Tigers extend Dombrowski, Leyland

The Tigers headed into the season with pressure to win, and with everyone from the coaching staff to the front office on their contract years to do it. Now that they’re in first place with little more than seven weeks left in the season, they’ll head into the thick of the pennant race with renewed job security for president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, manager Jim Leyland and much of the front officed.

The Tigers took the uncertain futures out of the background on Monday by announcing contract extensions for Dombrowski, his assistants and Leyland. Dombrowski received a four-year contract extension through 2015. Leyland received a one-year extension through next season.

Vice presidents Al Avila, David Chadd, Scott Reid and John Westhoff also earned contract extensions.

The extensions ensures that Dombrowski and his support team will go into a second decade running the club both on and off the field. Together, Dombrowski, Avila, Reid and Westhoff have overseen a rebuilding process that took the Tigers from back-to-back 100-loss seasons and 119 losses in 2003 to a team expected to contend every year. Detroit leads the AL Central in August for the fourth time in the last six years, and has potentially its best chance for the Tigers’ first division title since 1987.

Dombrowski has also been in charge on the Tigers’ business side, which has seen a turnaround of its own. What was once a difficult task to draw fans after the first season at Comerica Park has become one of Major League Baseball’s better success stories, with consistently strong attendance figures over the last six seasons. The Tigers have sold out eight games this year, including three on their recent seven-game homestand.

“Dave has built a solid foundation for this organization and assembled competitive teams that give us a chance to win year in and year out,” team owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement. “We have a lot of confidence in his continued leadership of the Detroit Tigers.”

Those last six seasons have been under Leyland’s leadership at manager, the longest run by a Tigers skipper since Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson’s tenure. Leyland led the Tigers to the World Series in 2006, losing to the Cardinals, and has put them in contention to get back to the playoffs ever since. He owns a 485-440 record as Tigers manager, including 61-53 this season.

“I know Jim shares our desire to deliver a winner,” Ilitch said in the same statement. “We’re pleased to have him continue leading the Detroit Tigers on the field.”

Leyland is in his 20th season as a Major League manager and looking for his sixth spot in the postseason. The 66-year-old former Tigers farmhand, who got his managerial start in Detroit’s farm system in the 1970s, has said he would like to manage for several more years.

Though the Tigers have been at or near the division lead for much of the season, the contract years for Dombrowski and Leyland — and the accompanying pressure to win now — have been an underlying theme all season. The Tigers made a midseason coaching move last month by changing pitching coaches from Rick Knapp to Jeff Jones, trying to get more production out of a pitching staff that had its ups and downs aside from Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander.

Detroit also has had its share of trades aimed at this year, from the May swap of Scott Sizemore for David Purcey to the Trade Deadline acquisitions of Wilson Betemit, Doug Fister and David Pauley. After all that, the Tigers head into a crucial three-game series at Cleveland Tuesday with a four-game lead in the division.

“I am grateful for the continued opportunity Mr. Ilitch has given me to run this franchise, and I am equally appreciative of the unwavering support he has demonstrated the past ten seasons in our efforts to bring a World Championship back to Detroit,” Dombrowski said in a statement.

41 Comments

HECK YEAH! That’s what I’m talking about! Maybe ppl forgot how it was before this duo came into town. It’s easy to second guess the jobs they do – but thats the nature of it. CONGRATS SKIPPER!!

your clueless.

He got a 1 year TOKEN extension.

When he CHOKES again, he will be fired.

I knew this was going to happen. Everyday that passed, I got a little more hopeful that it wouldnt. But it was the white elephant in the room and now we are stuck with JL for at least another year. But they havent won anything yet. Why not just wait? We have been teased too many times before and so far they have avoided the 2nd half swoon. But the 2009 gag job started right after a 3 game sweep in Tampa on Labour Day when they opened up a 7 game lead. They proceeeded to go 11 -15 in the final 26 games to choke it up. So we are not out of the woods yet. So I ask again, why not just wait?
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The fact is that if they do not win this division it would be brutal. Of their remaining 48 games only 4 games are against a team with a current winning record (4 against TB). The schedule is in their favour. And whenever a JL team is expected to do something, they find a way not to do it. The division is there for the taking. And there is alot of division games left. We have done a great job so far this year within the division but in September of 2009, we went 1-5 against the Royal, 2-4 against the White Sox and 3-5 against the Twins. So I think all Tiger fans have the right to be nervous and skeptical. We have seen this movie before.
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By announcing this now, nothing good comes of this. If they blow it, they have to publicly say that JL is still the guy to lead the team next year. This after he would have blown the division in the most winnable year in recent memory. I have friends here in Toronto who wish they could be in the Central and be right in the hunt.
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Why not just wait?
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Go Tigers.
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– Bob

So if Leyland wasn’t the manager, we would revert back to the 1990s Tigers? Why do people think that? Explain it to me. Tell me why Jim Leyland is the only man capable of managing the Detroit Tigers. Tell me what he does that no other manager can do with this ballclub. I’m not talking about Dombrowski, I’m talking about Leyland.

