Well, it appears that all of our handwringing about the horrors of Jason Johnson, Guillermo Mota, and Scott Sauerbeck is for naught. For, you see, these guys are all Proven Veterans (PV).
Eric Wedge on Jason Johson: "Jason was a little out of whack the first couple of innings [allowing four runs]," said Tribe manager Eric Wedge, "but the way he pitched the last three [allowing no runs] gives him something to work on."
Eric Wedge on Guillermo Mota: "We've got to help get [Mota] back on track," Wedge said. "It's a long season. He's a proven big-league guy."
While I couldn't track down a recent quote on Sauerbeck, I'm sure that Wedge would offer up similar pearls of wisdom.
The idiocy of the PV theme is obvious, especially when the PV's in question have either never been any good (Johnson) or haven't been good for years (Mota & Sauerbeck). But, and here's the point, you can't really expect Wedge to say anything different. After all, he doesn't make the player personnel decisions.
Wedge, for all of his flaws, is really just the middle manager of this operation. I doubt that he even really believes the PV theme; it's more like hoping-against-hope.
No, my real frustration is with Shapiro. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan. He has single-handedly turned the franchise into what should be a perennial contender for the foreseable future. So any critique that I offer of Shapiro is gentle, but also born of frustration given how well he does almost everything about his job.
In short, Shapiro seems to have an achilles heel. He seems very slow to admit his mistakes, especially the mistakes that result from his shot-in-the-dark player acquisitions. The success of Blake, Belliard, Howry, Brian Anderson, Kevin Millwood and the like seem to have convinced him, not that these kinds of moves are essentially random, but that he has some sort of formula for determining who can resurrect their careers and who can't. How else to explain the countless chances given to stiffs like Chad Paronto, Jason Boyd, Danny Graves, Brady Anderson, and, yes, Mota, Johnson, and Sauerbeck.
Given Shapiro's predilections, what's a manager to do but to trot out the pathetic and tired Proven Veteran line? Wedge can't very well acknowledge what he must be thinking: "how can I win with these pieces of crap on my roster?"