After a few years out of the Detroit Tigers dugout, Lloyd McClendon has made his way back in.
The former Seattle Mariners manager spent 2016 with the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens.
In 2017, he will replace former hitting coach Wally Joyner, who decided that he wanted a career change.
Affectionately known as “Mac,” McClendon did apply for the general manager job that was given to Brad Ausmus in 2014. Mac was the hitting coach with Jim Leyland between 2007 and 2013. After Leyland left and McClendon was not given the managerial spot in his place, he was hired to lead the Mariners.
Records as an MLB Manager
As the Mariners’ manager, in 2014 McClendon led the team to an 87 and 75 record and in 2015 to a 76 and 86 record. The losing record in 2015 was enough for the front office to let McClendon go. He was fired.
Prior to his time in Detroit with Leyland, McClendon managed the Pittsburgh Pirates between 2001 and 2005. There his win-loss percentage was .430. He did not have any winning seasons with the Pirates. In fact, during his first season, his team won 62 games, losing 100. Mac was also the hitting coach with the Pirates prior to managing them. In his seven seasons as an MLB manager, Mac has only one winning season.
Plenty of Experience with Young Tigers
Along with McClendon, Leon Durham (known as “Bull”) will be moving up from Toledo to work in Detroit. He has been the hitting coach in Toledo, but he will now become the assistant hitting coach for the Tigers. Bull has worked with the majority of Tigers as they have moved up and down during DL recovery stints and as they have moved through the minor league system.
When Mac was given the manager’s position in Toledo last year, many thought that he sent there to push Brad Ausmus. It was predicted by many of Ausmus’s critics that Mac would replace him at some point in the season. In hindsight, this was not the case.
Now that Mac will be spending each game in the dugout interacting with the players and with Ausmus, what can fans expect to see? Probably, much of the same.
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Batting Titles with Mac and Wally
While McClendon was the hitting coach with Leyland, four Tigers won batting titles. During McClendon’s first tenure with the Tigers Cabrera won three titles including the Triple Crown and Magglio Ordonez won the other title. With Joyner, the Tigers also saw plenty of battling awards. In 2014, Victor Martinez won a Silver Slugger award as the DH. In 2015, both J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera won Silver Slugger awards. In 2015, Miguel Cabrera had the best batting average in the AL; he hit .338. Cabrera won another Silver Slugger award in 2016.
Even though a large contingent of Tigers’ fans are not Ausmus fans, McClendon’s name is not one that they would like to see take over the job of Skipper. McClendon’s record as a manager does not make him a desirable replacement. Even as the Mud Hens’ manager, he had a losing record of 68 and 76. Hopefully, he will continue to have success as a hitting coach – but with players like Cabrera, Justin Upton, and J.D. Martinez – what hitting coach wouldn’t have success?