Follow-up on Dombrowski, Leyland extension

Still trying to get out of KC — apparently a commercial jet does indeed need a working seatbelt for the pilot (I kid, Delta actually did a wonderful job helping me change my flight plans today, and I am very grateful) — but I wanted to tie up some loose ends coming out of the Dombrowski conference call and the removal of the elephant from the Tigers clubhouse:

First is the question of a four-year contract for Dave Dombrowski compared with only one for Jim Leyland: Dombrowski said on the call that a multi-year deal for Leyland was never discussed. He apparently didn’t bring it up, they didn’t offer it, and he accepted a one-year offer. Does that mean this same contract-year issue will play out next season? Not necessarily, since they could conceivably revisit the issue in the offseason. Does it mean Leyland is set? I’m not sure that’s the case either.

“It’s a situation where for Jim, he’s done a very very good job,” Dombrowski said on the conference. “To me, when we tackle next year I think in my situation, being extended for four years, it puts some stability in the organization, and I’m hopeful that Jim not only signs for next year, but we hope that he’s here for a long, long time. But we thought at this time it was better just to tackle next season and get him signed for then.”

A long-term extension for Dombrowski, in my opinion, makes sense given the situation. To change over a front office is basically a commitment to rebuilding, and that’s not where this team is. And if you’re going to extend a GM, at least three years makes sense for some security.

Next is why now: As I wrote in the story on the site, Dombrowski said it wasn’t a distraction, but it had the potential to become a distraction. Leyland hadn’t talked about it. The players hadn’t brought it up publicly. It became an issue among some players back in 2009 before Leyland got an extension.

“I don’t think it has been a distraction,” Dombrowski said. “We’re in a position where we’re four games in first place and the guys have played well, but it always has the potential to be a distraction, and not from our perspective, but in the sense that it constantly is brought up. You’re aware that it’s out there. If you can avoid it, you try to avoid it. And in this situation, we were able to do that.”

There was another subtle point from Dombrowski that others in the organization had to worry about their status the longer it went. Could have been assistants, or scouts, or instructors, Dombrowski didn’t specify. But if the intention all along was to extend Dombrowski and his front office, it was best to get rid of the speculation and keep folks from jumping elsewhere.

“I think the most important part is you don’t to risk losing people in your organization that are important members,” Dombrowski said. “And I think that it’s a siutation that even though I feel very secure in that regard, I also understand that insecurities at times are part of anybody’s life and part of our business. And so the closer you get to the end of people’s contracts, which is Oct. 31, it’s not that people want to leave your organization, but I’m also not naive. …

“Sometimes people from other organizations will sometimes approach your individuals about other opportunities. You’re aware that those things are out there and you don’t want that to happen if you can avoid it. You’re in a position where, by getting signed now, we have plenty of time to be able to approach all of our people.”

One of the biggest strengths of Dombrowski, maybe the biggest, is the organization. He has a small circle that he trusts, he treats them well and they’ve stuck around. They have honest discussions, honest disagreements and he trusts their opinions. As organizations go, this one runs pretty smooth that way. This should keep that group together, and it should allow them to move ahead with some things.

I asked Dombrowski about that continuity on the conference call, and he got into the topic of evolving as a group, about incorporating new ideas over the years and adding new statistical analysis to the tools they use. He delved into that himself. I don’t know if that would have been a topic six years ago.

“When you start talking about people like Al Avila and Scott Reid and John Westhoff and David Chadd, from the baseball perspective, I think they’re as fine a people in doing their jobs,” Dombrowski said. “They’re very knowledgeable, they’re hard-working, they’re loyal. We know each other’s ways. Everybody’s not afraid to speak their minds. We have disagreements about decisions we make, but when we walk out of there, we’re all in a position where we’re united in what we do.

