Going into the clubhouse and asking a manager who just lost the World Series if he is coming back next year is kinda like asking the widow at a funeral if she plans on remarrying. So it was understandable that Jim Leyland was not ready to talk about that stuff on Sunday night. Give it a day, though:
The decision has been made.
Indications are that Jim Leyland is coming back for an eighth year of managing the Tigers and that the club could make the announcement as early as today.
That’s Tom Gage of the Detroit News with the story. UPDATE: It’s official.
It makes sense. This will be a substantially similar team coming back next season and there is no better person than Leyland to manage it.
Leyland has bee at the helm for seven years. He’s 607-528 with two pennants and two division titles under his belt with the Tigers. You have to figure he’ll have this job as long as the Cabrera-Verlander-Fielder core is in tact and competitive.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: