Monday, August 8, 2011

Dombrowski and Leyland Given Extensions...What the Hell?

It was announced today that the Detroit Tigers had reached agreements with both General Manager Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland to extend their contracts. Leyland was renewed for just one more season, putting him under contract through 2012 whereas Dombrowski was handed a new four year deal through 2015.

In July both of these men were feeling the pressure of the ownership and fans alike, so much pressure in fact that they fired pitching coach Rick Knapp to try to appease them. That move has indeed worked as new pitching coach Jeff Jones has had an effect on the pitching staff. Prior to his promotion the Tigers had a 4.39 ERA, since he has taken the helm that has dropped to 3.64.

The Tigers have shown that they don't understand the game of baseball; they're handing out extensions like candy. They gave out extensions without winning anything, there was no proving ground. This team is up by four games and still have to play the Cleveland Indians twelve times to end the season. It's not far fetched to say that Detroit could find itself in third place.

Are the Tigers going to be as willing to hand out extensions in two or three weeks from now if they're only up one game or maybe six weeks away in the midst of a full blown collapse? From the looks of it, they don't care.

Neither of these men needed an extension at this point. With the track record that both of them have the conditions of an extension should have been; make the playoffs or your fired. This team isn't great, in fact it isn't good. It's just the best polished turd in the American League Central.

Before the All-Star Break, Owner Mike Illich basically said that Leyland and Dombrowski needed to win in order to keep their jobs. That must have been a kick to the pants of both men right? Not at all. Since the All-Star Break the Tigers are 12-10.

Detroit has managed to run away with the division because it's a terrible division, not because they're a good team. And it's only a four game lead, it's not 10 or 11 games. The Indians were up in the 7th inning in most of the games on their road trip; they ended up losing those games. But they could easily be one game back or even ahead of the Tigers.

It's not even like Detroit has a farm system to fall back on, Dombrowski managed to completely gut that and get nothing in return. In the entire farm system the Tigers have two prospects that have the potential to actually make it to the majors and do anything.

When Dombrowski took over the Tigers they boasted one of the best farm systems in the league, now they are ranked 28th. The dismantling of prospects without getting anyone of any worth back in return is what Dombrowski does, he's not some baseball genius. It's not Billy Beane sitting up there in the press box, it's some guy who can't tell a dud from a stud.

Why did the Tigers have to extend their contracts now? It's not like these guys were the going to run off to other clubs after the end of the season. Leyland isn't going to run off to Chicago as soon as the season ends. Dombrowski doesn't have teams lining up for his services. Just wait! There's almost two months of baseball left to be played.

Mike Illich said that Dombrowski gives the Tigers the best chance to win in the future; he's losing his mind. Handing out extensions at this point send the wrong message, it shows that the Tigers reward mediocrity. What happens if the Tigers collapse down the stretch run? Then you have Leyland for another season and Dombrowski for four!

This team is not good, it only looks good comparatively in the division. That won't be the case for long, because the other teams in the division have good GM's and managers. In 2009 the Tigers gave Jim Leyland an extension during the season and what happened? They collapsed down the stretch. Why would you do it again?

Terrible move for the Tigers, it just shows that Illich is impatient and has little understanding of what it takes to build a winning baseball club. Fire Dombrowski, fire Leyland, sell the Tigers. Detroit deserves better than this.


  1. Good article Sean but a few mistakes I found, the Tigers actually have 12 games left against Cleveland, and their record since the all-star break is 12-10 not 10-12. Other than that agree completely with what you're saying they did it in 09 and they collapsed down the stretch why would they do it again??

  2. Thanks for catching those mistakes, I must have just been going too fast and miscounted. But yeah, this move is garbage.

  3. I agree they should have waited until the season was over to do something. The timing is all wrong but who would be able to replace them? They wind up competitive even though they aren't really winning but they are winning enough to keep the fans happy and paying attention.

  4. First off, thanks for the read Jamie. I had a whole list of replacements for the two of them, but all of the coaches were hired elsewhere. Leaving me with my replacement GM as J.P. Ricciardi. I would try to poach one of the assistant coaches from Tampa or Anaheim. While they may be winning now, it's not consistent and when the other teams in the division come back next season Detroit will be sitting in third looking up. Chicago will be back and you know that Minnesota will be right in the middle of things. Plus, the fans are never happy.