By: Pat Caputo
There is a groundswell for Tigers’ hitting coach Lloyd McClendon to replace Jim Leyland as manager. I think the Tigers could do worse, but I also think they can do better. But if McClendon were to get the position, these are the traps he must avoid. These are three of them:
1. Getting terse with the media. Being the spokesman for the franchise on a daily basis has always been a big part of the job, but especially in this era of social media and highlighted coverage. This isn’t Pittsburgh and a bad team, either. This is a bigger market with glaring spotlight on the MLB team and high expectations. One of the things Leyland did exceptionally well was keep his cool when things were going badly. He understood the value of being a cool hand at the wheel. His angry moments didn’t come during the down times. McClendon would be wise to learn from it.
2. Don’t retain Gene Lamont as bench coach. It’d be fine to have Lamont on the staff in some capacity, but the Tigers need some new ideas, too. The Tigers need their own man managing the club, not Jim Leyland Jr.
3. The Tigers need to have an emphasis on fundamentals in spring training. Nobody is suggesting boot camp here, but a focus on the fundamentals of the game, especially base running, is a must. I am not sure the Tigers have taken enough advantage of spring training for this in recent years.