Leyland the recruiter? Well, sort of

The White Sox had A.J. Pierzynski and Hawk Harrelson to give their pitch to Johnny Damon on the golf course. The Tigers had manager Jim Leyland … sort of.

It wasn’t a recruiting pitch on the phone, but it was Leyland who had what was believed to be the one bit of direct contact between Damon and the Tigers. It was 15-minute phone call late last week at the suggestion of Dave Dombrowski and Scott Boras, and it was a simple conversation about how Leyland saw Damon fitting on the club.

“I don’t think in any way, shape or form I had a factor in his decision,” Leyland said Monday morning. “But we had a very honest conversation.”

At the end of the conversation, Leyland said he told Damon that he had to do what’s best for him. That ended up being the Tigers, but Leyland isn’t going anywhere near the credit for the signing.

“I ‘d have to say that Mr. Ilitch was quite a bit more influential to Johnny Damon than Jim Leyland was,” Leyland said.

1 Comment

Well, we are just plain fortunate to have an owner like Mike Ilitch.
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I can only imagine the conversation between Leland and Johnny. But, it was good to hear Magglio speak up and say how much the Tigers’ needed him, also.
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Johnny said all the right things today, but one thing he certainly does have is charisma and an upbeat personality. The fact that he apologized at the end of his interview for “it taking so long” seemed directed at the fans. I’m looking for forward to seeing him play.

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