Jim Leyland Retires

This goes a long way towards explaining how emotional he was after clinching the division.


160 thoughts on “Jim Leyland Retires”

  1. My guess is whoever is the manager, we will be complaining about his decisions. I’m sure he will not be good enough and we will want him fired.

    1. Foregone conclusion. The question is: Will there be longing for the good old days of Jim Leyland? No idea.

      Jim Leyland was a good manager. Also managed to be quite the character without being a distraction from the team. I was getting restless for a change, so I’ve got no right to miss him, but I might anyway.

  2. I think there are pretty good odds they stick with the staff the have, and Lloyd steps into Leyland’s job (and they keep Toby Harrah as hitting coach.

    1. There are a lot of variables involved with hiring the new DET Mgr, guys under contract, other teams hiring, etc., but JL did the team a favor by announcing immediately.

      If DET ends up hiring from within, i’d view that as resorting to ‘plan Z’…or the only option left after 25 other ‘plans’ failed.

      A new Mgr with any stones is going to want ‘his own coaching staff’ – guys he’s comfortable with and fit his vision; and in my view about the only current DET coach that possibly could be retained is Jones/pitching coach.

      In my view, JL retiring takes the team ‘two steps forward’, hiring Lamont or McClendon as Mgr would be taking “three steps back” – especially w/JL retaining some executive or administrative position w/the team.

      1. Leyland told Dombrowski on September 7 that he was retiring, so DD has actually had a month to think about it already. When Dombrowski says he has no intentions of “changing the culture” after a nice run of success, it makes me think they are going internally. Then again, you never know.

          1. I agree with SN$’s last paragraph, and also that Jeff Jones would be worth retaining.

            Maybe Jones is a candidate?

            1. Although pitching is 70% of the game (by a pre-saber measure anyway), I don’t recall offhand any successful pitchers who become managers. Not that there aren’t any, but historically I think they are rather rare. Do ex-catchers predominate? Off the top of my head I can think of quite a few who were fairly successful, e.g Cochrane, Bragan,Torre.

              1. That would be a good trivia question…which ex-MLB pitcher won the most games as a manager. (I don’t know the answer).

  3. If DET is uncertain whether or not Castellanos (a/o Dirks or ??) is going to be the LF in ’14, DET should make a play for FA, Shin-Soo Choo, who I think would be a great lead-off hitter. In ’13, he batted .285 w/ 34 2B, 21 HR & 20 SB’s, 107 R, and a .423 OBP – a lefty and sounds like the perfect lead-off hitter. Two negatives: 133 K’s and he’s represented by Scott Boras.

    I think BOS will bring back Elsbury or NYY (or some other team) will throw too much money at him, either way, he’s probably not a real option for DET.

    1. DD and Boras get along pretty well actually. The 133 Ks by Choo would be an upgrade compared to JaKKKson.

    2. I’d like that signing- he’s a relatively unsung 5 tool guy. However, I’d sign him to play RF, where his arm would be an upgrade over Hunter’s.

      1. I love Torii Hunter (this is not an original idea), but he may be in rapid decline mode (his physical skills–his heart is still very young). I think it would great to keep Torii with the organization in some capacity once he retires.

      1. I agree. Mattingly made it clear that he wants ‘all’ his coaches back, and in turn LAD mngmt fires his bench coach (who’s also his good friend)… some mixed signals coming from LAD brass. Mattingly’s 1-y ’14 option (which is only for $1.4M) was picked up by the team at season’s end.

        1. Mattingly is from Indiana, and still lives there. Would not be surprised if he’d like to bail for the Chicago job.

          1. I like Alex Avila as manager and Austin Jackson as hitting coach. Avila as manager would have a good feel for managing the pitching staff, and it would be a graceful way of giving Bryan Holaday a shot he probably deserves, No one would listen to Jackson, and that’s half the battle.

  4. $35 million for two years for a11-14 record and 4.76…these owners are victims of their own greed…simply amazing money! I guess that kind of money does’t mean much to these guys!

