So it has been over 48 hours since Jim Leyland officially stepped away from the Tigers and the most high-profile manager position has become available (as long as Donny Baseball stays in LA.)
But before we look ahead to who will be the new skipper, we need to appreciate first what Jim Leyland did here in Detroit. Leyland came to Detroit in 2006 and led the Tigers to the AL Pennant and a 95-67 record to win the Wild Card. The season before the Tigers went 71-91 so the improvement in one season was dramatic.
Overall in Detroit Leyland went 700-597 while leading the Tigers to two AL Pennants, three Central Division titles and three consecutive ALCS appearances. In his 22 seasons as a manager Leyland went 1,769-1,728 with three Pennants and a World Series win in 1997 with the Florida Marlins.
Now who will replace Leyland as the manager is anyone’s guess at this point. Lynn Henning names eight different external candidates, Joey Cora of MLB Network threw out a former division rival as a candidate and AJ Mass of ESPN lists three potential in-house candidates and two external options.
Personally, these are the top five candidates to end up winning the position and my ranking of them taking over the reigns of this high-powered team.
5. Kirk Gibson
Gibby has made quite the name for himself in Arizona as a fiery leader of the young Diamondbacks team. Arizona asked Gibson if he wanted to make a move to Detroit, but that doesn’t mean he is totally out of the running and Gibson may be just trying to save face. I don’t think that Gibson’s attitude and managerial style would work well in Detroit, he is great at getting everything he can out of a decent group of guys and gets them to overachieve every season. But I don’t think that mentality would work as well with this veteran team.
4. Gene Lamont/Lloyd McClendon
I’m putting these two together because they have similar backgrounds, experience and time with the Tigers before. I honestly don’t want either of these guys to become the head coach, both haven’t had much success at the positions they have had with the team already. But Jim Leyland’s guys will get respect from management and be in consideration for the position, but I think either of these guys getting the job is a step back.
3. Ron Gardenhire
The current manager of the Twins just signed a new two-year contract with the team, but the Red Sox and Blue Jays made a trade of sorts for John Farrell and that worked out pretty well for the Sox. Gardenhire is one manager that I have always respected for what he has been able to do with the lack of talent that Minnesota has had. If it is possible to make the move I think he would do great with this team.
2. Larry Parrish
Parrish managed the Tigers back in 1998-99 and didn’t have the greatest success at the position. But the Tigers have kept Parrish around with the organization as he has had two stints as the Mud Hens manager and another starting in 2014. If the Tigers trust Parrish to manage and mold the developing prospects for the team I think they would be willing to give him a chance to run the big club as well. His knowledge of the organization and players in the system would be a benefit, and I think he’s the best in-house candidate for the job.
1. Mike Scioscia
Now Scioscia also has a contract still with the Angels, but the relationship between himself and management is rocky at best. If Scioscia were to be released from his contract I think he would be the best fit for the job here in Detroit. He has experience coaching with high expectations, along with experience in the playoffs and managing big time players. Scioscia will come to Detroit with instant respect from the players in the clubhouse and will be able to have this team pick right up where they left off last season.
So what do you think Tigers fans, is Mike Scioscia the man for the job here in Detroit or someone else? Let us know what you think about tonight at DetroitSportsBloggers.com or on Facebook and Twitter.