May 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland (10) in the dugout against the Oakland Athletics during the eighth inning at O.co Coliseum. The Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Name one aspect of Jim Leyland’s managerial style that you’re hoping Brad Ausmus doesn’t copy.
Matt Pelc: I was an unabashed Leyland supporter, so I’ll miss his quirks, however no matter what kind of team he had here in Detroit, he never let them run the bases. Leyland’s idea of small-ball was limited to only attempting sac bunts. I think Ausmus will let the players run a little more and not sit around waiting for the three-run homer.
Michael Emmerich: There was really only one thing Leyland did that drove me batty: bunting, especially in the early innings. I hope we see as many bunts as we’ll see Victor Martinez go from first to third on a single.
Chris Hannum: Don Kelly in the 2-hole. Really… Don Kelly anywhere above 8th. I’m also hoping he pays attention to who has big L-R splits and who doesn’t before thinking about substitutions.
Matt Snyder: Not re-shuffling the lineup when someone has a day off (e.g. Don Kelly batting second or fifth or whatever). I know the number say it’s a small deal – fractions of a run per game or only a few runs per season – but lineups are one of the few things we fans can obsess about during the year.
Josie Parnell: While I always respected Leyland’s loyalty and commitment to his players, I often thought it was holding him back from making tough decisions to benefit the team as a whole. I appreciated Fielder’s consecutive game streak, but couldn’t help but think there were times when Leyland’s loyalty to Fielder stopped him from benching the struggling star and giving him a rest that may have improved his post-season performance by minimizing his fatigue. Let’s hope that Ausmus’ loyalty to his players is unwavering, but that it knows boundaries when it comes to benefiting the entire team as opposed to an individual player.
Tom Zahari: There isn’t one thing I could nail down that I don’t want Ausmus to do. Some ragged on Leyland for his loyalty to certain players, others hated his bullpen management, and some did not like how he held to his gut or other old school ways of handling his lineup. Ausmus will be his own manager and comparing him to Leyland is not fair. Whatever tactics Ausmus uses are his to decide, but he will only be judged by one thing: the success of his team on the field.
Sam O’Toole: Bullpen management. Leyland made mistakes most recently in the 2013 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox; lack of communication and poor timing was evident. The bullpen has been a concern for the Tigers in past seasons. Ausmus needs to be able to make those in-game moves for the Tigers to reach their ultimate goal.
Josh Paulisin: Stubbornness and loyalty. Yes, that’s two, but it goes hand in hand. Whether it was sticking with Valverde or Benoit for too long or keeping Jackson in the leadoff spot, Leyland was too stubborn to change his ways. And no one ever questioned his loyalty to his players. But the lineup never varied. Each and every day, fans pretty much knew how the lineup would be written out regardless of how well guys were hitting. We all knew about Fielder’s struggles the second half of last season while Victor Martinez was lighting it up. But Leyland never budged. Fielder stayed in the cleanup hole with Victor behind him. Why not switch the two? Or sit Fielder for a few games to clear his head. Consecutive games played streak or wins? If I were manager, I’d choose the latter.
Scott Byrne: Doing post-game interviews with a mouth full of mashed potatoes? Seriously, managing a team as talented and veteran as the Tigers is as easy a gig as there is. What we as fans see on the field is 5% of a manager’s job. Ausmus interned under Joe Torre, so I would expect he is accustomed to the high expectations of a big-payroll, major-market team. Players win games, great managers stay out of the way.