A small piece of news from MLB.com’s Jason Beck (via twitter), who reports that all Tigers coaches will be retained for next season with the exception of Andy Van Slyke, who is said to be pursuing other opportunities.
No immediate clarification was given as to whether this was the team’s choice or Van Slyke’s, but the use of the words “pursuing other opportunities” makes me think it was Van Slyke’s call.
Van Slyke was in charge of the outfielders and was the team’s first base coach. He was an All-Star player under Jim Leyland during the Pirates’ last successful run of teams in the early 90s.
The bigger news here is that hitting coach Lloyd McClendon will be returning despite having lead a stagnant offense. I have changed my mind a couple of times throughout the season on whether or not I felt McClendon should return for 2010, but I can say with certainty that if the voice is not changing, the message needs to.
Dave Dombrowski mentioned is his media session on Thursday that the organization needed to improve in the areas of approach and plate discipline. These are areas that most teams pay lip service to and are not easily addressed. I can only hope that there is a real commitment to improving in these areas going forward, because another year of the same stuff isn’t going to cut it.
***UPDATE: According to Beck’s blog, it was the Tigers who did not invite Van Slyke to return. Van Slyke would not disclose how the decision came about, but said that he enjoyed his time in Detroit and was grateful to the organization. The Tigers plan to hire from within the system to replace Van Slyke. Although it is not 100 percent yet that all coaches will remain in their current roles, the Tigers appear to be leaning that way. Beck names longtime minor league instructor Gene Roof as a possible replacement for Van Slyke.