    1. the classic ‘more money than brains’ condition, which is not that uncommon for professional team owners, especially baseball owners…

      …and just wait until the FA (free agent) store opens for biz…someone(s) will make the Lincecum deal look like a real bargain

      1. Every year the owners complain about skyrocketing salaries and then proceed to skyrocket them in their attempts to outbid each other. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

        Someday the money issues of professional sports (and especially baseball) will become too much for me and I will s**tcan the whole thing from my life. At the personal level $35 for a nosebleed seat and $7 “beer” has gotten me mighty close.

        1. I haven’t tried it, but from what I’ve heard and read, minor league baseball offers a better in-person fan experience. I’ve long thought that it could be pretty rewarding to make a local minor league team the focus of being a fanatic.

          1. I grew up on PCL AAA ball (Spokane Indians/Dodgers) and still get to at least three games in Tacoma for that level and the short season A team here in Spokane. It is always fun, a bit of a between innings circus at times. (pitcher all warmed up and some activity still going on) You can always say you saw so and so when he was a _______. In that vein, I saw Don Kelly in 09 as a Mud Hen playing in Louisville.

          2. I watched a lot of San Jose Giants games (A), and they were awesome…you could hear the players talking to each other. I remember a game against the Stockton Ports…the Ports had a guy who was too big a deal to travel with the rest of the team, he showed up in a limo, barely in time for the game. Ooooh!. Dude’s name was Gary Sheffield.

          3. We have the St.Paul Saints of the Northern League (high A-level I would say) and the games are a lot of fun. Similar experience to what JEUSMC and Coleman say. Good CHEAP entertainment without a lot of emotional baggage attached. Maybe that’s why it can be so much fun.

          4. The reason I am a Tiger fan is because the Birmingham Barons were the Tigers Double A club when I was a kid. I grew up watching Howard Johnson, Barbaro Garbey, Mike Laga, etc. They played at Rickwood Field, which still stands and is the oldest baseball stadium in the country, although it is only used a few times a year.

            The Barons are the White Sox AA club now, but they opened a great new park this year, and I took my kids to a few games. They liked it more than the Braves/Reds game we went to see in ATL this past summer. My wallet liked it more, too.

              1. Neat story about Sheffield, Coleman. At first I thought you’d said merely “too big” and was confused, didn’t think Sheffield was ever a fat guy.

              2. Sheffield seemed like an obvious major leaguer, but at the time the guy who seemed REALLY good was Darryl Hamilton.

              3. It was actually a very weird year for minor league ball in San Jose…the team was the San Jose Bees back then, which I believe was a merger between a Japanese league farm team and a defunct non-affiliated minor league team. They were a pretty ragtag team, but had a guy that I ended up getting to know later, Daryl Sconiers (he played briefly for the Angels). You know how pitchers kind of half-field/duck when balls are hit their way? First basemen at that level used to do that when he hit the ball. Hard to believe he never had much of a career (there were some issues there also it seems).

  5. I had tickets to Game 1 & 2 of the WS in DET, tonight’s forecast for Detroit – 30 degrees with a 30% chance of SNOW!

    I think MLB should either shorten the season 162 to 150 games (won’t happen because of the revenue lost) or play more double-headers to get in all regular season games completed by mid-September (again a potential lost revenue situation, and the player’s association wouldn’t be supportive of more double-headers).

    1. Eventually all teams will be required to have indoor stadiums – problem solved. In fact, they can then add games to the schedule, when we can have baseball all year round.

      1. I’ve been to Toronto, Houston (astrodome + minute maid) and the infamous Metrodome for indoor MLB games…just something not right about it. Though Minute Maid is a nice park when the roof is open…and its not 95+ & 85% humidity.

        1. Kingdome was another dreary place for the game of baseball. My old buddy “Wimpy” (Tom Paciorek) said that trying to hit there was like trying to hit in a f— ing coffin

          1. I, too, favor the more doubleheaders approach. It’s one of many innovations I can think of that would run aground against practical con$iderationS.

