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.
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