Dave Dombrowski told Lynn Henning and the Detroit News that Jim Leyland will be managing the Tigers next year. Seeing as this wasn’t a sound bite, it’s tough to get a flavor for how ringing the endorsement was given this is the quote that Henning had:
“Yes, oh yeah,” Dombrowski said when asked if Leyland would absolutely return in 2009. “He’s under contract next year.”
No mention of his aptitude or qualifications, simply a statement that Leyland is under contract. Curious?
As for my take, I agree with Leyland in that he stunk this year. I’ve never been a fan of his in game management, but watching the 2006 team made me question my previously held belief that managers couldn’t really make that much of a difference. Maybe a capable leader could motivate professionals making millions of dollars to play better.
But then there was this year. A year when the team came out flat. When the team was making fundamental baserunning, fielding, and pitching mistakes. That’s all on Leyland’s watch. The good of 2006 and the bad of 2008.
Then there is the matter of the August-September swoons. I wasn’t worried the first 2 years, because a sample of two hardly marks a trend. But this year’s limp to the finish line is enough to make me concerned.
In short, I don’t know if I want him back.