Signed Manager Eric Wedge to a two-year extension (through 2007)
It's been two seasons since Eric Wedge became manager, and I still can't pidgeon-hole him. He isn't a true over-the-top firebrand like Larry Bowa, but he's an intense guy. He spends most of the winter in the front office consulting about player moves. From what I can tell, he gets along extremely well with Shapiro, and everyone in the clubhouse not named Milton Bradley. He's been judicious with young pitching, especially during the 2003 season. He was willing to be patient with young players. These things can obviously change, but two years is a long time to hide a flaw. His handling of the Bradley incident was exceptional; he showed a lot more restraint than I would have given the comments aimed at him after the trade.
But is he a good manager? The jury's still out. Until now, he hasn't been given enough ammunition to win with. Now, with the team a legitimate threat to win the division, we'll be able to answer that question.
Signed everyone else on the staff through 2006
This includes pitching coach Carl Willis, hitting coach Eddie Murray, third base coach Joel Skinner, first base coach Jeff Datz, bench coach Buddy Bell, bullpen coach Luis Isaac, and bullpen catcher Dan Williams. I like what Murray's done with the young hitters, and I'm not sold on Carl Willis yet. The others? Well, Luis Isaac has been in the organization forever, and the other guys seem to be doing a good job; I mean, how do you judge how well a first base coach does his job (and self-defense skills when in Chicago don't count)?
Tomorrow is the trifecta; St. Patrick's Day, the NCAA tournament, and the last day before Spring Break. I predict a massive flu outbreak.