In one word.
This was an extremely smart move by owner Mike Ilitch. Dombrowski has been the mastermind general at crafting a competitive team on the field year in and year out. Leyland, his gritty Lieutenant. Both men have done their duty and have helped transform Tiger baseball by their mere presence. Dombrowski in a more soft, behind-the -scenes, business sense and Leyland as a charged spitfire, yearning to win the post season and teach the game of baseball.
Many do not think that this contract extension will turn out to be a great move. I disagree. Many do not like Leyland or his style of coaching, or something about him. What? Why? Sometimes he seems to mumble on tv interviews or is not always gracious to the media, but I’m telling you, Leyland is the man for this job. He’s a Tiger, through and through. We should be loyal to him for all he has helped this organization achieve. He took us out of one of our worst periods in team history into being competitive and league respected. Before Leyland, star players rarely set foot in Detroit. Remember Juan-B-Gone? We couldn’t pay him enough to stay here. He even chose Cleveland over the Motor City! Since Leyland, we have had star caliber players like Pudge, Sheffield, Jonse-y, Cabrera, Ordonez, Guillen, and much more. Do you really think that those players would have had that kind of faith in any other man’s system here in Detroit?
Leyland knows baseball. He was groomed in the Tiger’s minor league system, was a fan growing up as a kid near Toledo. HE WANTS TO BE HERE. THIS IS HIS DREAM JOB. Don’t underestimate these facts. He will and does work hard for this organization. He is a good coach and a World Series Winner. He led us to the World Series. Wasn’t that a great achievement? Let him do his ‘thang.
In the same realm, Dombrowski elevates his teams. He is also a hard worker. He does his research. He puts the proper people in the proper positions and puts his rust in them. He knows that a great organizations needs to build systems. Minor League systems. Scouting systems. Front Office systems. Dombrowski has done a superior job over the past decade restoring the roar.
Mike Ilitch did a great deed for the organization with this contract extension. He has once again proven his savvy business sense. By the timing of this extension, he has both rewarded these two men for doing fine job and scooped them up before another franchise can scoop them up.