Jim Leyland is one of the great managers – and managing personalities – in MLB history. He won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, he led the Tigers to the World Series in 2006 and he was a three-time Manager of the Year. He was adored by players and fans alike, including Scott Ferrall, who believes the game is simply not the same without Leyland.
“I appreciate the compliment, but it’s time for other people,” Leyland said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We’re very fortunate to have Brad Ausmus in Detroit. He’s a great young manager coming up. I look back at myself as a young manager, and he’s doing a great job there.”
Ausmus, 47, led the Tigers to the playoffs in his first year as manager in 2014. He went 74-87 last season but is 24-26 this season. A sub-.500 record, yes, but just four games back in the AL Central.
“It was time to move on and turn it over to someone else,” Leyland said. “I miss the players, I miss the competition, but I don’t miss all the travel. I’m 71 years old. That was long enough. I managed 33 years – 22 of them in the majors. That was long enough. It was time to turn it over to somebody else. But I love the game. I have a great passion for the game, as you know, but it’s in good hands. The game’s in good hands. There’s going to be a lot of great races this year.”
Four of six division leaders lead their respective divisions by two games or fewer, including the Royals, (28-22), who lead the Indians by 1.5 games.
“If you look at the Central division, we’re all bunched up there right now with Cleveland, Chicago and the Tigers and Kansas City,” Leyland said. “Kansas City just caught a couple bad breaks here recently with (Mike) Moustakas going down (with a torn ACL).”
Only the Cubs (35-14) and Giants (32-21), who lead the NL Central and NL West by 6.5 and 4.5 games, respectively, have some breathing room in their divisions.
“I think it’s going be a very, very interesting year in baseball,” Leyland said. “I think whoever said that they wanted parity, they got it. You look at all of the divisions, I think it’s going to be absolutely fantastic. So I think baseball is in good hands.”