“Tell me what he does that no other manager can do” is the wrong question – is the the best manager for the ballclub is a better question. I think the answer is yes.

But why is he the best manager for this ballclub? I read countless comments on what he does incredibly wrong but no one ever talks about what he does incredibly right. This guy gets paid 3 times more than most managers. Why?

he is the best manager for the next few years because he has been running the team successfully for several years now (you don’t have to make the PO’s every year to be successful, you know). He’s a great manager – lots of teams would want him – he’s been with the organization for a very long time – he has a lunch-pail mentality. Can you name some better suggestions for manager next year? And take into consideration if we restructured the management (JL/DD/etc) then the team might take a few years to get going (successfully) in that new direction!

ppl who think JL runs the game well are in the majority in the real world – on this blog LMAO is a different story.

I think this was a done deal awhile ago and they’re just now announcing it. I think the deal was done about the same time that JL suddenly became more laid back with the media, the same time his mood suddenly lightened.

Dombrowski said Ilitch talked with him about his situation around the all-star break. Leyland’s situation followed. Nothing was going to happen with Leyland until Dombrowski’s situation was resolved.

Evan, do you remember the 84 Tigers? How about Monahan and Bo Schembechler as president and Ernie was fired?

are you equating the biggest gaffe in professional sports to resigning JL and DD/co.? nice!

and not really – i was born June of 84.

Evan that’s your problem. You are to young to have ever seen a good manager!

Tony LaRussa, Mike Scioscia and Gardenhire are all pretty good managers – but i guess if you don’t think so I understand why Leyland is such a bad manager in your eyes..

Add 30 or 40 more years and then we’ll talk.

While I’m not very happy that Leyland will be back next year, it is only one year. What I’m more upset about is the fact that we’re stuck with Dombrowski through 2015. His horrible trades and absurd contracts have limited what this team could be.

Well, that sparked some lively debate.
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But I am not sure how you can say the Leyland years have been a success. If you are measuring it against the vortex known as the 1990s; well anything would be better than that. Granted, there was a World Series year in the year I would concede he did a good job of managing. But the continual problem with JL’s Tiger teams are they either underachieve or overachieve. Most of 06 was overachieve and then when it was an apparant lock to win the division they finished 19 – 31 and blew a 10 game August lead. They werent expected to beat the Yanks or the A’s and of course they won those series. Then everyone said they would cakewalk over the Cardinals (one reporter even joked the Tigers could win the Series in 3 games) and they delivered one of the most disappointing performances by any team in a World Series in recent memory. I said at the time that we will regret having such a poor performance as we all know it is not easy to get to the World Series. The party was over before we even arrived.
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In 2008, they were supposed to be the SuperTeam and score 1000 runs. A last place finish. As I mentioned on my previous post, 2009 was another disappointment when they were expected to close the deal with a 7 game lead on Labour Day. But they didnt. They couldnt even close a 3 game lead with 4 to play.
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For whatever reason, when the pressure is on a JL team and there are expectations to perform, they waffle. I measure success against what is expected of them. And I expect them to win this division with the talent they have and the schedule in front of them. And if they don’t, it is not a success. So please dont measure success with playoff appearances. Measure it against what you should be able to do. And with the talent we have had compared to the rest of the division over the past 5 years, we should have more than one Wild Card in the past 5 + years to show for it.
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I dont know what manager could have done better. Thats not my job. But we will never know until it is tried. I just know that I have seen enough of this movie to know that I would like to try something else if they botch this division title. If they win the division, I promise I will back off of JL (until at least next April … ;) ).
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Go Tigers.
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– Bob

You said it Bob!

Egads!
Well Evan you must enjoy the post game interviews, the herd of hippopotami we have in the lineup, they playing of favourites, the condescending treatment of media and fans, the bizarre flip-flop decisions, the double talk, the stubborn approach in playing yesterday’s baseball today and the beliigerence. I’m happy for you.
As to the “real world” point. I don’t live in Michigan but I do have friends and family there. Not one of them is a Leyland fan. I met a dozen people from the Detroit area last winter in Mexico. None of them liked Leyland.. I’m not talking 50%, 25%, 10% or even 1%. I’m talking ZERO!
I get a kick out of the guy, he’s interesting and in some sort of confused nostalgic way I appreciate his background. But I detest his managing on the field and his decisions in what he thinks are the appropriate ball players for his team. Make no mistake about that, he certainly has input.
So a no news day became a bad news day.
I also lost some respect for Illitch as I thought he was finally putting some real pressure on these guys to produce a winner.

i don’t know many leyland nay sayers…..maybe 5 or 6 out of hundreds of family and friends. i guess (leyland) haters tend to flock together.

and i like JL’s attitude during the post game interview -> make those press guys earn their money lol!!!

