Tossed salad and scrambled eggs

mcclendonMuch like Frasier Crane picking up after Cheers and moving to Seattle for his own show, Lloyd McClendon is off to to the Pacific Northwest for a well-deserved second shot at managing. Like Frasier was to Cheers, a spinoff but a completely different show and tone, McClendon is likely not going to be a simple continuation of Jim Leyland’s era in Detroit.

When he talked about the Tigers opening two weeks ago, he talked about being his own man, being himself, taking lessons to heart that he learned from Leyland but not simply trying to copy him.

“Obviously when you have an opportunity to work with one of the best in the game, you’d be a fool not to learn something,” McClendon said last month. “That has certainly been very beneificial to me. My aspirations are hopefully to manage again, but at the same time you have to be your own man.”

Eight years as a coach alongside Leyland, seven as the hitting coach, “certainly confirmed my convictions as far as how you go about your business, preparation, knowing your opponents, using that to your advantage, knowing your players, knowing their capabilities, what they’re capable of doing and what they’re not capable of doing. And above all your leadership skills. Be yourself.”

McClendon has long wanted to manage again, which is why he probably cringed over the years when the Tigers would play Pittsburgh and he’d see the highlights of his epic rant at PNC Park, pulling out first base and taking it with him on his way out after an ejection. He knew that couldn’t help his cause, no matter how much fans talk about wanting a fiery manager.

frasier2He came close in Seattle a few years ago, losing out to Eric Wedge, but he had the hope of being considered Leyland’s successor in Detroit. He had to be crushed when the Tigers went with younger, less experienced Brad Ausmus over the weekend, but he had to focus on his second interview with the M’s. As low as it had to be, losing out on the shot to manage the team he knew, getting a chance to manage a Mariners team with a chance to build has to be an emotional swing. Even with a general manager in a contract year, there are worse fates than to get a second chance with a rotation that includes Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, not to mention several young hitters who haven’t hit near their potential yet.

He doesn’t get a ready-made, veteran laden team for the World Series, but he gets a chance to build in a division that, while immensely talented, isn’t like Sisyphus trying to roll a boulder up a hill. There’s room for upward mobility, as the M’s showed simply sticking within sight of .500 until September.

A lot of fans in Detroit wanted McClendon to suffer for the Tigers’ hitting struggles, especially in the postseason, and that’s fine. It wasn’t for a lack of work on his part, but it was a bottom-line type of season here. Game managing and being a hitting coach are two different skill sets, though, and other than connecting with players, I never quite understood the correlation people held so closely between the two. Larry Parrish is a tremendous manager at Triple-A and a veteran judge of talent, but he did not end up being a good hitting coach in Atlanta. Leyland couldn’t tell you much about hitting and techniques, but he knew what he wanted to do with the hitters he had. McClendon knows how to recognize changes and patterns in the swing, and he had inifinite patience to work with guys if they were willing. He also did a ton of work breaking down video. Now we’re going to see how he handles a game again.

To answer the next question, I do not know how many — if any — of his Detroit colleagues he might bring with him. It would seem like a safe bet that if the Tigers don’t keep Jeff Jones as pitching coach, he should have a spot in Seattle with another impressive group of arms.

15 Comments

Good luck in Seattle, Lloyd. I’ve never been to Seattle, but sure would love to go to a game at Safeco.

Sam Malone pitching coach??

Best of luck Lloyd, I think Seattle has some nice talent. If they get a bat in that lineup that drives in runs, they could be good. They have some great arms.

Personally, I’ve always thought blaming the hitting coach is like blaming the weatherman for the weather. The Tigers hit just fine, they just failed to score some runs when needed. Those are two different things. Major leaguers should know how to handle a situation before they become major leaguers.
Congratulations to Mac. I admit it would have been interesting to see how one of General Leyland’s division commanders would have handled the entire army.

to be fair the weather man is usually at fault for any bad weather one experiences. just don’t take my word for it.

I have read once and again, that nowadays,the manager must be able to handle 25 egos and there is not about x and o.
Are they serious?
It is nothing new, around 1979, Sparky said to a venezuelan journalist that the dog no longer was wagging the tail but the tail was wagging the dog. since the players were earning more money than the manager, he had no power.
Hearing that the first thing that came to my mind back then was the Jackson- Martin bout.
One year before , in Venezuela there was the second on at least three players rebellions in Venezuelan Winter League. The manager was fired and Willie Horton took over as player-manager. He did everything wrong. He torn apart every page of The Book. He is known as “El Brujo” ,the male witch, because he won the league and for the first tine ever for a venezuelan team, the Caribbean Series. Of course, Dave Parker who already an established big leaguer, and second only to Barry Bond among those I saw playing, and Mitchell Paige with an ever better season carried the team. Without Parker, the next year , he ended dead last and fired before the end of the season. The team failed to qualify for the next 14 season.
Once in a million years, the players can win by themselves but does anyone really think that the team will be run by the players?The pitchers will call the changes of pitchers . And the runners will have ,all them, green light and they will go to home without looking at the 3B coach. And the infield will be in or normal with who? the infielders or the pitchers?taking the decision of giving the run or going for the DP.
And the lineup, who will sit today? a computer can give you the numbers or even the best lineup but if one has a better avg and the other better OPS? keep Verlander in his normal 4 days and skip Porcello or keep the rotation?
I like the Ausmus hiring because he knows the game. But I expect he was not hired to babysit grown men and wont end like Flip Saunders ( I think he was far better than Brown)

giving the run and going for the DP.
Sorry for the long comment

What about bringing Granderson back?

good comment!

Yanks made a QO to Granderson, so it was cost you a 1st rounder. Not gonna happen. He had a rough year last year. I love Grandy but that ship has sailed. Nate McLouth might be a better OF plug-in.

Read a little about Max and a possible fit at Washington. Sure—but we need Harper in return for that deal. Sorry.
One could think about Clippard and Span. Denard would be a nice player here. But we have a crowded OF now. Hopefully Dirks has a better season physically.
I like the Ausmus hiring. Things were getting stale with Jimmy and not just his cigarettes.

Also some talk of a cheap FA signing like a Joe Smith or Chris Perez.
Perez needs a change of scenery for sure and could really help. But again, DD has to put a major focus on our bullpen. A guy (one guy) like Perez is not nearly enough to provide a cure for what has been ailing us.
Nathan would be nice but a multi-year contract with a guy his age is very risky.

We need several pieces, Perez could be one of them, a closer like wilson or nathan, and two lefties — plus 2 or three high upside/risk guys (bonder man could be one of them).

wait, no more Brooken’s huh? what happened there — thought he was being groomed this whole time, no?

not too sure that I want Max to go, I don’t know enough about Washington’s players to know who they could give us to compensate for our loss of Max. Harper is out of the question, his salary would be way too high.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 24,042 other followers