More candid talk from the top, Leyland speaks

Manager Jim Leyland was on Mitch Albom’s show and the Free Press has the transcript in 3 parts. The links to all follow, but here are some highlights and my comments.

If I was looking at the two major culprits and without pointing fingers and necessarily individuals, the two major culprits were the pitching and the defense there’s no question about that, it’s a no brainer for me. We didn’t catch the ball very good, we had mediocre pitching with a mediocre defense and that’s a brutal combination, and that’s basically what happened to us in my opinion.

Mediocre is being generous, but I think that is a matter of semantics. He gets it was bad.

Well, I don’t think it will be correct to discuss what Dave and I talked about. I’m sure Dave knows that I’m very disappointed, which I am. I make no bones about that because I want to manage this team. If you’re saying if I have any defense for this year, no I don’t, but I think the overall picture I think it’s pretty fair on my part. But I’m a big boy and I think Dave has tough decisions to make and for whatever reason he chose to go this direction and I respect that. I’m not afraid of anything. I think if I do a good job next year I think I’ll be extended. If I don’t I’ll be fired. If I would have been on the last year of my contract this year I would have been fired instead of the coaches because those guys were the scapegoats for people not doing their jobs, it’s that simple. There is no secret to this stuff. I’m not going to lie to anybody or beat around the bush. Chuck Hernandez and Jeff Jones were basically fired because the pitching was terrible.

This was in response to a question of why Leyland’s contract isn’t being extended. I actually don’t see the need for an extension. I hear it all the time about the lame duck coach/manager, but this isn’t some young manager. It’s a guy that’s been around forever and who the player’s respected the crap out of not that long ago. I can’t imagine players buying into him more with or without an extension. Plus keep in mind, Leyland was offered a longer contract after 2007 but didn’t want to extend it that far and go on a more year to year basis.

I think if you put us all on the dartboard, you know, you can put several people on a dart board and if you threw a dart you would probably hit the right guy with the dart because we were all guilty.

and

I would extend tomorrow — I would extend in June — I would extend in July — I would extend in August — I want to manage the Tigers. I can’t make it anymore simple than that to everybody and I think I deserve to manage the Tigers, but if you’re not wanted, you’re not wanted. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted.

I’m sensing tension between Leyland and Dombrowski, and not the good kind like between Sam and Diane.

Some guys I really believe can’t handle making the money. I don’t think they can live up to expectations of it. It all sounds good when the agent is talking and they want the contract and they get the money, but truthfully, I believe that there are some players that can’t handle that. They almost go into a little bit of a shell, you know – like ‘Oh my god, so much is expected of me.’ They’re better players probably when they’re not making quite as much.

He was later asked if the Tigers have anybody like that to which he responded “I think so.” Don’t really know how to fix this. It gets to be a point where players have reached the service time marks to get their paydays. Of course you can let them walk, but how do you know who can and can’t handle it prior to giving them the contract. And he has to be talking about Robertson and Inge (and maybe Willis) right?

I think the one thing and this is going to sound crazy, but the one thing that I might do different, looking back at it now and I’m not sure it would have made a difference — but the one thing I might have done different — I would have not started him opening day. I definitely think that he felt he had to be the horse. When Bonderman went down he felt he had to be an even bigger horse. I just don’t he think he was ready for that yet and in defense of him, he’s not supposed to be ready that yet. I mean he’s still a young kid, he’s a young pitcher and maybe I put a little undo pressure on him by naming him opening day and people talking about, well, he’ll have to step it up now.

This is in response to a question about Verlander’s struggles against the Central. Leyland went down this tangent. Leyland also had him start the first game of the World Series as a rookie which didn’t turn out that well. Maybe he’s not a big game pitcher, or maybe it is a part of the maturation process.
Leyland: ‘The two major culprits were the pitching and the defense’ | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press
Leyland: ‘I think I deserve to manage the Tigers, but if you’re not wanted, you’re not wanted’ | Freep.com | Detroit Free PressLeyland: ‘Maybe naming him the opening day pitcher was a mistake’ | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

56 Comments

  1. Kyle J

    October 1, 2008 at 9:48 am

    The evident tension between Leyland and DD is not good. It increases the odds that Leyland will be even more stubborn about player utilization next season than he has been the last two seasons. (I tend to believe Dombrowski is the smarter of the two–that, for example, he signed Neifi and Jacque Jones only because Leyland wanted them. Maybe that’s wishful thinking.)