    1. I’m still hoping for Manny Acata, but I’d be happy with Ausmus (who I initially thought would have been the first Jewish manager in MLB history but a visit to Wikipedia tells me that Lou Boudreau [born Jewish, raised Catholic] and Jeff Newman [convert to Judaism who was 2-8 as interim manager of the A’s in 1986] beat him to the answer of that trivia question), who had a reputation as a smart player and who was tied for #2 with Lance Parrish and Bill Freehan as the best defensive catcher I’ve seen in a Tiger uniform.

    1. As I recall, he was a Sparky Anderson favorite. Captain Hook predicted a great career – not Mickey Mantle great, but…

    1. What could have been…Beltran hardly had to move for his catch. Positioning. And who is the dimwit in the bullpen with his arms in the air celebrating?

      1. The only thing that would’ve been better than Beltran catching that ball is if it went over and hit that cop who threw his hands up on Ortiz’s slam against the Tigers.

  6. I see the players gave McClendon a vote of confidence for the job….isn’t that so the ” inmates could continue to run tge Assylum!”

    1. Lloyd: Just keep doing what you’re doing.
      Fielder: Thanks! I got your back, Coach.
      Brookens: Go on contact!
      Lamont: Huh?
      Bozo: Which one of you has my floppy shoes?
      Leyland: It is what it is.
      Dombrowski: We don’t need a culture change.
      Boy George: Do you really want to hurt me?
      Lloyd: Yes. Yes, I do.
      Dombrowski: Hired!

      1. Dirks really is that good defensively, in my opinion, based on my observations in 2013. Still don’t know what he was up to at the plate. Different swing, no doubt. Stiff, Boesch-like approach. Not good, not going to be good if he keeps it up. Makes me wonder who, if someone else, put him up to that.

              1. Interesting. I didn’t notice the switch “back” so much. Must be something to his comment that getting back to how you used to do something isn’t necessarily easy.

              2. So, Dirks had a case of Ingeitis. Hopefully this is the kind of thing a new manager and coaching staff can avoid. There is absolutely no reason, IMO, why a guy in only his 2nd full season, can do whatever he feels like and stay on the ML roster.

  7. McClendon has been interviewed for manager’s job. OK, first obligatory going-through-the-motions interview out of the way. Next Lamont, Then Brookens. Then get serious. I’m guessing DD will be quick about. I hope so anyway.

    1. That was interesting, and yet somehow disappointing. “Eno talks baseball” sounded so promising!

      Off to study King’s Lead Hat for clues….

    2. The second guessing he speaks of as being inevitable will, of course, happen. However, I am not sure that the extent of that second guessing will be as extreme as it was with Leyland. Second Guessing has become an almost daily ritualized event over the last eight years, more due to Leyland’s eminent secondguessingablility than anything else. Hopefully with a new manager this diminishes, but of course it will never go completely away. Nor should it, since that is part of the fun of being a fan and keeps the dialogue goig.

        1. I second the nomination for including this word in the English language. The King’s Lead Hat English, maybe. On second thought, this would make a great German compound word – they’re so good at that. Let’s see…

          Zweitschätzeneigenschaften. Rolls right off the tongue.

          1. You’re right, Coleman. Eno turns out to be a bit more of a matter-of-fact baseball fan than you’d expect from his artistic career. However, I think his passion for baseball has been a driving force in his musical work. Note “Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).”

            Tigers fans are everywhere.

      1. Interesting. At 56, he’s probably “Old School” (experienced) enough to keep DD happy but 14 years younger than Leyland.

  8. What do we know about Tim Wallach, other than the geneal info that he is Mattingly’s 3B coach in LA and prvious to that managed 2 years at AAA.

    1. Played for DD in Montreal, talked to some Dodger connects in the Southland last night, and they say he is a “players manager”. Triple A guy I know said he is very firm but fair, treats men like men, but do not quit on him, he will get in your face. Paraphrased, but you get the idea.