“They’re also all always trying to get better. It’s impressive because new ways, new styles come into the game all the time. We always look at them. We incorporate them into what we’re doing, things that we think can be helpful. I think the part of it, when you have that continuity, you have that relationship, you’re always looking to get better. So you’re not starting fresh. You’re always looking for ways to improve as an organization and get better, and you’re building upon methods that you already have. So we have a lot of things in place, things that we will examine once again. For us, it’s important now that we know we’re going to be here for an extended period. We need to continue to examine everything we do and make sure we’re as efficient as possible and continue to look at new methods and styles that we can implement.”

In that regard, Dombrowski also mentioned Mike Smith, the baseball operations director, who has been crucial to their work on statistical analysis from the time Dombrowski arrived.

26 Comments

When Leland “rests” the club into another failure like he did last year at least the buyout won’t be as bad and maybe the “Dumbbroski” can get the picture of the goat back from Leland!

What about Lamont, MacClendon and Jones. They remain one year too?

Supposedly they haven’t extended coaches yet, according to the conference call, but one would expect that answer is yes. For one thing, they’re Leyland’s confidantes. For another, even it’s very difficult to make coaching changes when the manager isn’t under contract beyond a year, unless you’re promoting from within the organization.

I’d assume the coaches will be back unless Lamont retires or McLendon gets a manager’s job somewhere. It’s a match set that comes with extending Leyland.
I agree with your opinion on Dombrowski and the ramifications of changing the CEO/President/GM. I just hope everyone doesn’t get all fat and happy with Leyland. There are alternatives there. That said, maybe we can bring home the division and the point becomes moot. It would greatly simplify things if we’d just win it. There is more pressure than ever from the fanbase now, if not from the ones in charge.
It’s been an interesting day.

Tks,
I asked because of:There was another subtle point from Dombrowski that others in the organization had to worry about their status the longer it went.

Correct. The sense I got was he might have been talking more about the scouts and player development people. I heard scouts from other organizations talking about the contract year status last offseason.

Just to change things up, here are some stats for 2011:
Jackson leading off a game is hitting .222 with a .271 OBP. He’s at .258 and .324 leading off an inning.
Boesch is .347 with a .417 OBP leading off an inning. OPS is 1.017.
Boesch hits .339 with 11 of his homers batting third.
Batting 2nd, Boesch is hitting .212 with 4 homers.
Ordonez hitting third is at .227 with 2 homers and 17 RBI.

If anyone cares Furbush didn’t have a very good outing for the M’s today

Very interesting stats on Boesch Rich. As I suspected and IMO THIS is the guy you want batting in front of Cabby.

BB adds the element of danger. Pitchers are forced to ply the strike zone which help him. He has been described as being a pretty free swinger and pitchers can take advantage of that if he is hitting 2nd with 1 out and Ordonez on deck.

Nice article, thanks Jason. Maybe sometimes this blog is negative but as Rich said, how many times have we all said good move compared to the questionable one. The most glaring weakness I see is the lack of production from the 3 spot. The lead off spot is also of some concern but AJ is having an off year. I like Carlos and he should bat second but I would give Rhymes a chance. WE need some speed. NIce stats on Boesch. I wish my boss would give me a raise for something I have NOT done yet. I know you are going to get that big account so here is bonus :)

Not a big fan of the format change here, but I’ll get over it, I eventually adapt to change!

Here is our chance with a few games against the Tribe – let’s win the series.

DB – you don’t get raises for your potential? I thought everybody did. Oh sorry – the real world works a bit different from the sporting world. Only individual sports (golf, tennis, etc) pay you for how you actually perform that day or week. Kind of funny how the world of team sports and payrolls work.

