May 17, 2014

Does Jimmy Smokes Have Any More Left In The Tank

"I came here to make talent a team."

Mr. Leyland Arrives

Jim Leyland rode into town in 2006, seven years after quitting as manager of the Colorado Rockies. I don't know if I was more excited the day they hired Mr. Leyland or signed Prince Fielder. We all know how that turned out. We were all more happy the day Prince left than the day he signed. (Once more, great job Mr. Dombrowski on moving that albatross -- e.g. the contract.) Leyland made changes in Detroit, though the 2006 team was not significantly different from the previous season's team. In his retirement speech, Leyland said that he came to Detroit to make "talent a team."

Talent a Team

You're My Confidant

Today, it's been announced that Leyland confidant Tony LaRussa has been hired to run the Diamondbacks organization. It made me quickly wonder if Leyland would be interested — once more — in making talent a team. It seems the management team in Arizona have not completed the process of turning the talented D'backs into winners. Interestingly, it's two people running the team that we are familiar with. In fact, the manager and bench coach are the bench coach and manager that Leyland replaced in Detroit Rock City.

Gibby and Tram, Mach II

The general manager and manager in Arizona have been "under the gun" since last season's failure. Now, ownership is making a major league change at the top — and it wouldn't surprise me if he brought in some folks he is familiar with to further right the ship. That may include his good friend, Leyland. Leyland could work in the front office; though, I don't necessarily see him as a GM type. But, he could have it in him for a two or three year run as manager. Kirk Gibson was heralded his first season as manager but hasn't really continued to meet expectations. His bench coach is Alan Trammell, who just never seems to get involved in a winning situation.

What Do I Do Here

I believe he enjoys his job with the Tigers, but nobody, including him, really know what he's expected to do. The one thing he knows how to do — better than most, I would venture — is manager and run a major league baseball team. His first MLB job was as third base coach on LaRussa's early-'80s White Sox. One of the front office executives at that time was, yep, Dave Dombrowski. Ironically, when Ken "Hawk" Harrelson ran the Sox for a season (1986) Dombrowski was let go. [This has nothing to do with the whole idea of the article, but the same names creep up around Leyland and LaRussa].

Anything Could Happen

It would not surprise me is the Diamondbacks made a move to get Leyland to join LaRussa in Arizona. I wouldn't be hurt if he left the Tigers. I appreciate all he did for the organization, but it could be time for one final act. If he's not already a Hall of Famer, a little success there would cement that honor.

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