Eric Wedge Season-Ending News Conference

Wade through the cliches and generalities and you'll find some meat from the manager.  I've selected the standout quotes; it left me wondering if management is going to change his mind on 3B, as well as some other areas.

Audio is here:

Casey Blake and Andy Marte - "Casey Blake's our third baseman.  I mean, he earned that role this year.  It doesn't mean that Andy Marte won't be on our ballclub.  He's a good athlete, and he did what we asked him to do in triple-A this year.  Right now, the ballclub I have in my mind is the ballclub that was on the field at the end of this year.  We'll have a better view of Andy's situation after we talk next week."

Cliff Lee and others who struggled - "I am optimistic.  I don't know how it's going to work out.  What they do this winter will be a big part of it, their mind set will be a big part of it, and who they compete against will be a big part of it.  Guys like him, their offseason has already started.  Everyone needs to come in ready to go."

Travis Hafner - "I think Travis went through a lot this year.  It was potentially a transitional year for a young player... The expectations put on Travis in the regular season (were very high).  But this is where heart and toughness come through in the long run.  For us, the long run is next year... There's good reason for everybody to be excited about next year."

Victor Martinez - "Oh, man, did he ever deliver.  Victor IS our leader.  He's our emotional leader.  He leads by example and by his ability.  And CC is a big part of that.  Casey Blake.  I think as Grady gets older, he'll take on more of that role, but it's probably more by example with Grady.  And I'll tell you what -- that kid, Asdrubal Cabrera really showed us all a lot this year."

Guiterrez and Cabrera - "Gutierrez and Cabrera took on starting roles for us at arguably the toughest time of the year.  It's hard not to see them having big roles next year."

On the biggest challenge for a team - "Without a doubt, the toughest part of a big-league season is the grind in the middle of a season.  That's what ulimately becomes a survival of the fittest.  You have to get to the dance before you even have a chance to win it."

Wedge made it clear that he tires of hearing that one game is bigger than any other, and I like his perspective.  He viewed the postseason more as a fun run, while the doldrums of July were the biggest challenge.  He's right.

On the offseason challenges (or lack thereof) - "I hope everybody understands that it's rare to go into the offseason with the situation we're in.  It's rare to head into spring training to have so many players who can play - who can flat out play.  That's a tribute to Mark and the management."

On dealing with the defeat and the media - "Everyone's got a bitter taste in their mouth because were were up 3-1.  I mean, I understand that!  (laughs) No one wears it more than me, or the players, or Mark Shapiro, or the Dolans.  But it's all right.  I wouldn't take it back."

On the atmosphere at the Jake - "The fans really got out there in the end.  They really stepped it up.  This place was as loud as anywhere, and we felt it.  We felt it in the dugout and on the field.  And there was an energy in this city that we hadn't seen.  I really think that the people who want to know what's going on -- not just the naysayers -- they appreciate what our kids were able to do.  Win or lose, they appreciate that.  Our guys got after it, walked the walk."

You get the sense that Wedge wants to add, "Can we PLEASE get some of that atmosphere in July?  I can't take another Boston series where their fans outnumber ours."

On learning from the ALCS - "In the end, our kids have always learned from their failures.  Always.  It may not be on your time table, and it may not be on my time table."

What he should have then said: "Like, take Brandon Phillips.  I mean, geez..."

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