Jim Leyland Was One of the Last of a Dying Breed
Ron Gardenhire with the Twins and Mike Scioscia with the Angels are definitely in there. Even though he’s heavy on tendencies and study, Buck Showalter with the Orioles fits with an older school type manager. You can stick Bruce Bochy of the Giants in as well. And that’s it. With the Tigers, you can figure that their GM Dave Dombrowski will bring in an established manager to handle his veteran-heavy team. Presumably he’ll promote Gene Lamont as the new manager. I think Larry Bowa would be a good choice. But the Tigers are in the minority with that kind of manager having a shot at the job. Most clubs are going to do what the Astros did with Bo Porter and hire someone working cheap for the opportunity and willing to follow orders. Even the World Series teams the Red Sox and Cardinals have managers in John Farrell and Mike Matheny who are not in a position to be making significant salary demands or to influence the roster to a massive degree. Neither even managed a day in the minors. If someone wants to be a manager today, he’d better know both the stats and the score before accumulating experience in the minor leagues.
Leyland was one of the last of his breed. Because he’s considered a dinosaur, it has led to rampant criticism from the stat-centric media and fans who think that his methods are antiquated and no longer work. Of course it’s nonsense. For Leyland to have had the success he did with the Tigers during his tenure – four playoff appearances and two pennants in eight years – it clearly shows that his way can still work in the right situation. It’s not like it was when Leyland first started, though.
When Leyland began his managerial career, the dugout boss had significant say-so in the construction of the roster and certainly didn’t have to answer to a GM who was half his age and never picked up a baseball or bat, let alone played professionally.