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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indians Fire Manager Eric Wedge, But Not Until Next Monday

So why announce it now? The coaching staff has also been summarily canned; Baseball Prospectus' series on the eliminated takes a peek:
Our projections forecast the Indians to win the AL Central, albeit with a meager 86 wins and a 38 percent chance of making the postseason—the lowest of any division favorite. Despite injuries to Sizemore and Hafner and the departures of Mark DeRosa, Ryan Garko, and Martinez via mid-season trades, the offense has essentially lived up to expectations; projected to rank fourth in the AL in scoring, they actually rank fifth, with an EqA which is fourth in the AL. It's the pitching that has been a brutal disappointment: projected to rank seventh in the league in runs allowed, they're instead second-to-last, with both the rotation and bullpen ranking dead last in their respective win expectancy-based categories, SNLVAR and WXRL. The bullpen's wretched early-season showing drove the team 10 games under .500 by mid-May, a hole the Tribe never escaped. — Jay Jaffe, Baseball Prospectus


The Indians have approached the last several seasons with an eye on contending. In three of those four years, though, they've stumbled out of the gate, dooming their chances of playing meaningful games after June. In the process, they've had to make deals, including shipping away the past two AL Cy Young winners. They've brought back some quality prospects, but it's clear that they're in no position to contend in 2010, mainly because they haven't had much success with their high draft picks in recent years. Given their penchant for underachieving on skipper Eric Wedge's watch, they're almost certainly better off with a new manager, too. — Jay Jaffe, Baseball Prospectus

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I find it interesting that over the last few seasons the vast majority of the stat-oriented analysts (whom I generally enjoy reading content from) consistently overrated the Indians and A's and underrated the Twins and Angels. Its not even about adding up numbers - any reasonable baseball fan knew both of those clubs' pitching staffs were suspect, and yet they gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed the pitching would be better than the numbers allowed. I suppose this is because their front offices are more "stat friendly". So much for objective analysis...
I guess you'd have to start with individual projections. I'm inclined to go back and look at this year's BPro to see how they figured the divisions would shake out, and even here, as Jay noted, they weren't sanguine about Cleveland's chances despite projecting a first-place finish. (One odd consequence of that was the Cliff Lee trade; why ship him out when he's signed to a good contract like that unless you're seriously thinking the team has no hope over the remaining two (IIRC) seasons?) I'd sure be interested in re-reading their projections on the Tigers and Twins.

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