Tigers extend Jim Leyland

by billfer on June 19, 2009 · 45 comments

in 2009 Season,Managing & Strategy

The Tigers today announced the extension of Jim Leyland’s contract through the 2011 season.

“We are happy to announce a two-year contract extension for Jim Leyland today,” Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said. “Jim is an outstanding manager and he has done a great job for the Tigers.  We look forward to Jim leading our club for years to come.”

 
 

{ 45 comments }

RPS June 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Eric Cioe June 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Leyland makes mistakes, but I think other managers make bigger mistakes more often.

Brenden June 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Interesting… I’m not sure what to make of all of the recent activity.

Ryan P. June 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Another good move.

anaaki June 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Couldn’t this have waited until the END of the season to see the results? Ugh. But I second that, “nooooooo…”

David June 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm

i agree with you, this is downright stupid

David June 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I third the NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

They could do much better, they also could do worse.

Still this is a dumb move, why do it now?

Waiting till after this season is over is much more prudent.

Keith (Mr. X) June 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Thats the best news I’ve heard all week.

stephen June 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm

The Tigers had to do this. You can’t have a lame duck manager on a contender particularly when there are so many other psychodramas going on with the team. A lame duck manager in July is a recipe for a team hitting a rough spot and quitting on the organization.

That being said, I fully expect Leyland to be fired/resigned by August 2010.

I know the two thoughts seem contradictory, but they are not!

anaaki June 19, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Lame duck manager? How’s he going to feel now that he doesn’t have to work hard for his extension? His job is safe now.

David June 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Exactly, this takes away any incentive or eustress.

Kevin in Dallas June 19, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Unfortunately, I think stephen is right here. Professional sports managers (esp. in baseball and football it seems) get less interested in the team as their financial involvement wanes. It’s a backwards system.

I don’t think this in anyway guarantees that Leyland will be here through ’10. The $5-$10 mil the Tigers would owe on a guaranteed contract is a pittance, relatively speaking. And it doesn’t count towards the luxury tax.

Jerry the Tiger Fan June 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Another mistake by DD. What, were there 8 other teams just waiting in line to grab Leyland? Bad move. DD should’ve waited until the end of the season or at least until September to see if we’re still in contention. Leyland can now relax and continue to make puzzling moves with even greater frequency now that his contract has been extended. Look for more off days soon for Polanco, Laird, and even Cabrera. This move makes me quite unhappy. I rank Leyland about fourth in our division behind Gardebhire, Guillen, and Wedge. Yes, Eric Wedge who has won 90+ games as a big league mgr. twice already in Cleveland. We continue to be at a disadvantage in the dugout. That’s just grrrrrreat Tiger brass. All three of these guys routinely kick Leyland’s ass, especially Gardenhire and Guillen.

Keith (Mr. X) June 19, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Tigers are winning, and those other managers are not.

stephen June 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Case in point, Boras has gone absolutely nuclear over Ordonez this afternoon. Add in the Willis fiasco and DD had to solve one of his problems. I admit it’s only a temporary solution, but you can’t have a team fighting a three-front war. The Germans learned that the hard way in the forties.

anaaki June 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I would like to hear more on this Scott Boras outrage…

David June 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

WHAT?

Willis performed horribly.

Ordonez fell off the table.

Jimmy is hovering right above .500 while having 2 possible Cy Young candidates and a ROY pitcher.

He has tanked in the second half every year since he has been here.

This is NOT Nazi Germany. If you’re smart you cut the crap (Willis), and you are prudent with what looks like to be huge $$ risks (Ordonez) and are also prudent with guys who don’t have the best track record.

Managers aren’t that special… Do you know how many MiLB/college managers there are? Or former players? My guess is many(well over 15) could do a better job avoiding MLB losses than Leyland. And who would jump at the chance to come here.

There is nothing to lose by waiting to see the final result to ’09 (how we finish).

Answer to all that! You know it is the truth.

anaaki June 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

lol, the Tigers and Nazi Germany. Now THERE’S a comparison.

stephen June 19, 2009 at 5:43 pm

David, take a breath.

Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m no fan of Leyland.

This is the deal and I’ll go slowly for you. This team is going to not be very good in 2010 and 2011. They’re not going to be Pirates bad with a core of Verlander, Cabrera, and Porcello, but this team is old as dirt otherwise. This is their last chance.

