By: Jamie Samuelsen
God bless Las Vegas.
They’ll put odds on anything from The Oscars to “Survivor” to the Super Bowl coin toss to who will be the next Tigers manager.
Yes, a gambling website has set the odds for who will replace Jim Leyland in the Tigers dugout next year. Oddly, the list does not include Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon or Arizona’s Kirk Gibson. Those are the first two names that I hear from most Tigers fans. But both are under contracts with their current clubs.
The odds are listed below with my comments about each choice.
MLB SPECIAL – Who will be the next Manager of the Detroit Tigers?
Brad Ausmus 4/1
Ausmus is my guy for the job as I wrote about yesterday (http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/10/21/tigers-should-target-ausmus-as-new-manager-blog/). That said, I don’t think he’s the favorite. He’s never managed at any level and he’s been a special assistant in the Padres front office since he retired. The conventional wisdom is that this veteran team needs a veteran manager, and Ausmus certainly doesn’t fit that description.
Lloyd McClendon 9/2
This one won’t thrill Tiger fans that wanted McClendon fired as hitting coach on numerous occasions over the past two seasons. But he does have managerial experience with the Pirates. He is respected in this clubhouse. And if Jim Leyland plans on sticking around as a consultant, it makes sense that he’d want someone he knows and trusts to be running the show.
Tom Brookens 5/1
Some believed that Brookens was hired by the Tigers to be groomed as Leyland’s ultimate replacement. But I never bought that. A lot of fans love Tom Brookens, but there’s little in his resume that suggests that he’s ready to manage.
Torey Lovullo 5/1
Next to Ausmus, Lovullo is the hottest “new name” out there with most baseball people expecting him to get a managerial job sooner rather than later. He’s been a successful minor league manager and is now the bench coach for John Farrell in Boston. He might never have become the next “Johnny Bench” like Sparky Anderson famously proclaimed, but he will get a major league job someday soon. Like Ausmus, he lacks the big league experience running a clubhouse.
Gene Lamont 11/2
Much like McClendon, this wouldn’t thrill the masses. Lamont did lead the White Sox to the AL West title and was the AL Manager of the Year in 1993. But if Leyland worries that the “fuel is getting low”, you’d have to wonder if the same would hold true for Lamont. Remember, the excuse that the Tigers gave for removing Lamont from the third base coaching box was the wear and tear on his body. Hardly a sterling endorsement for taking over the rigors of a managerial job.
Manny Acta 8/1
I’ll be honest – I’ve never gotten the widespread appeal of Acta. He flamed out in both Washington and Cleveland. And the fact that his Indians team, granted with some major additions, flourished under Terry Francona really makes you wonder if there was something wrong with Acta. But he is bilingual which should help with the Latin players in the clubhouse. And he does have experience.
Larry Parrish 8/1
Sorry, we saw this movie already. Parrish was the Tigers manager during a disastrous 1999 season. And he was named the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens in mid-September. That date came after Leyland informed the Tigers that he was not returning. Why would the Tigers make that move if they intended to move Parrish to Detroit? The answer – they wouldn’t.
Tony Pena 15/1
Pena’s name is on the list as a long shot and that’s exactly what he is. He managed in Kansas City for four seasons with little success. He’s been a coach with the Yankees ever since under both Joe Torre and Joe Girardi. He’s a good veteran name and a veteran baseball man, but I haven’t heard his name once associated with the Tigers.
Dusty Baker 15/1
Dusty’s name will come up in any managerial opening because he’s a likeable guy and he’s won a lot of games with the Giants, Cubs and Reds. But he’s never been able to take wildly talented teams over the top (which is kind of the goal here) and he’s the king of mangling pitching staffs. Trust me, you want Baker as far away from Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer as possible.