The Seattle Mariners announced Friday that Eric Wedge has informed the team he will not return as their manager in 2014. Wedge has agreed to fulfill his contract with the club and manage their final three games against the Oakland A's, but has no interest in working with the team beyond that point.
“I accept Eric's decision not to return and thank him for his hard work here the past three years. I want to wish him and his family all the best in the future,” General Manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement.
Wedge held the position for three seasons, posting a 212-271 record entering the weekend. Rumors suggested Wedge would not have been asked for a fourth season regardless of his decision.
Wedge says too many differences between him and upper management on how things should be done here.
— Geoff Baker (@gbakermariners) September 27, 2013
Health may have also played a role into Wedge's decision to officially remove himself from the position. On July 22, he suffered a mild stroke that forced him to miss 28 games. Distancing himself from the overwhelming stress that goes along with managing at the major league level may be the best decision he can make at this point in his life. Then again, given that the Mariners are stuck in rebuilding mode and an obvious disconnect exists between Wedge and the front office, it may be as simple as looking for a change of scenery.
Wedge's resume is impressive. He has one Manager of the Year award to his credit from his time with the Cleveland Indians. In 2007, he led them to the AL Central crown and twice won 90 games during his seven-year tenure. If he makes himself available, he'll definitely draw interest.
As for the Mariners situation, it'll be interesting to see which direction they go for a replacement. We know Jack Zduriencik will be making the decision. The team already confirmed he'll be back. But this is going to be an important hire for him, because it could very easily be his last in the Pacific Northwest.