    They either need to work things out, or Leyland needs to go.

  2. Smoking Loon

    October 1, 2008 at 10:44 am

    The interview with Leyland leaves me with no better understanding, unfortunately. I like the idea of JL managing the Tigers, I want him and the team to do well, of course, and despite all the decisions I disagree with or that just plain mystify me, I hold out hope that he’s a good manager who just had a bad year, as did the whole team.

    The interview was OK in that the questions were good. The interview was awful in every other way. The answers rambled on forever. Yes, sports folk meander and speak in non sequiturs, but the job of the people interviewing and transcribing is to ask more questions and more specific questions and more challenging questions and present it all in such a way as to make it comprehensible. The transcription was awful – even Leyland is not that incoherent, and they even have him saying “could of,” for cat’s sake.

    I’d like to understand Leyland, his decisions, his plans, and his baseball philosophy a lot better. No one in the press wants to help me.

    Also, there is a photo of “Tigers 3B Matt Joyce” accompanying one part of the interview. I thought the Freep was a Detroit paper. Outsourced to Bombay now or what?

  3. ron

    October 1, 2008 at 11:54 am

    If he was on the last year of his contract, he said he would have been fired. How much is he getting paid that they can’t eat his last year? Players go into a shell, what , because they can’t perform under fire and they feel guilty about their salary in relationship to their performance? Hey, weather you make $7.50 an hour or $750,000.00 an hour you can have performance anxiety and go into that shell. Poor babies. Poor fans.

  4. jim-mt

    October 1, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    It seems to me the lack of fundamentals by the team was one of the biggest problems. Instead they were relying on scoring 1000 runs and then everything would be good.

    How does Leyland make Sheffield run out the grounders or Magglio try a little harder in right, or Inge listen to batting instructions, or the pitchers not giving 4 pitch walks or hitting the ball to right to move the runners or ……….

    Getting an extra at bat or giving the extra out almost always leads to more runs for somebody.

  5. cib

    October 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Oy it’s all kind of depressing. But thanks Billfer for the Sam and Diane line, needed the laugh.

  6. Coleman

    October 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Smoking Loon: “Also, there is a photo of “Tigers 3B Matt Joyce” accompanying one part of the interview. I thought the Freep was a Detroit paper. Outsourced to Bombay now or what?”

    I’ll put it with my other funny pictures, like “Gary Sheffield, LF” and “Carlos Guillen LF” and “Marcus Thames, Everyday LF”

    In other words, the Freep may just be a bit ahead of the curve on that one…

  7. Coleman

    October 1, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    The contract/performance part I think is a comment on Cabrera and Willis, since those were the two mega-contracts to start the season, and if you squint your eye and read it sideways, it’s actually Leyland having DD’s back, since DD has taken more heat from the Willis contract than even the Renteria trade–and, in retrospect, amazingly, the opinions weren’t too much higher in the first month on being stuck with Cabrera’s contract.

    It seems odd now, after his 2nd half, but Leyland IS reviewing the season, and the Cabrera funk (and like Willis, Cabrera’s struggles seemed as much confidence or something else going on inside as anything else). I don’t know that Leyland would view Robertson in the same way–he’s never seemed to me to be a victim of expectations or complacency or anything more than just not being able to pitch that well anymore.

  8. Ryan

    October 1, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Miguel DID lead the AL in HR and was 2nd in RBI. Not too bad.

  9. Rick G

    October 1, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Yeah, imagine if he hadn’t sucked *** the first half of the season.

    He played 79 games in July, August, and September and had 26 homers and 79 RBIs.

  10. Vince in MN

    October 1, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    The short version:

    “I think the overall picture was pretty fair on my part, it was other people who didn’t do their jobs.”

  11. Mike R

    October 1, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Coleman, I’m willing to bet that Miguel Cabrera playing on a bum quad all of April-May is the reason for his slow start more than “pressure” from his contract. And I don’t buy into the whole “pressure from the contract” thing. If someone is struggling and making $3 million or struggling and making $30 million, they are going to press — period. And when you press and try to hit everything out, you struggle.

  12. Ryan in Brooklyn

    October 2, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I’ve never bought into the theory that guys with big contracts get complacent – a theory that I’ve seen bandied about a fair amount. But I do wonder about the pressure. Whether it comes from the big contract or it’s just the every day pressure of playing in the big leagues, I think there are just some guys who handle it better than others. I’m thinking mostly of Nate with this post, and Willis as well (though we saw so little of him this year, it’s unclear).

