CLEVELAND -- The Astros got a jump-start on the annual postseason purge of Major League skippers when they relieved Cecil Cooper of his duties on Monday.
For the Indians, however, the timeline regarding the fate of manager Eric Wedge appears to be status quo. The Tribe's front office and ownership continue to meet regularly to discuss a wide array of issues in the organization, and Wedge's job security is one of those topics.
General manager Mark Shapiro said that a decision on Wedge has not been made. An announcement regarding the skipper's fate, one way or another, is expected at or shortly after season's end. The Indians, who have 13 games remaining, play their final game of '09 on Oct. 4 in Boston.
"We'll continue to be in consistent dialogue with ownership," Shapiro said. "We'll report on our actions as the timing dictates."
Though Shapiro has always backed Wedge publicly, the decision is ultimately believed to be in the hands of the Dolan ownership family. Team president Paul Dolan recently told reporters that Wedge's accomplishments over his full body of work in seven seasons at the helm are significant, but he also voiced dissatisfaction with the club's performance over the last two seasons and acknowledged that Wedge's popularity among fans is at a low point.
Wedge has made it clear to reporters that he expects to know if he'll be back for 2010 by the end of this season. Does Shapiro plan to meet that expectation?
"Eric and I are in consistent contact," Shapiro said. "When there's a conclusion to the process, he'll be the first to know."
Wedge's job security came under intense scrutiny among the media in June, when the Indians' early-season free fall had virtually eliminated them from playoff consideration before the All-Star break. Shapiro calmed the waters when he announced shortly before the break that Wedge and his coaching staff would remain at the helm through the end of the season.
With the season drawing to a close and the Indians in the middle of an eight-game losing streak entering Tuesday's series opener against the Tigers, Wedge's status is under scrutiny again. He is under contract through 2010, with a salary believed to be in excess of $1 million. Whether the cash-strapped Indians would be willing to eat that salary next season is up to ownership.
Though player development is a primary focus in the season's second half, the club's 3-16 record in September can't possibly serve to strengthen the job security of Wedge or his coaches. Wedge held a team meeting with his players in Minneapolis last week -- a rare move for a club out of contention this late in the season -- in which he stressed the importance of finishing strong. The Indians proceeded to lose their next seven games.
As far as development is concerned, Shapiro said that he will refrain from voicing his evaluations until after the season.
"There have certainly been some positive stories within the second half," he said, "as well as ones to be concerned about."
The Indians' recent losing ways have dropped Wedge's career managerial record below .500. He is now 557-564 (.497) in seven seasons at the helm, with one division title in 2007, when he was named the American League Manager of the Year.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.