Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tigers New Manager Will Have Pressure Beyond Belief

There isn't that much pressure on the next manager of the Tigers. All he has to do is win the World Series in his first season.

There'll be no honeymoon. No get-to-know-you period. They'll give a hearty cheer when the new skipper is introduced on Opening Day at Comerica Park, then the second guessing will begin on talk radio and on Twitter that night.

There'll be head scratching and open questioning of President/GM/CEO Dave Dombrowski's lucidity in hiring the new guy---sometime in mid-April, I reckon.

And here's the real laugher: the new manager will be compared, unfavorably, to Jim Leyland---by those very people who wanted to run Leyland out of town.

Then the new man will have to fend off the improving Cleveland Indians, win the division, tiptoe through the mine field that is the American League playoffs and win the World Series. That's all.

Yet there is no shortage of takers for this job. Maybe half these guys have no real idea of what they're getting themselves into.

You thought 2012 was "World Series or bust"? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Just because the Tigers will have a new manager doesn't mean the fans' insistence on the team's first world championship since 1984 will abate. Next season will mark the 30th anniversary of that '84 club, as if the pining about that magical year needs any more encouragement.

Lloyd McClendon, the Tigers hitting coach, had his interview for the managing job already. Experienced job seekers will tell you that it's best to be either the first or last person interviewed for a position. So Lloyd might have something going for him in that regard.

I won't pump for any particular individual here. I will say that I'm not sold on promoting from within. The Red Wings tried that with Dave Lewis, who followed Scotty Bowman after winning the Stanley Cup in 2002. That didn't go so well, mainly because---and GM Kenny Holland admitted this to me in 2006---the Red Wings needed a new voice entirely, and Lewis didn't provide that.

That's not to say that McClendon can't be successful as Tigers manager. But with three straight post-season flame outs, it says here that an outside person might be needed.

Here's the rub: as good of a job as the Tigers managerial position is, it will come with intense pressure to win now. The roster may look significantly different as soon as in 2015.

As the speculation persists as to who Dombrowski will hire, and as the list of supposed candidates grows, it's easier for me to tell you who won't get the job.

Scratch the following off your list.

Don Mattingly. Kirk Gibson. Tony LaRussa. Ron Gardenhire. Mike Scioscia. Joe Maddon. Eric Wedge. Manny Acta.

The reasons are as follows, for each man respectively.

Sticking with Dodgers. Sticking with Diamondbacks. Staying retired. Won't leave Twins without pitching coach Rick Anderson. Contract too complicated to get out of in Los Angeles. Tampa won't let him leave. Health issues. Too risky.


Now, as to who might get the job?

Keep these guys in the mix for now.

McClendon. Dusty Baker. Brad Ausmus. Jim Tracy. Ozzie Guillen. Tony Pena.

The reasons are as follows, for each man respectively.

Already interviewed. Past success. Mike Matheny redux. Dark horse but brilliant mind. Crazy enough to work. Experience, can relate to the plethora of Latin-American Tigers.

Dombrowski, it's been reported, will likely wait no longer than the first 10 days of November before choosing his new manager. This gives us about two weeks or so to see the focus shift to the finalists, as news of interviews comes to light.

Regardless, this is a great job for the right person. But the right person must know that if the 2014 season isn't capped with a parade down Woodward Avenue, there will be hell to pay.

When Leyland said yes to Dombrowski eight falls ago, the Marlboro Man wasn't exactly following a tough act---and God bless Alan Trammell. 

Dombrowski's impending hire will step into a pressure cooker that will have as its only saving grace that it isn't located in New York.

There won't be much smiling next year after Opening Day, which will serve as a polite welcoming for the new skipper. After the first pitch, let the second guessing begin.

This is going to take a special type of individual.

Somebody better be careful of what they wish for.


Blogger Michael David said...

Yep, that pretty much sums it up, Greg. And to be honest, I have no clue who the next manager will be. I've been too worried about who will manage the Whitecaps, but that job might be put off until Detroit is filled. I wouldn't mind seeing Tom Brookens take the Tigers helm, but we'll see in the few weeks.

5:53 AM  

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