I’ve been a die hard Tiger fan since ’67 and in all those years the most disappointing season was ’08 with ’09 a close second. How a guy with career record below .500 can be considered a “great” manager is beyond me.

cmon now….somebody who “rebuilds” programs could statistically have a under .500 record and be considered a great manager.

Do you think Gibby would allow his players to NOT run out a ground ball? We have (or will have after this year) a young team. Find a manager that will be around for 10 to 15 years. If you want to know what the real world thinks, read the comments from the Freep. The bigger question is, do we have the players to make it happen? How do you bring out the best in your players, like 2006?

Bob summed it up pretty succinctly:
“Why not just wait”?

Thanks Dan …. my fellow Canuck !!!!!
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Go Tigers.
— Bob

What is a Leyland nay sayer? I do not hate the guy, I just do not think he is a great manager. 20 years ago he was good, but today he is just stubborn. Mr I must have been hit with a hockey puck yesterday!

The comment about the “real world” is laughable. You want to see how the caring Tiger fans feel about Leyland, read any message board. Any of them. Sure, there are folks out there who follow along from a distance and bring the family to the game and enjoy everything about it, but those aren’t the folks who live and die with this ballclub. The live and die group knows we can do better.
Dombrowski’s case is entirely different. He’s the CEO, President, and GM. Changing him means changing everything about the entire organization. He’s done okay. He’s made some questionable trades as GM, and some good ones, but overall the organization has improved. His biggest mistake has been and is hanging onto Leyland. It’s not earth shaking to change a field manager.
Finally, do you think it’s fun to have to complain about Leyland all the time? I don’t enjoy that at all. A few weeks ago I said that if he can bring home the division this year, I’m off his case. “Up here” it’s about winning. Not just competing, but winning. I’d like nothing better than to be happy with ol’ Jim, believe me. That can be achieved but he has to win this thing this year. This! Year! If he doesn’t, I won’t be complaining next year. I won’t be here. Fans who live and die with a team sometimes just die and are gone. I’ve been living and dying with them since 1960.

1984? Well they won the WS because the team was sold before the season. Detroit was the aaa of the MLB. Every player in the team became a free agent. Thinks about TB without the prospects and the AL tittle.The team never hired a free agent under the previous owner and did not sign their own. It was Morris chance to become free agent and Trammel and Lou Whitaker were due too after 1984 .
Fortunately the team was sold. The new owner allowed the old bad President to remain in his post. But Darrel Evans was hired as free agent. Morris, Trammel and Lou Whitaker were extended. Then they robbed Philadelphia. They need Giants first base to cover Evans after the 5th inning. Philadelphia wanted Champ Summer, 20 hrs 80 rbi a year and a extremely bad defensive player but the fans favorite. Kind of Inge or a bad version of Boesch.So Philies made a trade with Giants and then made a package with Willie Hernandez, the Tigers main target, and sent them to Detroit. The rest is history, al lbut three of the players had worse numbers than in 1983. But after 6-1, 9-2, 18-3,35-5 , it was a pleasure walk.
They were in first place until june 2005 when the defense crumbled mainly because they became too confident and a lazy third base. Howard Jhonson did not want to play for Detroit but Anderson wanted a third base with power and relegated Brookens, the first base coach today.Then 1987. 10 games remaining. 7 and a half behind like in 1983 with7 games against Jays. 8-2 7 games won by one run. And then Sparky´s word. We are a 4th pace team. They melt down against the Twins . They Lost 1-4. The sole game won by Doyle Alexander. Anderson never used his bullpen until it was too late. then the conspiracy and Gibson was gone.
1984 , the best Tigers team ever . Even better than 1968. Thanks to Campbell and the competion pizzas.
Cobbs team never won the WS

And everybody wanted Anderson hanging from a lamp post after the threw away 1981 and 1983

Wow! You just knew this was gonna be a tornado in the room. I can live with Mr. Dombrowski, but to think of JL (well, I can’t stand thinking about it) for another year makes me sick. Another year of McClendon and LaMont, too? Every time someone mentions 2009, I die a little bit. Do you know when I went to the game in May (it was a Sunday), I went down to the field (we got in 2 hrs. early) to watch the team practice and take BP and were told the Tigers don’t take BP on Sunday. I could have cussed out Jim right there. There’s a hundred reasons I could cuss out Jim Leland for his pig-headedness. He may have gotten a one year offer extension, but if the Tigers don’t win the division, I’d be afraid to show up at the park next year if I was him.

