Report: Mariners hire Wedge as new manager

After nearly a week of interviews with five former major league managers, the Seattle Mariners have made their choice.

Eric Wedge, who managed the Cleveland Indians from 2003-2009, is expected to be named next week as the 18th manager in Mariners history and their seventh in the past seven years.

The Mariners won’t comment on the managerial process, but first reported Friday that the team had decided on Wedge over four other candidates they interviewed this week _ Bobby Valentine, Cecil Cooper, John Gibbons and Lloyd McClendon. Several other media outlets followed with reports that Wedge will be hired. reported that Wedge and the Mariners agreed on a three-year contract.

He will replace Daren Brown, who managed the final 50 games this season on an interim basis after the Mariners fired Don Wakamatsu on Aug. 9.

No official announcement is scheduled, although it’s possible that could happen early next week.

The Mariners will speak with Major League Baseball on Monday to get permission from commissioner Bud Selig to make an announcement. MLB frowns upon major announcements during the playoffs but often makes exceptions before the World Series.

The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates also pursued Wedge, who went back for a second interview with the Cubs on Tuesday. He interviewed with the Mariners on Wednesday.

The Mariners will become the second of eight major league teams that ended the season with managerial openings to fill the spot. The Atlanta Braves hired Fredi Gonzalez this week to replace Bobby Cox. The Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins continue to interview for new managers.

Wedge, who’ll be 43 on Jan. 27, was 34 when he was named the Indians’ manager after a successful four-year run as a manager in their minor league system.

The Indians, a young and rebuilding team after their string of division championships in the 1990s under Mike Hargrove, won 93 games and finished second in the AL Central in Wedge’s third season in 2005. He finished second behind the White Sox’ Ozzie Guillen for AL manager of the year.

The Indians plunged back to fourth place the next year, but rebounded in 2007 and won 96 games along with the AL Central title, then beat the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. They lost to the Red Sox in seven games in the AL Championship Series.

Wedge won the AL manager of the year award in 2007.

Wedge’s pitching coach during most of his time as the Indians’ manager was Carl Willis, who began this season as the Mariners’ minor league pitching coordinator before being named major league pitching coach after Rick Adair was among those let go when Wakamatsu was fired.

The Indians were 561-573 under Wedge before the team fired him after a 65-97 record in 2009.

He’ll take over a Mariners team that will require patience, along with an ability to lead a mixture of young players and veterans.

The Mariners also will need a manager who’ll make all players accountable to the kinds of mistakes _ baserunning, poor hitting approaches and shoddy fundamentals _ that led to their second 101-loss season in three years.

Wedge will be watched closely in how he handles outfielder Milton Bradley, who’s under contract to the Mariners through next season. The two clashed in 2004 when Bradley was with the Indians, and Wedge demanded that management either trade Bradley or fire him.

The Indians traded Bradley to the Dodgers for young outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has become a fixture in center field for the Mariners after they acquired him two years ago from Cleveland.

Wedge, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., was a catcher on Wichita State University’s College World Series championship team in 1989.

The Boston Red Sox drafted Wedge in the third round in 1989, but he played only 39 major league games with Boston and Colorado through 1994 and retired as a player after the 1997 season with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the Phillies’ minor league system.

Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at

Talk to us

More in Sports

The Everett Elite Flag Football 14-under team practices Sunday morning at Harbour Pointe Middle School in Mukilteo, Washington on January 16, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: Jackson grad takes 1st, sets record at cross country meet

Plus, locals earn NWAC weekly honors and Daniel Arias joins NFL practice squad.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Tuesday, Oct. 3

Prep roundup for Tuesday, Oct. 3: (Not for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Arlington players react to forcing another turnover during the game against Stanwood on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Associated Press high school football poll for Week 6

Arlington and Monroe both move up in Class 3A.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) fumbles the ball as he is sacked by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (97) during the second quarter Monday. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Grading the Seahawks in their 24-3 victory over the Giants

Seattle’s defense shows up big as the Seahawks head into their bye on a three-game winning streak.

Monroe junior receiver Aaron Clifton checks for defenders while taking a long reception to the house against Mountlake Terrace on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at Monroe High School in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep football power rankings after Week 5

Here are our top 8 local teams after all the action from Thursday and Friday.

Silvertips name leadership group, but no captain yet

Everett lists Ty Gibson, Kaden Hammell, Ben Hemmerling and Austin Roest as alternate captains, but will wait to assign the “C”.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 25-30

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 25-30. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Monday, Oct. 2

Prep roundup for Monday, Oct. 2: (Not for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Most Read