By: Tom Millikan
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland joined Stoney & Bill on Wednesday morning. The Tigers skipper addressed the rollercoaster regular season.
“It was a rough season,” Leyland said. “We had to stay after it. We took some justified hits. We had to deal with it more than usual. It was frustrating because the team wasn’t playing as consistent as I thought it would. Every other day you’re getting fired. We just had to stay the course and that is the one thing I’m most proud of.”
The Tigers offense came up empty as they were swept out of the World Series. Leyland was asked if he would have managed the World Series any differently.
“Not really,” he said. “There was nothing during the series I would change. We tried to be more aggressive in the last game. Maybe we should have done that sooner. I thought we would score off Bumgarner and Cain. We had Vogelsong on the ropes. Maybe we should have pushed more.”
Now that the season is over, Leyland said he will have some down time, but you never really get away from baseball.
“I don’t think you ever get away from it, but it’s not pressure situations. I was just laying in bed last night going over the free agent list. You do need to get away from it though.”
Leyland wouldn’t say what free agents caught his eye.
“Well I’m not going to get into that. We probably need an outfielder somewhere. I think we should try to get more athletic with some speed. We floundered against left-hand pitching this year. I thought we would do ok. I misread on Raburn. I thought he would get us over the hump against left-hand pitching.”
Leyland addressed Octavio Dotel’s comments that the team lacked fire and passion.
“I’m not a big believer in that. Our big guys don’t have that kind of personality. I think Victor Martinez will address some of those things and it will fall into place. These things just happen for a team. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to win. It can’t be a manager. I don’t have time to go out there every day and give a rah-rah speech. “
Finally, Leyland talked about who would be the Tigers’ closer in 2013 with Jose Valverde not being brought back.
“I have no idea as we speak. I will say this: Joaquin Benoit cannot take control as a closer on a consistent basis. Jose Valverde could go 3 or 4 straight games, Benoit can’t do that.”