The Tigers signing Torii Hunter to a two-year $26 million contract earlier this offseason was pretty big news. And it seemed to come out of nowhere as Hunter called the Tigers and invited himself into town for a visit.
The Tigers made another move today – one that was a long time coming. They’re moving Gene Lamont from his post in the third base coaching box to the bench next to Jim Leyland. Tigers first base coach and former third baseman Tom Brookens will move across the diamond and Rafael Belliard will take over at first base.
And despite Lamont making many very questionable decisions over the past few years, including running Prince Fielder into the first out in the second inning of Game 2 of the World Series, Leyland claims that this isn’t performance-based.
“Gene is as good as any third-base coach in the league. Terrific judgment. Terrific. But it might be time for him to come over to the bench with me and put Brookie out there. I think Gene Lamont was as good as any third-base coach in the American League, without question. If you’re referring to the Prince Fielder thing, Gene Lamont looked up and said he made an aggressive mistake.”
Leyland has been one to abide by the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage, but he’s straying from it this time. I question if he’s being honest in saying that this isn’t performance-based. Why would he need Lamont on the bench next to him? Is he doubting his own abilities? I doubt it.
It’s about Lamont not doing a good job and I think we all know it. But hey honest or not, I have to applaud Leyland for making the call.