It has been confirmed that Lloyd McClendon has interviewed for the manager job — we talked about him earlier in the week — and while both McClendon and general manager Dave Dombrowski both agree that the interview “went well”, the Tigers are apparently continuing their search. Another internal candidate who might be in contention for the gig is former Detroit third baseman Tom Brookens.
Brookens undoubtedly has his roots in the old-school mindset — I mean, look at that mustache — so he probably wouldn’t be much different from Jim Leyland in a tactical sense, but in an interview with FanGraphs, he expressed willingness to change with the times.
“When I started coaching and managing in the minor leagues, I was more old-school than I am now. I’ve learned the value of some of the newer things, like video and the numbers game. There is value in that. Back when I first got in it, I was thinking, ‘We don’t need all this kind of stuff, you just play.’ But as you experience what’s available to you, and learn how to use it — I’m speaking of statistics and video — it becomes a valuable tool in a manager’s thought process.
He also probably a manager who would employ the bunt more frequently than many fans would like, but he does appear to understand that giving up an out could limit a potentially big inning.
I’m probably not going to bunt to tie the game 2-2 in the eighth inning, especially when we’re playing a team like Boston. I’m going to want to try to go ahead. I’ll want us to do some damage. I don’t want to take us out of an inning where we have a chance to score multiple runs and go ahead.
Brookens doesn’t have any big league managerial experience — I don’t know if that would eliminate him or not — but he has managed across three levels in the Tigers’ system (where he managed guys like Alex Avila and Andy Dirks) as well as participating on the major league coaching staff for the last several years, so he certainly has familiarity with the players.
I think Brookens could be a solid choice: a new voice that probably wouldn’t change the culture around the team, but will the front office and ownership be willing to grow along with a new manager with a team of players who were assembled to win now? That’s the question.