Jim Leyland announced that he is stepping down as the manager of the Detroit Tigers in a press conference on Monday, but said the he will still remain in the organization as a member of the front office.
The 68-year-old told reporters that his "fuel is low," and that if he would have returned as manager of the Tigers, it would have been "for the wrong reasons." Leyland wanted to be fair to the organization with his decision, stating:
"I could get through this next year but it wouldn't be fair...it's a lot more than writing out a lineup and being happy go lucky. It's time to turn that over to somebody else. I'm proud to do it. I'm glad to be able to do it.. ... I've made a lot of money. I'm not going to just take a paycheck unless I have the fuel to do the job. I've never taken a paycheck I don't think I've earned."
Leyland told Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski of his decision on Sept. 7, and Dombrowski only informed owner Mitch Illitch of Leyland's decision. Leyland did not tell Tigers players until after the ALCS, wanting the team to focus on winning the AL Pennant and not on their manager's future.
Dombrowski had kind words for Leyland, telling reporters:
"On behalf of the entire Detroit Tigers organization, we thank Jim for everything he has done for this franchise over the past eight seasons. Jim's tenure will be looked back on as one of the great eras in Tigers history; an era that included two World Series appearances, four ALCS appearances in eight seasons, three division titles and two American League pennants. It has truly been an honor to work with one of the great managers in the history of the game."
Leyland said that he would share his opinion with Dombrowski regarding a new manager if asked, but will not be directly involved with the manager search. He envisions a strong future for the Tigers and whoever manages the team next season:
"I think I still have a chance to get a World Series here. It's in good hands. We're just changing the guard a little bit. That's all we're doing. Somebody's going to inherit a good team."
Detroit has reached the ALCS three consecutive seasons, and will return most of their key contributors in 2014.