Mariners manager Eric Wedge has chided his veterans all season for the inability to produce on the field. Go down the list of underachievers ...
Chone Figgins? Yes
Jack Cust? Yes
Franklin Gutierrez? Yes
Milton Bradley? Yes and he scared the hell out of everyone.
Jack Wilson? Well, it's tough to underachieve when you don't play.
Miguel Olivo? He hasn't been great, but Wedge hasn't soured on him because of his intensity he brings to games.
That leaves Adam Kennedy and Brendan Ryan as the only veterans that really haven't underachieved this season, that's not good.
So before today's game where the Mariners hope to avoid losing for the 18th straight time, Wedge offered some more thoughts about his underachieving veterans, and they weren't positive.
"I've been talking to about the veterans all year long, you can't expect the kids to lead you out of this, the veterans have to do it," Wedge said. "At best the veterans have underachieved all year long, except for one or two guys. So that's where we are."
And he wasn't finished.
"The fact of the matter is where are breaking in a lot of young kids that will be much better for it next year for what we are going through this year, and not just what they've been through, but what's ahead of them," Wedge said. "The problem is they need some help some veteran guys to lead the way and take some of the heat off them. I can't say it enough. It's indisputable."
Wedge had a few guys Cleveland in his first year - which was a largely young team - to help him through rough spots while guys like CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Casey Blake figured things out.
"What we did there is what we'll have to do here," he said. "Because there isn't a great deal of leadership out there anymore from our veteran guys for whatever reason, you have to develop it. That's what we did. We developed it. You look at all my young kids from year to year and we challenged them and had conversations about what it means to be a leader, and do it at a younger age."
Wedge is starting to have those conversations with guys like Ackley, Smoak and Mike Carp.
"We have more people coming too," he said. "We still have a couple guys here that we can move forward with."
To be fair, Wedge admitted this is a different situation than the one he had in Cleveland, an organization he worked his way up through.
"Everybody knew what I was about before I got the job," he said. "A lot of those guys were with me in the minor leagues before we got up there. You come over here and everybody is new. Not just with me but the staff as well. You don't have an idea of what you are getting and it takes a little bit of time to figure out what you have. We were able to surprise a lot of people early on, but you knew we were just squeezing by and you saw the tough stretch of games that were coming."
Still, we are 3/4 into the season, the veterans should know Wedge is about by now and what he demands. And yet the don't seem to be performing.
"With veterans it's tougher, they should know themselves better than anyone else," Wedge said. "If you are veteran at this level, you should be your own best coach because you are the only one that's been with yourself throughout your entire career. You've been up here long enough to know what works and what doesn't. Either it is declining ability or its something else going on within yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally, mechanically. They've got to know themselves."
"Ultimately the veterans have to take a lead role within themselves, because they've been too far along, they've done too much - both bad and good to understand it," Wedge said. "You can only help them so much."
"So to answer your question about Ichiro or Figgy or Cust or whoever it may be, Gutierrez - and we had to cut ties with Milton. We had to - just look at our opening day lineup, you do the math."
- 51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
- 26 Brendan Ryan SS
- 13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
- 17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
- 4 Adam Kennedy (L) 3B
- 20 Mike Carp (L) LF
- 21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
- 29 Jack Cust (L) DH
- 3 Josh Bard (S) C
34 Felix Hernandez RHP
- 11 Brett Gardner (L) LF
- 2 Derek Jeter SS
- 14 Curtis Granderson (L) CF
- 25 Mark Teixeira (S) DH
- 24 Robinson Cano (L) 2B
- 33 Nick Swisher (S) RF
- 55 Russell Martin C
- 20 Jorge Posada (S) 1B
- 26 Eduardo Nunez 3B
65 Phil Hughes RHP