This team psyche is being held together with chewing gum and chicken wire. You’ve got Willis in free fall, you have Ordonez hitting like a #8 hitter, you’ve got Bonderman done for the year, you’ve got Robertson holding a roster spot hostage and, until today, you had a backup catcher hitting below .100.

Somehow, the team is in first place. Don’t ask me how. If you want to add ‘lame duck manager’ to this list of woes, go for it but it sure as hell is not going to improve the Tigers’ chances in this last sliver of light coming through the window of contention. Sure, fire Leyland next August. The team will owe him just a fraction of what they owed Sheffield and will still owe Willis.

The German reference was a joke about not winning a three-front war.

I hope this answers your question. Have a super evening!

David June 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I understand that, but to be fair you yourself should know why we are in first.

Like I said – look at what our top 3 rotation guys have done, plus riding Cabby and Inge (and Grandy to some extent early) and various pen guys. You put a negative spin on it, but the fact of the matter is he has had quite a bit to work with.

I know that it is a lot to take on three pissed off people, but in this case I think
1) Willis would agree he has pitched horridly – so now you’re dealing with 2
2) Ordonez knows he hasn’t performed as well, but might be alittle more resistant – you can handle him
3) Leyland is under contract for this year – wait it out.

What I want to try to understand from you is – Why don’t you want to wait it out?

Why not wait until November? or December?

If they make the playoffs fine, extend him. If they don’t, don’t.

stephen June 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm

You don’t wait it out because the chances are much greater this team will quit in August of THIS YEAR with a lame duck manager than with a non-lame duck manager. You’re approaching this like a baseball team is made up of mature adults, they’re not. Having a lame duck manager is like having mom drop off a five-year-old at day care and say ‘I may or not be back to pick you up at 4pm.” That five-year old is gonna have anxiety attacks all through nap time and story hour.

David June 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Also I don’t know how bad they’ll be in 2010.

They will have Inge, Granderson, Verlander, Cabrera, Porcello, Jackson, Perry, Zumaya , Santiago

Ordonez and Poly might both be gone, plus we’re done paying Sheff.

That is a lot of freed up $$. But you’re right we have to pay Bondo, Guillen, Robertson, Willis etc.

Still I think if we could pick up some good spare parts and maybe get lucky like we did with Jackson and Rogers for some pitching or get a high quality guy and/or a good hitter we would be considered contenders.

stephen June 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Well, you sort had me until you included Santiago(!) Zumaya and Inge. Santiago a decent guy but he’s gonna hit .250, Zumaya is going to break down any day and Inge, well, i think his deal with the devil expires at the all-star break.

ouchudied June 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I’m happy with this decision. Where were you all in 2006? The man has a 292-260 career record with the Tigers. Look at the records of every other manager post 1987, and you’ll see some downright ugly win percentages. Maybe Leyland doesn’t always arrive at the smartest of decisions, but I think overall he is a solid MLB manager. I’ve got no problem watching him sit in the dugout and smoke Marlboro reds for two years. I’ll applaud Dombrowski on this one.

Mark in Chicago June 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm

If there is somebody on this team more polarizing than Brandon Inge, it’s Jim Leyland…

Joey in Portland, OR June 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Thats ok, Tram needs a few more years seasoning before he makes his triumphant comeback!

David June 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm

lol

Tram was a sham, send him to Japan, let him never return to this land. When he was ran, many players didn’t give a damn and welcomed any change – even the Marlboro Man.

Please give me a hand!

Thank you.

Joey in Portland OR June 20, 2009 at 12:54 am

lol very nice.

stephen June 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm
David June 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Who cares what Boras thinks?

Fact of the matter is, you can try to spin Ordonez’s numbers anyway you want, but he was horrid.

He is slow, he has no range, his arm is average at best. So he falls back on his hitting.

He just was benched, so I think it is fair to look at what he was on pace for.

75 runs, 59 RBI, 24 doubles, 0 triples, 5hrs with a .690 OPS

Nearly any decent prospect could duplicate or most likely smash those #s.

That might be an average line for an aging catcher or MI, not for a corner outfielder who is supposed to be a fantastic hitter and could make a lot of $$.

Is it an off year? Most likely, but he (like any player his age or older) can’t afford to have off years. When you get to be 35, especially as a positional player, there is an extreme suspicion that you are close to(if not at) rapid decline.