  13. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

    R.I.B.: I wish Dontrelle was suffering from contract complacency/pressure…I’m afraid it’s more the pressure of making the little white ball go to where the catcher is holding his mitt…

  14. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Was Leyland under any pressure from above to get Willis into the rotation quickly, keep Sheffield and Renteria in the lineup, and keep Inge out of the lineup? That’s what I wonder about.

  15. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    R.I.B: ” But I do wonder about the pressure. Whether it comes from the big contract or it’s just the every day pressure of playing in the big leagues, I think there are just some guys who handle it better than others.”

    I’ll just add two things: one further source of pressure, and maybe one they aren’t ready for, is some guys find themselves being really BOOed for the first time (I’m guessing the beginning of this season is the first time Cabrera hasn’t really gotten a lot of it since probably his rookie season)–fans KNOW he just got a big contract, and many of them have heads full of the fallacy that he’s going to turn into a slacker, and at the first signs of laziness–see! that always happens when you give a guy a big contract, they just turn lazy and collect their checks. BOOOOOOO!!!

    In other words, the contracts effect the fans more than the players, but the players some through the fans.

    The other thing is often the contract negotiation process is quite stressful for some players, and they may be relieved and happy when its done, but also a bit fatigued

  16. Dave BW

    October 2, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    And so the Rays playoff saga begins.

  17. Jeff Molby

    October 2, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    If someone is struggling and making $3 million or struggling and making $30 million, they are going to press — period. And when you press and try to hit everything out, you struggle.

    Mike, you’re right about pressing; you’re just missing one part: when you’re making $30m, there’s a tendency to start pressing on April 1. If you’re making $3m, you’re probably not going to start pressing until you encounter problems.

    That’s just logical speculation, though. I’m kinda surprised no one has crunched those numbers yet.

  18. Chief Monday

    October 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    It’s basic human psychology. Motivation is usually goal oriented. A players goal might be to get a long term contract. Once that goal is accomplished, the player is no longer motivated unless they set new goals.

    Other goals may be-
    Advancement (from minors to majors, from set-up man to closer, from 5th starter to #1)
    Recognition (all star, mvp, cy young)
    Milestones (season or career statistics)
    Status (respect in the locker room)
    Sex (having a hot girlfriend or wife)

    Some players are just motivated by the love of the game. They’d play for free, they love the fans, and the fans love them. That’s Curtis Granderson.

    Nate Robertson probably came into the season with no goals in mind.

  19. Jeff Molby

    October 2, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Was Leyland under any pressure from above to get Willis into the rotation quickly, keep Sheffield and Renteria in the lineup, and keep Inge out of the lineup? That’s what I wonder about.

    Maybe, but I doubt it. A good manager just knows not to flinch at the first sign of trouble. Slumps happen and it’s impossible to know whether any given regression is due to a snormal lump or aging.

    But the bottom line is that it Leyland’s decision to stick w/ his starters didn’t cost us the season. We weren’t going to make the playoffs w/o a productive Sheff, Renteria, and Willis.

    To many things went wrong this year and that’s the bottom line.

    Give Joyce every one of Sheff’s starts. Give Santiago every one of Renteria’s starts. Give Miner every one of Willis’s starts. It’s still an 81-81 season at best.

    No team has the depth to recover from that many players underperforming, even if God Himself were the manager.

  20. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Maybe add another one to the Chief’s list:

    *You have yourself on your fantasy league team*

    (I’m sure it’s happened…)

  21. Jeff Molby

    October 2, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    It’s basic human psychology. Motivation is usually goal oriented.

    I don’t know, Chief… I don’t think you can even make it to the MLB without an internal motivation to maximize your talent.

  22. Jeff Molby

    October 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I mean, I guess there are guys like Terrel Owens that are so unbelievably gifted that they can half-a** it at times, but Nate Robertson simply is not that guy. I find it hard to believe that he could work as hard as he has to make it to the Majors and then think he can stay there even if he coasts. He has to know that he is only talented enough to remain in the majors if he gives 100% every day.

  23. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    jeff molby: I think it’s also possible you could take the same players, and they could have the same slumps, and end up 88-74…if you could shuffle the slumps and this time through they happen at different times and in different combinations.

    [and then at the end of the we'd look at the stats and say I guess we shouldn't be surprised to win the division, it's probably pretty hard not too when you got a Tiger leading the league in HR, and 3rd in RBI, and another 5th in BA...]