  9. Tim Wallach…nice resume for a never before manager in the bigs…I would put him in the top 5 so far

    1. I think I might be up for writing something similar by and by, without the gimmicky grade thing. I think a retrospective of the 2013 season would be in order first, to put things in a team perspective. The final statistical line on a player glosses over a lot that shouldn’t be overlooked as we move toward 4-5 months of speculation and rebuilding or retooling the Tigers in our imaginations.

      1. The whole letter grade thing is meaningless, as it is pretty much an arbitrary measure now. I know a lot of people don’t like WAR, for example, but some kind of sabermetric evaluation has to have more validity than the A-B-C thing. Leave the grade measures for non-quantifiable stuff like clubhouse presence, team player, how he treats his family, etc.

    1. I could be reading more into it than necessary, but i’m thinking DET may be seriously considering hiring (ex-Tiger) current Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who I suspect will be ‘preoccupied’ this week with “personal matters”… 😉 – and therefore not available for an interview.

      Seeing as his father was the producer of the TV show “Hee Haw”, he might be better suited for the Cubs Mgr job…

      1. Producer of Hee Haw…hey, that’s considered a high tech job in Mississippi! Hire him!

          1. I think if the Tigers are going to hire a first-time manager, Lovullo makes the most sense—big-league coaching experience with a big-market team, some history with the Tigers organization, and an understanding of advanced stats.

  10. Interesting that the Cardinal player who got picked off to end the game was actually crying during his interview. Had that been Prince, he would have said, “I gotta turn the page.” Which type do we want on our team? Which type do you win with?

      1. I agree, and it appears that because Avila takes so many foul tips off his grill, he’s often accused (by media types) of being a tough/good defensive catcher… OK, maybe tough, but ‘good defensive catcher’?… i’m just not seeing that

        Pena pledged to lose weight this offseason and wants to return to DET…maybe he’s a viable option or should factor more into the equation?

            1. This (links) analysis puts too much weight into this “Pitch Receiving/ Framing” stat – as this is a fairly subjective stat. Yes the catcher does carry some influence in this regard, but so does who’s on mound as well as who’s behind the plate (and his mood) – and also the score and juncture of the game can also effect ‘balls and strikes’, etc… too many variables to simply reduce this to a catcher-centric stat of any significant relevance.

              And seeing as it was that (‘pitch receiving/framing’) stat alone that launched Avila to net-positive territory as a “valuable” defensive catcher!!…sorry, but i’m not buying.

              1. What do you make of this:
                Tigers W/L rec/pct with
                Avila: 65-37 .637
                Pena: 31-40 .437

                There is some overlap of course, since both appeared in the same game occasionally. It could be argued that Pena was equally as good a hitter this season (for a while many would have said better), so the offensive contribution wouldn’t change the above much. The sample size is too large IMO to just go down as luck and there is a big .200 difference. So what gives?

              2. I make very little of the Avila vs. Pena stat. Avila stunk at the plate in at least – at the very least – 2 out of every 3 games. You have to assign a lot of weight to his catching magic to think it gets a disproportionate share of credit relative to his teammates’ contributions in all those no-offense-from-Avila wins. Not to mention that it was Avila’s bat that made the bigger difference in a surprising number of those *other* wins.

                Porcello starts, team record: 17-12 .586
                Verlander starts, team record: 14-20 .412

                No question who is the better pitcher. But does the catching magic of Avila turn P into V and the Curse of Pena V into P? Don’t think so.

                Tigers went 24-9 during Omar Infante’s DL stint. Tigers had something around a .700 win% in ~20 games without or almost completely without Miggy. With AJax to start: 21-15. AJax on the DL: 16-14. .583 v. .533. Significant? I think not. Think other factors. Valverde, to name one.

