This is big. Ken Rosenthal of Fox reports that Tigers manager Jim Leyland is stepping down. Rosenthal says that he told the team after end of ALCS on Saturday. The Tigers have called a news conference for 11:30 AM this morning to, presumably, make the announcement official.
Leyland has been the Tigers manager since 2006. He won two pennants –in 2006 and 2012 — three AL Central titles and made the playoffs four times. His record as Tigers skipper is 700-597 Overall he has managed 22 seasons and 1769-1728 with the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers. Leyland is 68 and Rosenthal reports that he told the Tigers that it’s time for someone younger to take over the team.
With the Tigers opening being added to vacancies in Washington and Cincinnati, there are now three plum jobs for managers ready to enter “win-now” mode.
MORE: Who replaces Leyland in Detroit?
The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.
Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.
According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.
The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.