Friday, we learned former Indians and Mariners skipper Eric Wedge was the second person to be interviewed for the Yankees' managerial position.
Up until this revelation, the Yankees had been connected to both in-house and out of the box candidates not in the organization. Wedge's advantage is that his 10 years of managerial experience at the major league level is 10 years more than any of them combined.
Wedge, 49, played 39 games in the big leagues for parts of four seasons. In overlapping years, Wedge spent nine seasons in the minors, where he was primarily a catcher. He began managing straight after retirement, working five seasons in the minor leagues, until he was tabbed to lead the Indians.
It was not an easy ride for the 35-year-old Wedge, as his 2003 squad went 68-94. However, Wedge turned things around pushing the Tribe to 80 wins in 2004 and then 93 wins in 2005, finishing six games back of the eventual World Series Champion White Sox.
The Indians took a step back in 2006, but then won the 2007 American League Central with a 96-66 record, earning Wedge the AL Manager of the Year Award. Wedge's Indians were eliminated by the Red Sox in the ALCS after blowing a 3-1 series lead. Wedge managed two more seasons in Cleveland before being let go. He hooked on with the Mariners for a three-year stint (200-258 record) that was not nearly as successful as his time in Cleveland.
We've prepared three of these profiles to date and none of them spoke to one season as a big league manager, let alone one in where a club made it to within a win of the World Series. Wedge has one thing in common with some of the apparent candidates; he was once the young manager a major league organization decided to take a chance on.
Wedge can speak to his wealth of knowledge as a manager, but it may be those first couple of seasons with the Indians that he discussed with Cashman the most. It was then that Wedge persuaded 25 men to trust him, as a man just several years older than many of his players and younger than a couple of them.
In Wedge's inaugural season at the helm of the Indians, he managed several budding stars including Travis Hafner (24 years old), Cliff Lee (24), Victor Martinez (24), Brandon Phillips (22), Jhonny Peralta (21) and CC Sabathia (22). He quickly gained a reputation as a "players' manager," which is certainly different from the way former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi was described.
There are some parallels to be drawn with the Yankees he might manage, even though that Indians club finished in fourth place, 22 games back of the Twins. Wedge would be working with a team that has its own handful of current/future stars with the difference being this one has already experienced some winning. However, recall the 2017 Yankees were considered to be ahead of the game meaning a learning curve remains.
Whether there is a fallback from the young Yankees or not, Wedge understands what it takes to push a squad to the next level.
What remains to be seen with Wedge's candidacy is how he will translate what he has learned in his four years since leaving the game as a manager (he has recently worked in the Blue Jays front office in player development) to what is expected of today's manager. The game has changed some in those few seasons, so it will be incumbent upon Wedge to demonstrate to Cashman how he will make an impact with this club once he will have to learn the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of on the fly.