  24. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Jeff, I’m not saying any of the Willis/Sheffield/Renteria/Inge decisions or the sum of them killed the team. They were just part of the problem, a more readily identifiable part.

    The question was really about Leyland and his bosses. Do they really leave him completely alone to make decisions about who plays when and why, or do you (any you) think there is pressure from above, subtle or not so?

    I disagree on one point. The Tigers could have made the playoffs without a productive Sheff, Renteria, and Willis, in my opinion (on an entirely speculative point). None of them were major factors during the Tigers’ best run. The collapse of Rogers, Robertson, and the bullpen is what sealed the Tigers’ fate.

  25. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    “I make no bones about that”

    Exactly when does anyone make bones about anything? Given the distinct absence of bone-making overall, I am unimpressed with not making bones. And I make no bones about it.

  26. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    “I make no bones about that”

    I guess it’s a hobby you probably do to pass the time while you’re under the bus.

  27. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Smoking Loon: “Given the distinct absence of bone-making overall, I am unimpressed with not making bones. And I make no bones about it.”

    I think you’re exaggerating here, I’m pretty sure there was at least a little when the Snorg girl was around…

  28. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    No way, Coleman. My love for Cate Snorg was pure and unsullied by desire. A higher love.

  29. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    “any given regression is due to a snormal lump”

    Those Snorg gals work in mysterious ways, and no one is immune.

  30. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I caught something on the radio about Carlos Guillen scratching or having scratched his eye. Couldn’t tell if it was some sort of joke or whether I missed further context. What’s up with this? Anything? Poor Carlos. What next? He’s like the Evil Knievel of the Tigers. Sort of.

  31. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Then again, maybe it was Ozzie Guillen. I thought they said “Detroit” and “Carlos,” though.

  32. Smoking Loon

    October 2, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Reading through that interview again, I’m wondering why Leyland thinks he should be offered an extension now. Just because he wants to manage the Tigers? Well, I want to manage the Tigers, too, and I’ll do it for a lot less. I’m sure Todd Jones wants to pitch for the Tigers in 2009, too.

    Given Leyland’s earlier “stunk” self-assessment, it just seems odd that a contract extension would be expected.

  33. Chief Monday

    October 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Leyland is known throughout baseball as a one of the best managers out there. It is mainly here in Detroit that he gets so much grief. He is one of the most unpredictable managers too. Which is probably why many people here in Detroit don’t agree with how he does things. Even if he was predictable though, people here would probably blame him for being too predictable.

    Bottom line, people here are never happy and the manager or coach is always to blame. Example- Flip Saunders got fired after 3 straight conference finals. Wayne Fontes got fired after 4 playoff appearances.

    I’m tired of the Tigers getting a new manager every 3rd or 4th year. It would be nice for some kind of fan loyalty because frankly there is none.

  34. David

    October 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Leyland stunk and you/anyone else who defends him are foolish for doing so

    1) Tigers blow last two months of 2006 end up losing the division on the last day
    2) Tigers blow both the division and wild card in 2007 after being #1 in the entire majors on July 20
    3) 2008 – Tigers blow

    3 strikes and you’re out

    lets add to the fact that

    1) He enjoys pulling pitchers(both starters and relievers) who are going good

    2) He rarely uses small ball (bunting/stealing/hit and run)

    3) He rests half the lineup some games

    4) He got a huge payroll this season and finished 5th!!! 5th!!!

    They again collapsed for the third straight year but this time it was losing a 9 game lead to the 5th place team in 12 days

    I know quite a few things were out of his control this year however

    He played guys who were hurt

    He took a few guys and shifted them around from position to position

    He has played favorites to terrible players in the past and present

    If he is such a good team guy, why cant they hold strong at the end of the season 3 years running

    How could they finish in last place not 4th not 3rd not 2nd not 1st but last???????????????????????

    How can some teams like the Angels or the Rays scratch out all these runs and we can’t seem to do that?

    How come we had such a poor record when scoring 4 or less?

    The guy wants an extension right when he finishes in last place and should have already been fired.

    It is very embarrassing to go out spend all this money on a team be picked to win the WS, have fans come out in record numbers

    and not only finish below .500 but in the dumpster

    Jimmy Leyland has not helped this team win he has squeezed wins into the opposing team’s hand.

    He should have been fired, he should be fired

    His gross mismanagement does not deserve any reward

  35. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    David: I like how you set up the progression of blow. At the same time I disagree some with what you get from 2006 (not that how good Leyland did in 2006 matters so much one way or another at this point).

