Leyland on McClendon: There’s no mixed emotions
Jim Leyland stayed out of the Tigers’ hiring process for his replacement, as he said he would. All he said on his way out at his press conference last month was that he felt like Lloyd McClendon was ready to manage again.
McClendon didn’t get the chance to manage in Detroit. His opportunity in Seattle seems no less satisfying for Leyland.
“Oh, I’m thrilled. There’s no mixed emotions,” Leyland said Wednesday evening in a phone conversation, having just returned from the Tigers organizational meetings. “It’s a great opportunity for him with a lot of big arms out there. I think they have a great chance to get good quick.”
Short of McClendon getting a chance in Detroit, the result was about as well as Leyland could have hoped.
While Leyland talked only once with Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski over the course of their hiring process, and that time only at the end, he didn’t talk much more with McClendon. They chatted twice by his count, though he has been in touch more since the Mariners made their hire.
“I’ve been through that process,” Leyland said. “It’s hard to stay calm during that process because you’re on pins and needles. A lot of times, these things take time.”
While Leyland was finding out about Ausmus’ hiring and driving to Detroit for meetings, McClendon was interviewing for a second time in Seattle. He found out about the M’s job soon after McClendon did.
“Things really worked out great,” he said. “Gene’s back in Detroit [as Ausmus’ bench coach]. Mac got a manager’s job. The Tigers got an outstanding guy. I’m happy. You just hope that the other guys all land on their feet, but it really worked out good. I think Dave made a really good hiring and Brad made a very good hiring, and Mac’s managing.”
Leyland, meanwhile, is consulting for now. The Tigers’ newest special assistant was part of their organizational meetings for three days, which gave him his first chance to talk with Ausmus since he got the job.
“We had several quick conversations,” Leyland said, “and it was really good. I just left it like, ‘Look, Brad, I’m available anytime. If you have any question, feel free to call me anytime.’ I really enjoyed it. I was really impressed with him. When we left today, he said he’d be calling me.”