Very, very few teams take BP on Sunday. If they do, it’s not a regular thing.

The opposing team did, Jason. Is it that way just for the home teams. Must be. Still, I was terribly disappointed and so were all the kids hanging around. They could have practiced bunting like the Giants were.

Amazing to give a guy another extension when the team record would place them third in any of the other five ML Division. Since the middle of June, the Tigs have gone 24-23, pretty much on track with the SOC’s overall 49.7% career average.
We all know Central is typically the weakest Division and how many times we have won it the past 23 years. Equating the past six SOC seasons with earlier Tig failures is of course dumb when you don’t recognise Mr I has easily spent more than any other Central team during that period – a staggering $204m (43.5%) more than the Twins for example.
Jim earlier in his career was able to create an environment that lifted player performance with his 51.49% H1 to 52.77% H2 over his first 7 seasons. However, for the past 12 seasons, with four separate organisations, JL’s teams have all gone backwards as his 51.4% H1 to 44.0% H2 record clearly shows.
It was 1992 at age 47 when Jim last had a team improve in the second half. The 90-92 Pirates are the only 3 teams in his 19 seasons that improved post break but all 3 were bundled out in the first round despite winning 96, 98 & 95 games. Even his 97 WS Marlins went backwards finishing 9 games behind.
SOC teams have averaged a 7.0 game drop during the second half, making his 7.3 games average drop since he got to Detroit just par for the course.
The last 5 and a half year Tiger record of 56.9% H1 to 46.0% H2 is not just a few seasons aberation. A clear trend had developed before he got to Detroit. At what point does mud finally stick with the stubborn old coot??

Good for you Evan for sticking with your opinion. I too like Jim Leyland and so do several of my fellow Michiganders. Do I think he is the best manager in baseball no but he certainly isn’t the worst. I appreciate you voicing your opinion especially on this blog, I never do because it is a somewhat negative blog (which I suppose is what the fans intend it to be, venting of sorts) and it sometimes brings me down. I just love baseball and of course I love winning and even if they don’t win the division which my optimistic self believes they will, I will still be watching and rooting next year Leyland or no Leyland. Go ahead and call me a dreamer but I believe in the power of positive thinking. It is what it is people. Go Tigers!!

For all the money that’s been spent, we deserve better than average and I hope we get it. The power of positive thinking is a great attribute to have and I have great faith in the Tigers, but I just don’t know if JL thinks the same way. He’d probably say he’s a realist. I agree with your assessment that it can become negative on this blog at times, but I think some people are preparing for failure, just in case, so they can say “I told you so”. Hopefully, at the end of the season you can flaunt your positive thinking theory as the Tigers win the Division and enter the playoffs and tell all of us “I told you so.” Please, make it be true.

There is the expected slobbering pap from Lynn Henning about all this. He compares now to pre-DD/JL days, the usual stuff. Tellingly, most of the article is about DD, with JL thrown in as an afterthought. To answer your question about mud sticking to JL, Dave, it’s because he’s hitched his wagon to Dombrowski. Dave has done his job, Leyland has not. Oh, and Lynn also wants us to name managers. What is it with that? I’ve already named Manny Acta and Kirk Gibson when both were unemployed, among others. It’s not that hard to do. Again, it’s that amazing perception that ONLY Jim Leyland can manage the Detroit Tigers. That’s the part I don’t get.

A few points about the Tig season thus far.
We are not pulling away from the opposition as the 24-23 record since mid June shows. The Tigs have gone from 1 to 4 games ahead showing the other teams have gone backwards.
We have been extremely fortunate to have had no real injury concerns thus far.
The team is 8 wins over 500 despite conceding 6 more runs. Having VV with the perfect closer record has been the single factor keeping the Tigs over 500.
Justin is now at the pinnacle of pitching and is on track for his first 20+ win season. How long though can he also lead the league in pitch counts and velocity, now three years in a row.

I agree Rich and others about DD – have to say a good organisational guy though is definitely better when he isn’t flooded with money, somethig I don’t think he will see again anyway.

Leyland = 1 more year. Oh, dear! I will be 70 this week and I don’t know how many more years I will be around to see the Tigers have a good year.
I guess I’ll just have to covet my memories of 1968 and 1984. If this team doesn’t at least win the division this year, I’m afraid the uproar from the fans will drown out any Tiger roars. JL and one more year, oh my!

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