    In 2006 they went 95-67 and made the playoffs. (The were pretty much the same as Boston was this year). Before the season started both things would have seemed minor miracles.
    I don’t care that they won early and often and then seemed to fizzle out, the same way that I wouldn’t have cared about how they started this season if they would have finished the season on a 40-5 run. If the Tigers go 95-67 next season I can tell you in advance I will think Leyland was a good manager for the season, regardless of where they finish in the division or what their September record is.

    Also there’s the other side of the coin on the 2006 “collapse.” …What a great story the Tigers were, a real Cinderella team, a mix of veteran leaders, role players, scrappy guys getting by on guts, and a reanimated manager. It’s too bad they couldn’t keep it up, but then again they were playing above their heads all season and it couldn’t last forever, I think they still deserve a big hand, nothing to be ashamed of even if they’re dispappointed about how the season ended.

    Oh, and how would you predict they would fare in the playoffs they barely backed into? Obviously with the way they fell apart at the end of the season, you’d have to assume they’d absolutely bulldoze their way into the World Series, completely humiliating the Yankees along the way, right?

    See my point–maybe Leyland’s managing sucked and led to their 2nd half collapse, but if so you have to say it’s pretty amazing he had them clicking on all cylinders a few days later going into the playoffs…

  36. Dave BW

    October 2, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    David:

    1) True
    2) Also true, but that’s more to do with a desire to play to the strengths of the players he actually manages. Small ball would be hilariously awful with this team.
    3) Yeah, this annoys me, too.
    4) Well, you can’t really blame him for the size of player contracts, which he has absolutely nothing to do with. As we are no doubt well aware by now, salary doesn’t necessarily have any correlation with performance or even talent.

  37. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    David:

    “1) He enjoys pulling pitchers(both starters and relievers) who are going good”

    Some managers rely on percentages, and end up pulling a pitcher who is hot to get a lefty vs lefty matchup etc. The best by the numbers managers are the ones who will recognize times now and then to make exceptions and let the percentages go, and trust what they’re seeing at the moment.

    Leyland is the opposite–he relies on “gut feelings” or instinct which I just read as Experience. He will even end up playing the percentages sometimes without trying, inasmuch as he has seen a certain situation a lot, and seen what has worked best. There are other things he obviously hasn’t experienced yet, or hasn’t in such a way to understand what he has seen. Strangely, his instincts about changing pitchers seem to be awful. It’s quite baffling, and sometimes I get the feeling Leyland even knows this, and doesn’t know what to do about it. I’m not confident he will ever get better at it.

    “2) He rarely uses small ball (bunting/stealing/hit and run)”
    This is a good thing. I think he tried this too much in 2008 actually [thus: Ordonez: SB: 1 CS: 5]. He has a lumbering team (semi-pun intended), most of whom also don’t seem competent to execute the basic sacrifice bunt at a major league level. You can’t manage that talent into a winning “small ball” bunch.

    “3) He rests half the lineup some games” This I don’t get. It would make sense to me if he did it a little different–like combined with a spot starter, against the other team’s ace…in other words if the odds are against winning that game anyway, why not rest a bunch of guys at once? Advantage: more games at full strength with nobody resting. But there were times he was resting guys, say, when it was a “it’s a really important start for Verlander today and crucial he can go deep into the game” kinda game. Oh and by the way Justin, I’d like you to meet the Mudhens, they will be handling the offense and fielding for the Tigers today…

    4) He got a huge payroll this season and finished 5th!!! 5th!!!
    Actually the players got the payroll. What he got were some new players, including a legitimate star, and some problems to solve, the obvious one being who plays where. He blew that one, and I don’t think pretending it was no big deal and that ___ was a natural at ____ base and we would see a great defense on the field this season etc–I don’t really think that helped anything.

