It looked like the perfect fit.
When legendary manager Jim Leyland retired from his spot on the bench it only seemed natural the Detroit Tigers would turn to Kirk Gibson as his predecessor. He grew up in Michigan (still has a home there), played for the Tigers before becoming a broadcaster and later, bench coach with the club.
They have the star power to sell tickets. That could be one reason the Tigers don’t have an interest in Kirk Gibson.
Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Derrick Hall squashed those rumors saying their manager is staying put despite the widespread speculation.
“He wants to stay here,” Hall told AZCentral.com. “He’s not going anywhere. That’s all we needed to hear.”
Many are curious why Gibson wouldn’t give the Tigers more consideration if there is a mutual interest. Detroit narrowly missed making the World Series with an established lineup and pitching staff deeper than what what he has here in Arizona. Further, the Diamondbacks didn’t pick up his option which would have extended his deal through 2016. “Gibby’s” contract is set to expire at the end of next season. Some believe he may not make it that far if the club stumbles out of the gate following their late-season collapse this past summer.
So why doesn’t this seemingly perfect marriage seem imminent?
“It’s not like the Tigers need a big-name guy to sell tickets,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com during his weekly interview with Brad Cesmat. “They’ve got the big-name people on the field. The Miguel Cabrera’s and Prince Fielder even though he had a horrible October. Justin Verlander. Max Scherzer. They have the star power to sell tickets. That could be one reason the Tigers don’t have an interest in Kirk Gibson.”
Former Tigers catcher Brad Ausmus and current hitting coach Lloyd McClendon have been frequently mentioned as potential replacements for Leyland who finished .500 or better in six of his eight seasons with Detroit.