Jim Leyland is in the final year of his contract, and as the Tigers struggled through much of the season, there was speculation that he may not be back in the dugout next year. Danny Knobler from CBS Sports.com reports, however, that the seemingly ALCS-bound Tigers are likely to have Leyland back in 2013:
Jim Leyland’s future has been enough of a question that even some in the Tigers’ clubhouse have conflicting views on whether he’ll return in 2013. But it appears at least one option can be ruled out, as Leyland has been telling people in recent days that he does not plan to retire at the end of this postseason.
Some in baseball, and even some in the Tigers’ organization, had been speculating that he might, especially if the Tigers go to the World Series. Just last week, Leyland began one answer about next year by saying, “If I manage … “
Can’t see why the Tigers would want anyone else.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.