Ah, the calm after the storm.
Anybody got predictions on the upcoming series? I figure we take one of the three. Not meaning that to be negative, but it’s pretty standard to lose 2 of 3 in the other guy’s house. We’ve lost 11 in a row there, so one might be good.
We seem to do better, as do most teams, when we get an early lead. As such, I sure would like to see a shakeup to the batting order. I don’t often have a problem with who JL plays on a given day, but I sure wish he’d try some different batting orders. Boesch’s numbers hitting in front of Cabrera leap off the page. Either move him back to third or move Miggy up to third with Brennan second. The former is possible, JL would never do the latter. Jackson should be elsewhere in the order until such time as he actually becomes a leadoff hitter. He’s nowhere close to that now. He needs a man on so JL can send the runner and force Austin to swing at the fastballs, rather than looking at them like it’s a strange breed of bird flying by. I’m fine with Ordonez in the game, but move him down with Carlos and the others. Who hits leadoff? Doesn’t matter since we don’t have a leadoff hitter. Anybody can be slotted there. Even Boesch.

I agree with 1 out of the series – however if we could take 2 that would be huge because 2 of the 3 remaining series are in Detroit.

I think Dirks should be given a shot at a little more playing time. If so, he could leadoff but there is no way in Hell, Michigan, or Detroit, for that matter, that JL will move AJ in the lineup. He has it fixated in his cerebral cortex that AJ is the leadoff hitter and he damn well will keep there until he becomes one again.
As for me, I’m watching AJ like a hawk and if his K rate goes up appreciabley fro the disasterous level it is now I ship him down and get him straighened out. Radical? Maybe but he is a hugely important piece of the Tigers future that has to be working efficiently.

Just saw today’s lineup. No Ordonez–Dirks is in but lo and behold–the knucklehead has him batting 3rd and Boesch (numbers or not) is again batting 2nd!!!
Perfect opportunity for Boesch to bat 3rd and JL has the Larussa part of his cerebral cortex mired in the power hitter batting in the #2 spot fixation.
Many of us will be livid with Leyland at this time next year again.

no chance JL knows something dan doesn’t.

Evan and Jim Leyland and Dan Byrne will agree only occasionally.
“To tell you the truth”, numbers don’t lie. People do though.

And again, no Wilson Betemit!!?
What’s up with that?
Does anybody have the audacity, temerity, courage or death-wish to ask the skipper about that?

Don Kelly is 5 for 11 off Masterson so that explains that. Tonight anyway. I also wonder about the Betemit thing. I’m pretty sure Inge will be back soon. It’s Huff all over again.
Regarding Dirks hitting third, no Evan, JL doesn’t have any secret knowledge here. If you’ve been following closely over the years, you’d know that JL is prone to putting the replacement into the same batting spot as the guy he’s replacing. Whether it makes sense or not. I swear JL has his lineups pre-printed at Kinko’s and has a short supply of White-Out.
I’m good with everything else. Jackson has hit Masterson.

Question about Inge, maybe JB can answer or one of the many GMs on this blog. Inge is not on the 40 man roster. Can he be brought up Sept. 1 without being added to the 40 man roster or will someone need to be removed first? I assume that Inge, Santos, Worth, and a couple pitchers will be brought up in Sept.

yes rich that is his “thing” but that is the secret knowledge: statistically, has that been working for JL over the years with the tigers. I would argue 60% of the time it does.

Who is the fastest Tiger besides AJ? That person should be the lead off hitter. Who can bat second? Maybe AJ. Last question. Who’s team was the 2006 Tigers?
And to the Optomistic poster, we are going to win 2 in Cleveland! Go Tigers!

Funny, I actually don’t think anyone on this Blog gets into being the GM, unlike say the Detroit News site. Besides DD doing a pretty good job, the Manager gives plenty of fodder to chew on!!
Teams can expand their active player limit from 25 to 40 from 1 September so safe assumption callups would have to be on the 40 man roster.

I hope I am dead wrong but to expect a sweep would be misguided. This is a good Indian team with a whack of LHB that will be tough on our righties. The keys to winning 2 games will be Schlereth, Coke and Below. Coke HAS to find a fix for his instant problems that he is suffering from when brought in.
We have a lot of games with the Tribe and we need to win at least 7 of them.

Baseball gods are not with Tiger fans so far this game in the bottom of the 1st.
I’m very leary of Fister becoming too ‘hittable” for the AL.

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