Tigers' manager Jim Leyland announced his resignation today. He was very good manager and a class guy and all Tiger fans should be proud to have had him in Detroit.
Now the focus will be on his replacement and several names will be come up for it. I am, of course, not privy to all the information and goings on behind the scenes. Who is an actual candidate and who interviews well, etc. I am just going to give you some of my personal thoughts on some names and who could be a good manager in Detroit or should be up for consideration for the job.
Most Tiger fans I hear are wanting to trade for manager Kirk Gibson from Arizona. Needless to say, he is a very popular choice because of his playing days in Detroit and managerial job he has done in Arizona. I am not sure his fiery demeanor is a good mesh with a veteran laden club like Detroit. A bunch of veterans don't need a lot of rahs rahs or an in your face approach like a young club does. Gibson is known for being well prepared and could be smart enough to know to tone it down with a clubhouse full of veteran stars. Of course, it all depends on Arizona actually agreeing to let him go.
One of Gibson's coaches is Alan Trammell. He is still very popular in Detroit and would be interesting see how he will do as a manager with more talent next time around. If either of these two gets the job in Detroit and win it all, they will be forever loved in the Motor City.
Other possible candidates include Rays' bench coach Dave Martinez. He has been on Joe Madden's side during his entire tenure in Tampa. He should be able to bring his experience and knowledge to a managerial job at some point. A couple ex Tiger players have been hot names lately for managerial jobs. Brad Ausmus and Torey Lovullo. I believe each of these three could be fine a big league manager someday, but right now none of them have any managerial experience, which GM Dave Dombrowski could be looking for. Lovullo might be the most ready as he was a manager for a year in the minors and is the current bench coach in Boston.
I am going to throw one more name out. Tony Pena. I am rather shocked he has not gotten another managerial job. He was once a Kansas City Royal manager and led them to a winning record in 2003, but the team struggled afterwards and Pena subsequently resigned. He since has been a coach with the Yankees, so October baseball is a norm for him. Also as a player, he was a catcher for playoff teams in St Louis, Boston and Cleveland and was known to work well with pitching staffs. I believe he could do a good job as a manager again, especially one with veterans on it.
Tiger fans also should keep in mind that Washington and Cinicinnati both have openings for managers and are playoff caliber teams. So any potential candidate has options, even though Detroit's opening could be the best looking job on paper. Also, just as important as hiring a good manager is having a good coaching staff around him.
Time will tell in who will be named as Leyland's replacement and I have faith in Dombrowski in hiring a qualified candidate. He should get ample opportunities for succeeding and Tiger fans should keep an open mind in the hiring if he turns out not be the most popular candidate.