Jim Leyland has stepped down as the Tigers' manager. It was a great eight-year run that fell just short of World Series glory. Here's how it looked:
- 2006 - 2nd place; ALDS, ALCS winners
- 2007 - 2nd place
- 2008 - Last place
- 2009 - 2nd place
- 2010 - 3rd place
- 2011 - 1st place; ALDS winners
- 2012 - 1st place; ALDS, ALCS winners
- 2013 - 1st place; ALDS winners
Not bad, considering that for the 15 seasons prior to Leyland's arrival, the Tigers never finished above third place.
But now that Leyland is leaving, who will take over at the helm of this great ship? Who should take over?
There are several things to consider. This has been a World Series-contending team for three straight years, and most of the core team will be back again in 2014. Whoever takes over as manager is stepping into the middle of something already in motion.
Do you want a veteran manager in this spot, someone with past postseason experience? Do you need to bring someone up from within the organization, so as not to upset the existing team/clubhouse chemistry? How well has it worked in the past to use in-house managerial options? Does that even really matter? Does anyone really want to try to bring Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell back?
The in-house options right now are Tom Brookens, Lloyd McClendon, and Gene Lamont. Are any of those options good enough?
Lamont may come with Leyland's stamp of approval. He was a coach for Leyland in the Pittsburgh days, and when Leyland left, the Pirates put Lamont in the manager's seat, and he got them to second place. He also had two winning seasons with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 1994.
Interestingly, when Gene Lamont was fired by the Pirates, it was Lloyd McClendon who replaced him. He managed the Pirates for five years and compiled a win record of .430, never getting beyond fourth place.
Tom Brookens, of course, actually played for the Detroit Tigers for 10 years. He was part of the 1984 World Series championship team, and also part of the 1987 division-winning team. He has been managing or coaching in the Tigers' organization for the past nine years. He managed the team's Class A short-season Oneonta Tigers in 2005 and 2006, then went to West Michigan to manage the Whitecaps to a 2007 Midwest League championship. In 2008, Brookens moved up to manage the Class AA Erie SeaWolves, and then rejoined the Tigers as a base coach in 2009.
So how should it go from here? Are any of the internal options good enough? Does hiring from within and preserving the existing chemistry trump going outside the organization for someone with postseason experience? Does it really matter, as long as the core playing team stays the same?
Vote and tell us your opinion in the comments below!