Monday, October 21, 2013

Jim Leyland retires. Again

Jim Leyland: 22 years as a manager, 1,769 wins, 1,728
losses, one World Series title, three pennants, six
division titles.
Jim Leyland announced Monday that he's walking away from the managerial job in Detroit.

This is his second retirement — he hung 'em up, so he said, when he decided he'd had enough in Colorado back in 1999. He was 54 then, 54 and frustrated after losing 198 games in two years. He's 68 now and has won three straight division titles. I think this one will stick — and for that matter, the first stuck for seven years.

There are now, oddly, three managerial openings for teams in "win-now" position: Detroit, Cincinnati and Washington.

I would expect the Tigers to view this as a short-term opening. The youngest of the 12 players who got the most plate appearances on the 2013 Tigers was 26. Miguel Cabrera is now on the wrong side of 30. Prince Fielder's numbers have fallen each of the last two years. Alex Avila has been ridden hard behind the plate.

This is not, in my mind, a team to be turned over to a managerial prospect with a learning curve.

One issue that the new manager, whoever he is, will have to deal with is the bullpen. Leyland's patchwork failed him this month. That might be relatively prominent on Dave Dombrowski's checklist as the Detroit general manager seeks a new dugout boss.

Let's see: Experienced manager for a veteran squad with a knack for assembling and deploying a bullpen. I know just the man. But Ron Gardenhire already has a job.

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