Exactly one month ago in this space, we reported Geoff Baker's reportage of what seemed an odd story: the Mariners were essentially benching great-field/no-hit shortstop Brendan Ryan in favor of no-field/no-hit shortstop Robert Andino. A snippet of the snippet from one month ago:
Just to clarify, I asked Wedge point-blank whether the pair were flip-flopping roles - Andino the starter and Ryan his backup.
"Yeah," he said. "What I'm going to do is take it day-by-day, week-by-week and month-by-month, quite frankly," Wedge said. "And I'm going to give Robert a chance to play and see where he takes it. I liked what I saw with his work and his approach this spring. I don't feel like it's been as good here in-season.
"But I feel like he's been a little bit better here the last week in the cage ..."
Exactly one month later, Andino's been designated for assignment.
Now, there are (as usual) two ways of looking at this.
One is that Eric Wedge is incompetent. Whenever I see a manager taking these things "day-by-day, week-to-week" -- and Ned Yost has been big on this lately, too -- I wonder if he knows what in the hell he's doing. It's just a lousy way to run a team, because what should matter most are a player's abilities, and not his statistics or even his performance over the course of a few days or weeks or even months. There was little or no evidence that Robert Andino was a better player than Brendan Ryan, and today the M's seem to have come to the same conclusion.
But the other way is that it worked. When Wedge demoted Ryan, there was at least a hint that Ryan hadn't been working hard enough, or that Andino had been working harder, or something. It's possible that Ryan just needed a kick in the pants.
When Wedge said he was going day-by-day, he apparently meant it. Because Ryan never really lost his job at all. He's started 17 of the Mariners' 25 games since getting not-benched, with his stats right in line with his career numbers
Sometimes we're too quick to jump on silly things that managers say. But we're especially quick when the manager doesn't have a great history of success. And Eric Wedge hasn't managed a winning team since 2007.