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People are calling for Jim Leyland to be fired? Um, OK

Jun 5, 2012, 10:02 AM EDT

Jim Leyland AP

When you give a talk radio dude a column, it’s always a safe bet to assume that he’s going to use the column to advocate for things that would make his talk radio job more fun and easy. To that end I give you Bill Simonson:

I think, if the Tigers fall to 8-10 games out of first place before the end of June, Leyland and his staff should be fired. It would be a move with no risk involved. He has no contract beyond this season. If he was as highly thought of by management as some Leyland lovers think, then why wouldn’t he have years left on a deal? You can’t fire a team, but showing Leyland the door might be the move this franchise needs.

I know managers get fired simply for losing all the time, but my view of things is that, among the handful of reasons to fire a manager, a poor won-loss record, standing alone, is the dumbest reason.

You fire a manager if he makes a lot of dumb decisions. You fire a manager if he bucks the authority of the front office in a way that prevents the team from carrying out the organization’s plans. You fire a manager if he loses the confidence and respect of the players or his authority over them is otherwise undermined in such a way so as to make his continued leadership untenable. You fire a manager if the composition of the roster radically changes and you suddenly have an awful fit in terms of temperament (i.e. the old vet-friendly manager suddenly finds himself in a rebuild. You fire a manager when a new owner and/or GM comes on board and the team wants to reset.

Now, a lot of those things cause poor records, and the subsequent firing may be chalked up to the poor record.  But if none of the above things are present and the team is simply losing, firing the skipper is kind of pointless.  He’s the same guy the GM had confidence in before the season. He still has the clubhouse under control.  All that has changed is that his players are underperforming. Absent a clear link between things the manager has done and that losing, firing him is a pointless gesture.

Leyland has done none of those things. His team is underachieving. That’s on the players. Some of the players he’s had to work with don’t really belong on a major league roster. That’s on the GM.  There is absolutely nothing which suggests to me that firing Leyland would turn the Tigers around because there is nothing that suggests to me that Leyland has done much if anything to make this team lose.

Jim Leyland has managed in the big leagues for 21 seasons. He didn’t suddenly forget how to do it.  And getting rid of him isn’t going to suddenly make the Tigers a better team.

  1. dluxxx - Jun 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Nobody thought their defense was going to be any good this year, and without V-Mart’s bat, their offense isn’t going to be enough to keep them winning. Don’t get me wrong, they have some solid pitchers (Verlander, Scherzer) but they need some D behind them to turn those balls in play into outs. Their D stinks, period.

  2. randygnyc - Jun 5, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    The GM is responsible for the product on the field. If the tiger’s are underperforming, naturally, he’s got to shoulder the blame. Realistically, GM’s don’t resign, they fire the manager/coaches instead, so they keep their job.

  3. xjokerz - Jun 5, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Couldn’t agree more , dombroski needs to be fired … Where’s the farm system Dave ? Where’s the help at all…. Redsux lost Ellsbury, Crawford, youk this year and were able to bring up some sort of help now talent and were stuck with don Kelly , Ryan raburn , and a few other scrubs. Thank god quintin berry is having a fluke ish start for the tigers or else we would have serious trouble

    • cmutimmah - Jun 6, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      Raburn isn’t here…. The farm system has decent players. If you’re wondering where the pieces are, check trades back in 2009.

      There are a lot of decent pieces in the minors currently.

      Justin Turner
      Andy Oliver
      Casey Crosby
      3B Nick Castellanos
      SS Machado, Nunez, and Suarez
      OF Fields, Gibson, Collins
      C McCann
      1B Strieby, Westlake

      The problem is the Tigers have all these quad-A guys that are streaky like Raburn, Inge, Kelly, and I would include Dirks in this still. There IS talent throughout the system though, just isn’t as reported like a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout type of hype.

      The fire Leyland talk is comical though. I love people that call into sports radio here in Detroit and talk about their little league teams that they coach and what they would do if they were Jim. My FAVORITE call is the “Jim Leyland has a career losing record!” UM… name the managers that are active today that have more than 10 years experience at DON’T have a losing record? Do you know how you get hired in the MLB? A team sucks, so they fire their manager to bring in a new one to run their sucky team. So… deck is usually stacked against you in year 1. As the Tigers manager, he’s 544-484 having a .529 win percentage. Everyone’s right.. he sucks for the franchise…… yawn.

  4. weaselpuppy - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    Strieby is in danger of being released, never made it back from wrist injury
    Westlake? Nice young power hitter, wayyy too early to see if he will hit at higher levels
    McCann- no bat, nice D. Brantley-Not a great defensive catcher, but can hit. Both are MLB backups at best.
    Fields- 3rd year at High A and still not hitting Gibson-meh, nothing anyone else doesn’t have. Collins- could be a player, nice bat, LF only though. Garcia- If he learns any plate discipline at all (a big if) he could be a starting RF in the bigs.
    Castellanos?-Stud. Looking like Bill Madlock type player/career, maybe better…natural .315 hitter with gap power
    Machado and Nunez? Everyone has 5’7″ no hit all glove SS in their systems. whoopee. Suarez? 4 years away, but has skills.
    Oliver?- Horrible control and no out pitch. Turner?- probably going to turn out…but we said the same about Porcello too at this stage ( 20 and in AAA banging on the door)

    Meh. Rondon is the key…actually developing a late inning RP after drafting 20 some the last 6 years….

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