As has been covered here, we know that Tigers Third Base Coach – and human windmill – Gene Lamont is candidate for the managerial position with the Boston Red Sox. Evidently, some of his competition has been eliminated, but he is still in the running. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports seems to think that the search has become a big cluster (although he uses the more appropriate term “not going according to plan” and “failing to deliver”). Well, a midst those names currently know, Rosenthal’s partner, Jon Paul Morosi (previously of the Detroit Free Press) throws out another name for consideration – Detroit Hitting Coach Lloyd McClendon.
Morosi makes some solid points in his article. McClendon, while he does have a losing record as a manger (with the Pirates) has had the most success there of anyone since Jim Leyland. He evens goes so far to compare McClendon to Terry Francona, the previous manager of the Red Sox (which maybe isn’t a good idea as they ended up firing him). With all of the points that JP Morosi makes, one has to wonder, why would the Tigers let the Rod Sox interview him?
Jim Leyland is currently 102 years old (or soon to be 67 if you believe his biography) and cannot manage forever. I would like to think that the Tigers have a succession plan in place. One is already widely assumed to be in place in the Front Office, with Al Avila being groomed to take over for Dave Dombrowski. The same should be the case in the dugout, and I believe the Tigers are leaning that way
Tom Brookens, the First Base Coach has been mentioned in passing as a future manger, possibly with the Tigers. However, in the games where Leyland could not finish his duties in the dugout thanks to umpire error, it was McClendon who took over his role, not Brookens or Lamont. While McClendon was allowed to interview in Seattle last year, there was a bit more of a cloudy around the Tigers than we currently see. they were coming off yet another disappointing season with the possibility of a house cleaning coming up. Going into 2012, the story is very different though. The Team is the AL Central Champion and is the favorite to repeat (as of now) in 2012, if not down the road as well. This, to me, seems like an opportunity ripe for a torch passing, if you will. If Jim Leyland can once again win the Central, and take the Tigers to the World Series (fingers crossed) he may choose to go out in a similar fashion as his friend Tony LaRussa did. If that is the case, I see the Tigers brass giving him the opportunity to have a say in who his successor is…and I think that person is Lloyd McClendon.
So, while I appreciate that Jon Paul Morosi feels Lloyd McClendon may be a great fit in Boston in 2012, I think the case could be made that he would be an even better fit in Detroit in 2013. We will just have to wait and see if the Detroit Tigers agree.