Tigers coaching staff retained for next year

Any question about potential changes coming to the Tigers coaching staff at season’s end dissipated Thursday, when the club announced that all six coaches will be back next season. It’ll be the sixth season on the staff for third base coach Gene Lamont, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and infield coach Rafael Belliard, all of whom came on board when the Tigers hired manager Jim Leyland. It’ll be five consecutive seasons for bullpen coach Jeff Jones, who was on previous Tigers staffs in different stints. Pitching coach Rick Knapp returns for his third season, and first-base coach Tom Brookens for his second.

Some fans might’ve wanted some heads to roll for the way this season turned out; it’s a natural gut reaction. One reason not to, of course, is the impact injuries had on the squad. The other reason, and one that might get overlooked, is the fact that Leyland is only under contract through next season at the moment. It’s difficult to ask a new coach to commit to a team with no staff security past one year. Knapp was willing when he came on board, but it was his first job on a Major League staff.

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