                It stands to reason that the catcher who catches the staff as a whole more often has an edge. It’s also interesting to note that the Avila v. Pena stat cited suggests:

                Pena 45-57
                Avila 45-26

                A 6-win difference (90 v. 96, overlap a wash). Plausible? Not seeing it.

                Avila started all of the last 11 games of the season. 5-6. Where was the win% magic? At the plate? In the slams to Ortiz and Victorino? In the bad/weird/questionable starts from Sanchez? So how much of 5-6 was Avila’s fault? Not much, really. And credit no more than usual for a capable catcher working with an unusually talented starting rotation.

                I think Avila is the Tigers catcher-for-life, basically. No way Pena even gets considered as a starter. Don’t know why they see so little in Holaday, apparently.

                Me? I’d trade Avila in a heartbeat. He’d fetch more than you think.

              3. I’d say that score has more to do with his pitch receiving (whatever that means—maybe that he doesn’t drop a lot of pitches?) rather than his pitch framing because he has to be the worst pitch framer I’ve ever seen. I’m not convinced it actually works (I’ve read catcher head movement, or lack thereof really, is more influential in getting strike calls), but it’s rare you even Avila try to frame a pitch to get an important call.

  11. one nice thing is it woudn’t be that hard to upgrade Over AA, who basically is at the bottom of every MLB catagory. They make such a big deal at his ability to call a game… Tiger starting pitchers shake him off 15-25 times a game…

    1. The bad news is that it is *not* easy and straightforward to upgrade the C position in general (it’s not like the other positions), and particularly so in the case of the Tigers and Avila. They know what they’ve got in Avila. The alternative is the scary unknown, a roll of the dice, because I don’t see the “lock” at C in free agents or trades. If there is one, show me.

  12. OK,OK, OK! I have to confess, I have been DVRing and watching, hell, there is no other Baseball on, and up here it is already cold and a long winter will soon be upon us. Of course all the casual fans I know are trying to tell me that the umps obstruction call was “not fair”. Gimme a freakin break, reminds me of ’95 when the M’s became relevant and I had to explain the infield fly rule to firemen who always ragged me for watching boring baseball. Hey remember a few years ago when the conventional wisdom was that Papi was done, washed up?

      1. The obstruction call was totally fair. The crux of the matter is that had Middlebrooks caught a catchable, if imperfect, throw from Saltalamacchia, the Red Sox would have lived to face another batter. Of lesser import:

        a) Intent doesn’t matter, but it is obvious that Middlebrooks intended to obstruct. VERY obvious.
        b) Craig scores without the obstruction, no doubt about it.

        I’d be calling it the same way had M. Cabrera been the 3B in question. Middlebrooks one-man clown show in this instance.

        1. Good article, SN$. I’m kind of glad I didn’t read that when it was current. I respected the Red Sox more when I was ignorant of the complaints.

          1. Gammons got the quotes (from BOS players) after DET won game 1 (1-0) – and in light of what happened in the infamous game 2, BOS’ quotes only solidified my dislike for the Red Sox

            1. Yes, Game 2 would have stung so much more with that in mind, Big Pedi’s grand slam and all. At the time, all I could do was tip… well, you know.

              1. Good point. If it gets real dull this winter, we could always debate whether Hunter’s positioning had anything to do with not making the play on the HR.

  13. Pena gets fired…I just don’t get that one at all…They are probably giving Daddys boy a raise with that money…My only knock on Pena is he can’t throw..but he is no worse than the leagues worst thrower AA..but the dude can hit, and he can catch, did I mention he can HIT!

    1. This has been done on the advice of the new President In Charge Of Player Personnel. This official will have his office directly across the hall from DD and will be in constant contact with the GM on issues involving hiring, firing, potential draft choices and all other player personnel including coaching staffs on major and minor league levels, as well as the ground crew and various maintenance engineering positions. This position has been created especially for the invaluable lifelong friend and DD crony, Jim Leyland. As long as it doesn’t affect the culture, expect more major changes of this type.

