Eric Wedge earned a new contract. He deserved it and the Indians were right to give it to him.
So why do I wish they had waited until the end of the year?
The truth is that I suspect that the Indians may be a third place team. And not because they will collapse but that is how it will be percieved if it happens. I love my Tribe and I want them to win. But the objective sports fan in me considers that the Tigers are a really good team. Top to bottom their lineup is stacked. Top to bottom their rotation is better. And if they get two injured relievers back they will have a better bullpen. The Twins also scare the hell out of me. I love thier manager. They play the right way. They have already started to heat up and I expected them to play over .600 the rest of the year. And if it comes down to the Wild Card-- Seattle is in the mix and MLB has stolen one of our home games and moved it to the Northwest the last week of the season.
Do I still believe the Indians can win the World Series this year? Yes, but they will have to keep playing above their heads to do it. The rotation is starting to scare me. C.C.'s last two starts have sucked. Lee and Westbrook have been inconsistent. Fausto is young and Byrd is pitching for a contract. While youngsters like Mastny and Perez have stepped up, the bullpen is one injury to Betancourt from falling apart. And as much I love how Betancourt has pitched, the nagging reminder of his steriod suspension has me worried about karma. As for the everyday lineup outside of Hafner, Sizemore and Trot Nixon just about everyone is having a career year. Just ask the White Sox how hitting can vary one year to the next.
I know Mark Shapiro believes in Wedge and so does Wedge's players that alone justifies the contract. But the Indians have just as much chance to finish third as first. If that happens, the Indians will not draw even 20,000 game no matter what next season until after the All Star break. The bandwagon fans will hibernate maybe permanently.
The contract extension was the right thing to do but it scares me. This team still has not won anything yet. Yesterday's game is a perfect example. They never gave up and rallied from 11-2 but they still came up short. It is easy to see that as a great positive. But the truth is before and after the comeback, some bad at bats left runners in scoring postion. That was game the Indians should have won and have to win. This divison is a killer.
Let's just hope I am worrying for no reason.