in the dugout might have heated up a bit. If that's the case, Wedge doesn't seem to feel it. "I don't spend time and energy worrying about that," he said. "I just don't. My focus is on the players first, the Cleveland Indians organization, the city of Cleveland. My job is to get these guys to go out and play and be at their very best." And Wedge has never seemed to have any problem with that job being aided by some experienced baseball personnel. That was the case in 2003, when Buddy Bell joined him as a bench coach, and again in 2004, when Mike Hargrove was brought on board as a special advisor. But this month's addition of Buck Showalter as an advisor to general manager Mark Shapiro and Wedge raised some eyebrows in the industry. No, it's not the first time the Indians have sought out the help of a former skipper, but it is the first time that former skipper is a man with no past ties to the organization. Showalter, for his part, dismissed any speculation of him being a "manager-in-waiting" with a glowing appraisal of Wedge's work last week. On Wednesday, it was Wedge shooting down such talk, as well. "The decisions that we make, we make together," Wedge said. "Mark and I talked about bringing Buck in, and I was on board with it. It's an organizational move. It's something where we look at the experience that he has in different areas of the ballgame. It's something that a number of us in the organization can draw on, and you're always looking to get better." Wedge said he knew how the move might be perceived, but he didn't care. In his eyes, the bottom line is improving his own performance and the performance of the team.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.