As was previously mentioned, Tigers Manager Jim Leyland announced his retirement this morning in Detroit. He has been with the Tigers for eight seasons, his longest stint with one team since managing the Pittsburgh Pirates for ten years – 1986 to 1996. While he was the frequent target of fans for his lineup and bullpen decisions, it is essentially impossible to argue that he was a resounding success as manager. Prior to his arrival, the Tigers were a laughing stock in the MLB; only three seasons prior that, they had racked up 119 losses.
The question, of course, is where do the Tigers go from here? Will they hire someone with MLB experience as a manager? One popular name floating around this morning on Twitter is Manny Acta. Given how the Indians collapsed under him, I am not sure this is the right move. Could the Tigers pick someone who has MLB experience but not as a manager? Its hard to see any current managers – who’s teams would allow them to interview – being a fit for the Tigers
Red Sox Bench Coach Torey Lovullo has been mentioned as strong possibility for the Chicago Cubs job – could he be a name that surfaces for the Tigers as well? Other bench coaches are a possibility as they tend to be the ones who manage the personalities within the clubhouse, something that Leyland excelled at with the Tigers.
In Leyland’s decision to retire he stated that he was “tired” and thought that the Tigers needed someone younger than him at the helm. This could mean that the Tigers eschew MLB experience in favor of a minor league manager or someone with “other” managerial experience such as Brad Ausmus.
Perhaps more important than who manages the Tigers will be to what extant he has control over his coaching staff. Will he bring in a whole new cast of characters or will the majority of the current staff remain and be replaced piecemeal?
Regardless of what happens, this adds another twist to an offseason that already required the Tigers to make some important decisions.