As we know, the Detroit Tigers have a couple of openings on their coaching staff. (And they might even have three, which is something that hasn't been followed up on by the Tigers beat.) The pitching coach job is the one rightly getting the most attention, so that deserves its own post, which will come later. But I'm scratching my head over whether or not there's a place for Matt Walbeck in the Tigers' organization.
In an article about the Tigers' coaching staff on Monday, the Freep's Jon Paul Morosi reported that all of the minor league managers and coaches would be retained for the 2009 season. The conclusion was then drawn that there would be no opening for Walbeck in the Tigers' system, which director of minor league operations Dan Lunetta confirmed.
"I don't know that there is a position here for Matt -- and that's no reflection on Matt," Lunetta said. "You have to have an opening before you consider somebody."
Am I missing something? Okay, all the minor league jobs are taken. I get that. But Walbeck held a major league coaching position last year with the Texas Rangers. Why would he want a minor league job, anyway? Unless he'd prefer to manage than being a coach. Isn't there at least one opening on the Tigers' coaching staff? Aren't they also in need of a bullpen coach? (Or possibly another position, if one of Detroit's current coaches still hasn't renewed?)
Or is this a Jim Leyland thing? Maybe Walbeck isn't one of his guys, so he makes the call on who replaces Chuck Hernandez and Jeff Jones. Yet it surely wasn't Leyland's call to fire those guys (unless he tossed them to the curb to save himself). So if Dave Dombrowski wants Walbeck on the Tigers' coaching staff (and Walbeck's fast rise from Single-A to Double-A would seem to imply he's highly regarded), would he make that push?
Of course, I could be misreading the situation and perhaps overestimating Walbeck's value to the Tigers. It appeared, however, that he was being groomed for an eventual shot at the major league manager's position.