Jim Leyland announced Monday night that he has stepped down as manager of the Detroit Tigers. Leyland’s eight seasons with the team included the Tigers winning the last three AL Central titles. This announcement may seem predictable due to Leyland turning 69 years old in December. The Tigers will now have to search for someone to fill the shoes of their legendary departing manager, and hope they can at least match his recent successes in the Motor City.
Unfortunately, this move comes at a horrible and turbulent time for Detroit. Not only will they be hunting for a new skipper, they may have to find a new pitcher as well. An offseason full of crucial decisions will be capped off with Leyland’s replacement and what the Tigers plan to do with star pitcher Max Sherzer. With his breakout 2013 campaign, it’s hard to believe Sherzer would actually be on the trading block. He will become a free agent in 2014, and the price tag on his contract may be too pricey for the Tigers to hold onto.
Where do the Tigers go from here? The favorite name the Tigers fans would like to throw out there is Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. The Diamondbacks and Gibson have very strong ties and this battle may be hard to win for Detroit. If the Tigers do not decide to do a clean break from the previous staff, assistant coach Gene Lamont could be a very viable option. Lamont was a finalist for the Boston Red Sox just last season. If the Tigers need someone for the short term, they could look at a guy like former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Who better to lead you to a World Series than someone who has won the sport’s greatest prize? Leyland always took heat for his use of the bullpen and not being able to push his team in the postseason. With that being said, former Reds manager Dusty Baker is out there. I know, I know, I’m shutting up now.