  38. David

    October 2, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    OK OK

    I still would like this team to go out and get some fast defensive whizes who can manufacture runs and stop them

    Case in point

    Tigers 2008 dead last in steals with 63…next to last in stolen base%

    Top 5 teams in steals

    Tampa Bay Rays 142 (second best record)
    Los Angeles Angels 129 (best record)
    Boston Red Sox 120 (third best record)
    New York Yankees 118 (fourth best record
    Minnesota 102 (sixth best record)

    In Sacrifice Flies and Sacrifice Hits the Tigers are 9th and 10th in the AL

    some small things to scratch out runs when the games are 4-2 or 3-5 (ie close)

    Contracts do! have something to do with performance/health…otherwise those players wouldn’t get them

    He failed plain and simple 2 years running to get to the post season and this year dismally

    As far as the pulling pitching I know he usually trusts his gut and sometimes relies on the numbers however…

    It is beyond me how many times he’ll yank a starter or a reliever and the new guy will get a guy or two out or three out and then Jim will promptly go to a new guy

    He had to have Farnsy pitch the 8th or the 7th was Zumayas or Jones could close it out even if he didn’t have it that day or since a right hander was coming up he had to yank Seay (even though he got the previous two guys out) and put in Rodney

    It happened enough times to make it sad and gross and wrong!

    And you cannot defend the last place finish

    You can’t, there is no excuse for that, he helped manage them downwards not upwards

    If he helped for the most part this year or last I would be the first to tell you

    But he brought this team down and he should be FIRED NOT EXTENDED

  39. Coleman

    October 2, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    David: “Case in point
    Tigers 2008 dead last in steals with 63…next to last in stolen base%”

    This makes my point for me too. It’s not Leyland’s fault his team is so slow. But he seemed to be trying to wish some small ball skill onto the lineup, and while I’m all for trying things now and then, the double steals with Ordonez/Thames or Thames/Cabrera or Ordonez/Gene Lamont or whatever weren’t amusing by the 3rd or 4th failed attempt.

    The team’s slow, they aren’t going to steal many bases (last), you can’t manage them out of that. But when you see guys getting thrown out so much (2nd last in %) it looks like bad judgment. It’s not a running game if you send a guy knowing the odds are maybe a 75% chance he’ll be thrown out.

  40. Chief Monday

    October 3, 2008 at 1:27 am

    The Tigers stunk for how many years before Leyland was here? 2 out of the 3 years the Tigers have been on the winning side.
    How many winning seasons have we had here in the past 20 years? 4! How many of those did Leyland manage? 2 of them. So quit crying because of Leyland.

    The Tigers had 74 wins this year. Out of the last 20 seasons where does that rank? 9th. It was far from being one of the Tigers worst seasons. We were in contention until the last 30 games also. So it’s not like this season was a waste. Most games were exciting to watch, win or lose.

  41. David

    October 3, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Granderson isn’t fast? he had 12 thats crazy

    Inge/Sheffield/Pudge/Guillen? come on those guys should each be getting 15/year if not more

    And sometimes you can start slower guys to open a huge hole either on the left side or right side by the vacated middle infielder covering second base

    how many times did guys bunt? how often did they practice bunting?

    if Inge refuses to stop pulling the ball, I say go to the most fundamental thing where you have to keep your eye on the ball, and are not trying to crush it

    teach bunting/place hitting or make them do it

    it can make the difference in 20-40 games/season

    What has he brought to the Offense? What strategy?

    Strike out/strike out/strike out/hr/K/K/K

    I mean come on

    It changes the offense from a inconsistency to scrappy and night in night out scoring 4+ runs even when in funks or the other guy is dealing

    It is especially important for more reasons

    As of now their lineup like in years past will be top heavy (assuming they get a glove man for short)

    1-5 can all hit usually
    Granderson
    Polanco
    Guillen
    Ordonez
    Cabrera
    Sheffield (ugh)
    Catcher/Inge/SS

    This bottom part here would do well to learn how to manufacture at least 2 runs most nights

    Plus as we saw in 2006 WS and I have seen countless other times

    Bunting/Hit+Run/Stealing etc. cause the opposing defense to become chaotic and make errors

    Ty Cobb the genus that he was said

    It helps you if you help them beat themselves

  42. David

    October 3, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Chief Monday

    You have a losing attitude

    Every year they don’t win the WS is sad, every year they don’t make the playoffs now is a joke every year they finish below .500 is laughable and every year they come in last is disgusting

    Most games weren’t exciting they were sad just a bunch of strikeouts pulled pitches bad starts and blown leads

    This team before that disgraceful 20 years was one of the best in the majors

    In any event the past is the past, we have an owner willing to get players, a gm who can at least draft some talent and make some good trades

    There is no reason why we shouldn’t be making the playoffs year in and year out and people with your attitude are living in the past

    Comparing last year to the past 20 is a joke

    If last year or the year before it or any year were we don’t make the playoffs is acceptable not to you but to this franchise maybe I’ll become a fan of a winning team like the Angels or the Yankees

    This year was a joke and Jimmy was no help

  43. Chief Monday

    October 3, 2008 at 2:17 am

    I have a losing attitude? LOL.

