Dombrowski: Leyland is welcome back
I tweeted about this last night, and MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian made mention of it in his excellent piece on Jim Leyland from last night’s celebration, but Dave Dombrowski finally cleared up some of the questions about Leyland’s situations during a postgame interview in the Tigers clubhouse. From the quotes:
“Jim Leyland is welcome back here. He knows that. He’s in a situation where we want him back, and I’m sure that he wants to come back. I would think that would be the way. But there’s a time and a place for that. It’s not right now.”
So why the delay?
“It was really his preference,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve known each other so long. We’ll get to this when we need to.”
Leyland confirmed last week that he wants to come back, but he has strongly hinted on several occasions that it’s not a given that he will. As recently as Thursday morning, during his pregame talk with beat writers prior to Game 4 of the ALCS, he used the phrase, “If I manage again …”
Maybe it’s a matter of timing. Maybe it’s a negotiation tactic. Maybe it’s Leyland trying to stay consistent with his stance of not putting the cart before the horse. Or maybe he’s leaving open the possibility of following in Tony La Russa’s footsteps and retiring on top if they win the World Series, though La Russa himself kind of panned that idea Wednesday.
“If I told him that, then he’d manage 10 more years,” La Russa told reporters. “He does the exact opposite of what I tell him. If I tell him how lousy it is, he might retire.”
But at this point, there’s clearly mutual interest in keeping this going.