Jim Leyland Reflects On 2012 And The World Series, Discusses What The Tigers Will Be Looking For In Free Agency

November 2, 2012 – 8:30 am by Brad Gagnon

The Detroit Tigers fell flat on their faces in the World Series, but the team is still quite stacked and manager Jim Leyland is officially back after signing a one-year contract extension earlier this week. The veteran bench boss is confident that his team can bounce back, but he still seems baffled by some of the things that went on in 2012.

Jim Leyland joined Stoney and Bill on WXTY in Detroit to discuss the 2012 season, the disappointing World Series, what’s to come in the offseason and the closer situation for next year.

On the sometimes bumpy ride they had this season:

“It was a rough season, but it was just the fact that we had to stay after it. We took some hits, some of them justified, certainly, and some of them probably not. But it goes with it. It was probably a little bit more than usual this year but that’s OK. That’s how it goes. The thing with me is, I think sometimes you get frustrated when things aren’t going well, people are on you a little bit. But I think that’s the only part of it. I think you’re frustrated because the team wasn’t playing as consistent as I thought it would. For whatever reason we really couldn’t get in sync. And that was kind of frustrating, coupled with the fact that every other day you’re getting fired. … You just had to stay the course. And that’s the one thing that I’m proud of — I think we did stay the course.”

On if there’s anything he’d have done differently in the World Series:

“No. There was nothing in the series, I don’t think any managerial decisions during the game or anything, that came up that I didn’t do or did do. I think I pretty much managed that game. We tried to be a little more aggressive in the last game. Maybe we should have come out a little bit earlier being a little more aggressive, like trying to run a little bit. A lot of times if you’re not scoring runs you try to be a little bit more creative. But I thought we would score. … I thought we’d get some runs and we were just struggling to get them. … So you kind of just stay out of the way and if things aren’t going well then you push a little bit. But you really don’t know that’s going to happen in the first or second game of the World Series.”

On Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder not playing well in the World Series:

“When it’s a short series, things fluctuate real fast. You don’t really have much time as far as, you can go 0-for-6 in the first two games, and then all of a sudden you can get three hits, and then all of a sudden you’re 3-for-9. That really didn’t happen. So you never panicked about it because you thought they would do it. But it was everybody. That’s not the way we work in Detroit since I’ve been here. None of us did enough in the series to win it, and it was a freaky postseason, and particularly the second two rounds. … I never thought we would sweep the Yankees four straight and I never dreamed that the Giants would sweep us four straight. It almost ended up being like a blur. Boom, the Yankees series was over. Boom, the World Series was over.”

On if he’ll have some down time now:

“I don’t think that you ever totally get away from it. But it’s no pressure situations. I was laying in bed last night looking at the free-agent list. Are you getting away from it totally? No. But is it pressure? No. I was just going over the list to see what’s out there. Is there anything out there that might suit for the Tigers? So you’re still thinking about baseball, but I’m able to get away from it pretty good. I can turn the page pretty good. You gotta try to get away from it as soon as you can, because when you go to the World Series there’s not much offseason.”

On what they’re going to be looking for in the offseason:

“I think we probably need an outfielder somewhere. I think we try to get a little bit more athletic yet. Maybe somebody that can [bring] some speed and also a pretty good hitter. Obviously we really floundered against left-handed pitching this year, which I thought was — I thought we’d do OK. … I misread on Rayburn. I thought that he would be that extra right-handed hitter that would get us over the hump against left-hand pitching, but it just didn’t work out.”

On whether they need more guys that can be vocal leaders:

“We didn’t have a guy like Pence [who] gave a great speech, but Pence didn’t do much in the postseason. Evidently he gave a good rah-rah speech but he really didn’t do a whole lot. I’m not a big believer in that. Some of our guys’ personalities, they’re really not like that. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not intense. It doesn’t mean that you’re not giving an effort. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to win. … I think with Victor coming back, that’s just what’s going to happen. Because that’s kind of the way Victor is, and he’s still respected. I think that’ll fall into place pretty good. But you can’t assign something like that. I think it just has to happen, and it has to be a player. It can’t be a manager. I don’t have time to go out in the clubhouse every day before the game and give some type of a rah-rah speech. … It just happens with a player, but you can’t appoint somebody to do that.”

On who he envisions being the closer next year:

“I really have no idea as we speak. … I will say this: Benoit cannot take the toll of closer on a consistent basis. You have to watch Benny. I think he’s a terrific pitcher and he’s one of my favorites. I think he can part-time close. … One thing you have to remember about Valverde, you have to remember, he can take a beating. He can come back three, sometimes four days in a row. A lot of guys can’t do that and I don’t think Benoit is one of those guys that can do that. I think he can do it a couple days but then you’d have to get him off. I think right now it would probably be a combination.”

Listen to Jim Leyland on WXTY here

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Post a Comment