    Baseball is all about history. If you can’t deal with losing, that’s a problem. The game of baseball and life for that matter is to learn from your mistakes. Try and try again. Not to quit then try something else.

  44. Ryan in Brooklyn

    October 3, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I find it amusing that so much of this discussion has focused on the Tigers offense. We finished 5th in all of baseball in runs scored….AND FINISHED IN LAST PLACE. I know it would have been nice if the offense could have distributed their run scoring a little more evenly (horrendous number of shutouts), but more small ball ain’t going to win many more games.

    This team needs to pitch next year. Period. I’d be 100% comfortable with the exact same offensive players at every position next year, if you could gurantee me a solid rotation and a servicable bullpen. (of course, if those offensive players could play defense a little better, it wouldn’t hurt either).

  45. billfer

    October 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Small ball does not lead to more runs. They lost so many games where they scored less than 4 runs because the pitching allowed more than 4 runs. Sacrifice hits and sacrifice flies by definition create outs which is the antithesis of scoring runs.

    They do practice bunting. It’s the first thing they do in batting practice.

    I don’t think people are out of line for calling for Leyland’s head, but I think the in game strategizing should be the last reason. If you want to hammer him for the team’s record in August and September for each of the last 3 years, go ahead. If you want to hammer him for the last place finish this year, I can’t stop you. But because they didn’t give away more outs? I can’t kill him for that.

  46. ron

    October 3, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Chief Monday, wanting to fire a manager has nothing to do with team loyalty. It has everything to do with wanting the team to do better. If you want to chance another season with him and think he can come up with something to get next year’s team in contention, good. But why stay married to someone who keeps dragging you down further and further into the abyss. I wanted him fired in 2007, but what the heck, some fans have shorter fuses than others, but I don’t think it calls into question their loyalty.

  47. Chief Monday

    October 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    It does have to do with loyalty to the manager. Almost everyone was happy when we hired Leyland. Everyone was happy when he won manager of the year and got us to the World Series. No manager has every been under the microscope like Leyland has. The guy can’t even eat without being bothered.
    The best franchises are the ones that have kept their manager through the good and the bad. Like the Angels, Braves, Twins, and Cardinals.
    The franchises that change managers every 3 or 4 years are the ones that suffer the most.

  48. David

    October 3, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Monday
    Yea baseball is all about history OK fine look at our history 10 World Series, 4 wins

    We have more World Series wins than any AL team not named the Yankees/Red Sox/Athletics

    Learn from your mistakes? Yes you/I/everyone should and everyone makes them.

    Leyland is a Major League Baseball manager… He has the team with the highest payroll besides the Yankees

    He has only made the playoffs one time

    Each year he has managed the team has collapsed in August and September

    Ryan

    yes and yes I’ve said plenty of times before this year started that Bonderman and Robertson were the two keys and they still are

    Billfer

    You are right that sacrifices create outs, but they get guys over (sacrifice hits) and get them in (sacrifice flies), they scratch out runs in innings where usually the Tigers would either get a bunch or none and the latter was usually the case

    Would they have made the post season if they would have used small ball often, maybe not but maybe so

    but look at it, they had the second worst record in the AL in 1-run games (and that says nothing for 2 run games)

    If they practice bunting why can so few do it, they need to be forced to spend more time on it

    Giving away more outs?

    Wrong

    The major league BA this year is .264

    Therefore guys get out 73.6% of the time

    Guys are going to get out either way, I say make those outs productive, bunt – maybe the fielder fumbles or throws away, but in any event if you can bunt the guy gets from base 2 to base 3 and you can get him in

    Ron

    Yes, and the Brewers did it this year even during the year and made it

    Every manager is under the microscope when they aren’t winning and even moreso when they stink, and even moreso when interest has been recently generated into a team and then they fall into the crapper

    The Angels Braves Twins and Cardinals also had kept their GM during those times (until the last year or so for the last two teams mentioned)

    Those teams kept their manager because they found a good one and didn’t want to let go

    Leyland is not in that class, he is not a Ron Gardenhire, he is not a Mike Scioscia

    If he was I would tell you, I’ve watched FSN West and Mike Scioscia actually manages well, I’ve seen Gardenhire enough to know he actually manages well… Leyland doesn’t