  14. Not like! Pena hit almost .300, from both sides, played with enthusiasm (he was fun to watch, wouldn’t have been expensive, and seemed to love playing for Detroit. Defensive liabilities noted, but he is just the backup catcher, and good luck finding one as good. Or maybe this means they are going after McCann, and Alex is the new backup.

  15. Coleman..I hope your right..McCann is the Man..Avila will have to step it up some to be a good backup though!

    1. McCann is really good, but he is always hurt, seemingly. Maybe that’s just my impression from hearing all the Braves fans bitch about it.

        1. Even if Avila wasn’t any more injury prone than any other catcher, the physical demands of the position are such that it is unrealistic to expect 125 starts a year from one player – not very common now. And with Avila seemingly being injury prone, the idea of going into the regular season with Avila/Holaday as the go-to duo would be laughable if it wasn’t so ludicrous. The potential of a Perez/Iglesias/Holaday being 7-8-9 in the batting order does not inspire confidence. This can’t be the plan. Can it?

          1. Giving young talent like Perez and Holaday (not to mention Castellanos) a chance would inspire interest and greater faith in the organization, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t need every vacancy filled with big trade/big free agent signings. I can live with the growing pains of younger players. I was tired of the Leyland veteran bias, which helped leave the Tigers with deadwood Santiago and Kelly at the end of a WS-free season rather than two younger players with another year under their belts.

          1. Martinez is the backup catcher. No nagging injury concerns there. He only misses full seasons, a cleaner approach that I appreciate.

  16. congrats the BOS, they obviously earned it.

    i didn’t watch one pitch of the WS, though i did see some replays and read the recaps/box scores… but as a DET fan i can’t help but wondering ‘what could have been’ (had DET simply closed out game 2 of the ALCS in an orderly fashion). Even my most die-hard BOS fan friends and co-workers admit that DET likely could have swept BOS had DET continued to shut-down BOS hitters in the 8th & 9th inning of game 2 alcs. Another woulda-coulda-shoulda ending to a season.

    1. the above should say “congrats ‘to’ BOS”… rather than ‘the’ BOS…apparently throwing BOS a compliment was subconsciously more difficult than I thought.

      bottom-line, any mlb team that survives the 162-game reg season and the month-long post season and wins a WS deserves a boat-load of credit…next year will be 30 years since DET pulled it off… 30 LONG years!

  17. In a cost cuttibg move the Tigers cut Pena. his $875000..is baseball chump change. You wana cut costs then just pay Fielder what he is worth. That will save huge money!

    1. RE: Pena, there has to be something going on that’s not being reported/disclosed, because:
      a) he’s a switch-hitting backup catcher that (as Coleman pointed out) hit .300, as good defensively as Avila, loved playing for DET, and
      b) was very enthusiastic about coming back – see http://sports.yahoo.com/news/t.....1;mlb.html
      “I want to be back here,” said Pena, who hit well but had problems behind the plate on occasion. “Money’s not an issue. I feel like I want to be here.” Pena said he intended to lose weight during the winter to gain more mobility.

  18. Bullpen is clearing out: Veras and Darin Downs are gone. Detroit declined their option on Veras, and Downs was claimed off waivers by the Astros.

    1. something tells me DET will bring back F. Rodney… in a similar deal as what they signed Valverde 3 yrs ago…

      …or there’s always VMart’s new best friend Balfor…or 39 yr old Nathan – who’s going to want (and likely get) 2-3 years in the $9M per yr range.

      declining Vera’s $3.5M option was surprising in light of all the question marks w/ DET’s pen

      1. Well, this is all shaping up to be some kind of housecleaning. If Santiago and Kelly are still with the team next season… I mean, seriously, folks. Pena, Tuiasosopo, Veras, and Downs all gone first. Hmmm.

        If the Tigers are this trigger-happy already, they might as well go whole hog and unload Porcello, Coke, Albuquerque, Avila, and Jackson, and let Benoit, Infante, and (needless to say) Peralta find their payday elsewhere.

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