Jim Leyland’s contract is up at the end of the season. He was given a one year extension last year on August 8th, when the Tiger’s had gone on a run and taken control of the division. Up 4 games on a flailing Cleveland and 5.5 on the pitiful White Sox, Leyland was allowed to stick around for another year.
It has been rumored that Dave Dombrowski and Mike Illitch do not see eye to eye on Jim Leyland and that Leyland was Illitch’s choice to replace Alan Trammell as Manager after the 2005 season, not Dombrowski’s.
Rumors were even more rampant when the Tigers gave away the division in 2009 and lost in the 163rd game and Leyland refused to pinch hit for the terrible Gerald Laird and the entire Easy Company of the 101st airborne he left on base that day.
After that game and season, Dombrowski did not want to bring Leyland back but Mike Illitch would not allow him to be fired. Just two years later however, Dombrowski was able to extend Leyland for only one season at a time, leaving himself an out at any point if things got bad.
And bad they have gotten. At this point in the season I’m not sure even winning the AL Central is enough to secure Leyland an extension. Illitch opened his wallet last year for Victor Martinez and when he went down in the off season, he opened the vault in his basement for the prize free agent, Prince Fielder.
Illitch is trying to give Leyland and Dombrowski whatever he can to win a World Series. Leyland is however doing what he can to not do that.
The fact that Dombrowski had to get rid of three players that shouldn’t have been on the roster out of spring training anyway just to keep Leyland from playing them says a lot about this albatross of a manager. Brandon Inge, Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn had no business making this team in April.
That he has the Cy Young favorite in Justin Verlander, a top MVP candidate in Miguel Cabrera, another MVP candidate in Austin Jackson AND that doesn’t include the All Star 1st basemen they payed $219MM to in the off season that is having a damn fine year as well and he still can’t take the lead in this division should be enough to get him fired.
We are approaching the stretch run of the season and the Tigers sit 1.5 games out of first place with a far superior team than the one in first. If Jim Leyland cannot get this team to the World Series I don’t see any reason that he should be back next season.
Bring in a manager that would have recognized Quintin Berry in March and brought him out of camp instead of Kelly. A manager that can recognize that Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young shouldn’t be in the same line up and that Andy Dirks and Berry should be.
A manager that is able to tell me what OPS means and understand why its a valuable tool to use in managing and not brush it off as “nerd stuff” simply because he doesn’t want to learn anything new and grow as a manager and person.
In 2009 Dave Dombrowski was told he could not fire Jim Leyland. But, after the 2012 season I will be drinking champagne either because the Tigers are World Series champions or because Dombrowski sent Leyland back to Pittsburgh and has started a search for a real manager.