Tigers owner Mike Ilitch silenced questions about the job security of his leadership team by announcing extensions for manager Jim Leyland and president and general manager Dave Dombrowski today. It’s a move toward stability and, Ilitch hopes, the Tigers’ first World Championship since 1984.
“Dave has built a solid foundation for this organization and assembled competitive teams that give us a chance to win year in and year out,” Ilitch said.
Dombrowski’s top assistants - assistant GM Al Avila, special assistant David Chadd, VP of player personnel Scott Reid and legal counsel John Westhoff - also received contract extensions. That continuity helps the front office team work effectively, Dombrowski said.
“I think it’s extremely important,” he said on a conference call. “They’re very knowledgeable, they’re hard-working, they’re loyal.”
But don’t confuse continuity with an aversion to change. Dombrowski says the Tigers rely on more statistical analysis now than they did a five or ten years ago. Mike Smith and other executives supplement scouting reports with numbers for balanced evaluations.
“We don’t rely on them as much as other people do, but there’s all different types of statistical analyses available,” Dombrowski told reporters. “I think everybody has grown through the use of computers and the use of scouting reports, having access to them. It’s at your fingertips any time, anywhere you go.”
Though Dombrowski’s top assistants obtained extensions and the GM himself is locked up through 2015, Leyland’s coaches did not get extensions and the manager obtained a one-year extension. However, Dombrowski said Leyland did not ask for more job security than he was offered.