Coleman June 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Well, for one thing Boras is the agent for our two top draft picks…

Chauncey June 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I don’t get the problem that so many seem to have with Leyland. Granted last year was a disaster, but look at 06-07 and this year. There is no way that this year’s team, with all of the injuries and other problems they’ve had so far- ie Willis and Gallaraga, should be in first place at this point- even in the AL Central. And I love the way that JL isn’t afraid to make bold changes to the roster, once he feels he has to- like benching Ordonez. I don’t agree with every move JL makes, but name a realistic manager that the Tigers could get to replace him that would get more out of the current roster than JL has gotten to date.

Keith (Mr. X) June 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm

This was lackluster veteran team that was in last place in 2008. It has been almost completely retooled with no name scrubs and minor league prospects. Leyland’s defense oriented approach is winning many more games than most people predicted. We’re in 1st place right now, despite all of the unproductive players we still have on the roster. I’d say the manager has done a good job with all the troubled talent we have.

Dave111 June 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I have confidence that Uncle Smokey (props to whoever came up with that nickname) will extract whatever there is to get out of this odd lot roster. There’s nobody I’d rather have managing the only team I really live and die with. Over the years I’ve done a lot more dyin’ than livin’ with the Tigers and I’ve sure had it worse than this.

Coleman June 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Hey wow, someone used one of my Nicknames That Never Stick!

Feel free by the way to refer to Cabrera as The Hammer (or el Martillo if you prefer)

Dave111 June 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Coleman – Check out the article from FanGraphs calling Cabrera “The Golden Sledgehammer” because his homeruns average a longer distance than anyone in the league. I don’t know how they measure so accurately. FanGraphs is a great site.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/miguel-cabrera-strikes-back

Coleman June 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm

My train of thought was far more scientific…initials MC…hmm, yes, MC Hammer….oh wait, that’s not a bad nickname, The Hammer…

Kevin in Dallas June 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm

stephen and David – nice work! I enjoyed the brawl.

David, while stephen is easily the most eloquent writer we have, he’s an eternal pessimist who bet the farm on Miguel Cabrera being in a Yankees uniform by now, so take his venom with a bit of antidote.

I’m not happy with JL and am pretty sure that drunk billfer could make better decisions, but it’s hard to argue with the results. And, as I posted above, you have to give managers security in order for them to make any kind of effort these days. It’s a low risk, I’m glad they did it.

David June 19, 2009 at 11:46 pm

The more I think about things the more I tend to agree with him.

There are quite a few reasons to be pessimistic. 31 so far this year ;) But being in first without much production from 5 out of your top 6 salary guys says something.

And I disagree with your last statement. I think he’d be trying hard to win either way, and most likely harder without the security. Still a lot of it comes down to how the guys perform. It is hard to manage into a loss when your team scores 10 as they have tonight, or when a guy throws well (ie Porcello/pen of yesterday).

Matt June 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm

The notion that Leyland would manage “better or worse” based on his contract or money is just dumb.

He’s going to make what he feels are the right moves whether his contract was extended or not. This is in response to the earlier comments who felt an extension took away his “incentive or motivation.”

We’re not talking about a guy hustling out singles here. We’re talking about a guy who writes on a clipboard and raises one arm as he walks out to the mound.

Kevin in Dallas June 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Also, just read the Boras article. Love him or hate him, the man is an absolute GENIUS.

anaaki June 19, 2009 at 7:06 pm

I was also thinking, what if they signed him now in case we go to the playoffs and/or World Series and wants more money if we were to wait to sign him until then? lol….

charlie June 19, 2009 at 8:15 pm

can’t let the “drunk bilfer” thing go without comment. perhaps on an upcoming game we could have a little experiment…maybe a w/e game…drunk bilfer could make calls here as the game progresses…could be entertaining lol…what you say bill???

slimmduude June 19, 2009 at 9:49 pm

It doesn’t really matter to me. Would anybody do better than Leyland? Possibly, but probably no. Is he perfect? Of course not. Is he a good manager? Yes, he’s got us in first place now, and has taken us to the World Series.

I really don’t see why people are so pissed about it and why people are happy about it. To me, I don’t really care.

Also, if your a MLB fan, be sure to visit my baseball blog at: http://evansbaseballblog.blogspot.com/

Mike R June 21, 2009 at 2:47 am

Yeah, I run a Fire Jim Leyland blog but that’s in name only. I am content and fine with this contract extension.

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