    Lets look at those 4 and compare their “careers” to Leylands

    Mike Scioscia (Angels)
    Managed 9 years First place 4 times just under half

    Ron Gardenhire (Twins)
    Managed 7 years first place 4times just over half

    Tony LaRussa (managed White Sox, Athletics, Cardinals)
    Managed 30 seasons, first place 11 times ~37%

    Bobby Cox (managed Atlanta,then Toronto then Atlanta)
    Managed 27 seasons – first place 15 times – over half

    Jim Leyland (Pirates, Marlins,Rockies,Tigers)
    Managed 17 seasons first place 3x ~~~ 17%

    DUHDUHDUH

    you lose again

  49. billfer

    October 3, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    David

    Are

    you

    having issues

    playing nice.

    And sacrificing is giving away outs. Hence the name sacrifice. If you try to get a hit you’ll get one a little more than a quarter of the time. If you try to make an out you’ll get a hit at a significantly lower rate. Who on this team did you want bunting? The Angels (at least prior to the Teixeira trade) and the Twins don’t have power. They have little fast guys. Small ball probably makes more sense. The Tigers have slow slugging guys. It would be an ineffective use of the players that he had available.

  50. Ryan

    October 4, 2008 at 10:43 am

    The fact that the Tigers were next to last in SB% makes me very, very glad they were last in steals. I think Leyland deserves a firing, but the lack of steals/sac bunts and the regular rest he gives his starting position players are foremost among the things he does that I like. I think the physical abuse Verlander received this season alone is enough to make me want to go a different way.

  51. Chief Monday

    October 4, 2008 at 11:02 am

    The Tigers payroll is so high because we couldn’t land or keep players if we didn’t over pay them. This is Detroit. Just a few short years ago it was one of the worst cities for anybody to play in.

    Also when Leyland took the job in Detroit everyone questioned why he’d even want to manage in Detroit. He could of landed a sweet gig someplace else. Detroit sucked at that time. Period. We were lucky to get him. Leyland has helped make Detroit respectable again; which was a seemingly impossible task when he took the job.

    Manager of the Year Awards

    Mike Scioscia- 1
    Ron Gardenhire- 0
    Tony LaRussa – 4
    Bobby Cox – 4
    Jim Leyland – 3

    You put up a fair fight, but you’re done. Bunting won’t get you anywhere.

  52. Dave BW

    October 4, 2008 at 11:55 am

    As I watched the games this year, one thought kept occurring to me: there needs to be more bunting!

  53. Coleman

    October 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Bunting folk: I think I’ve reconsidered a slight criticism, that Leyland tried “small ball” tactics, although not often, too often.
    The double-steal attempts being my most obvious example. But the discussion of giving away outs gave me a different angle to look at it from–it’s probably likely he wasn’t trying to steal bases to advance runners and disrupt the other team, or bunt to move runners up while sacrificing an out. Because at the time the team (3 guys in particular, in crucial spots in the batting order) was hitting into double-plays at a torrid pace.

    So that’s when sacrificing isn’t giving away an out–when you’re trading an out and an advanced runner for what you deem is a fairly unfavorable risk of two outs.

    It looks different to me when I view it as double-play preventing tactics rather than longshot small ball tactics.

    [The other time it works to bunt is when, in addition to moving a runner up, you have, say an Ichiro--so you aren't trading a base for an out, it's a base for lower probability for a base hit, how much lower depending on the batter's hitting-bunting-running ability. Granderson is fast enough, so I have to assume he can't bunt well enough. I've seen Inge get the good bunt down well and still come up half a step short. Who else on the team has a decent chance to beat out a bunt?]

  54. Coleman

    October 4, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Dave BW: “As I watched the games this year, one thought kept occurring to me: there needs to be more bunting!”

    I had similar, if less practical thoughts. Less practical because baseball seems to offer no way of punting.

  55. Ryan

    October 4, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Except Darin Erstad. Did you know he used to play football?

  56. Coleman

    October 4, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Ryan: “Except Darin Erstad. Did you know he used to play football?”

    Hmm. His bio football highlight is that he once kicked a 50-yd field goal in HS. Well I recall that Inge kicked one from over 50 before a Lions game. So I still say the Tigers could take the Astros in football. I’d put Sheffield on the O-Line, because no defensive end headslap stuff would phase him.

    Oh wait, Erstad played hockey too, in North Dakota. Hmm, he sounded a lot wimpier when he was a kicker. Hockey player, that’s different…