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Tigers sign Leyland through 2009

Tigers sign Leyland through 2009

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DETROIT -- The Tigers followed through with the first task on their offseason to-do list on Tuesday and signed manager Jim Leyland to a one-year extension, putting him under contract through 2009.

The move had been a subject of conversation since the final week of the regular season. The Tigers were interested in signing Leyland to a longer deal, but he told reporters a week ago that he preferred to add just one more year. Though he has said he's interested in managing beyond that, he doesn't want to put himself or the team in a contractual bind should he decide in the coming years that he wants to step away.

Leyland met with president/general manager Dave Dombrowski on Monday morning but didn't emerge with a deal only because owner Mike Ilitch first had to sign off. The one-year extension will probably become an annual October announcement.

"We are very happy with the outstanding job he has done and with the leadership he provides our organization," Dombrowski said of Leyland. "We look forward to Jim managing the Tigers for a long time."

Leyland owns a 183-141 record in two seasons at the helm of the Tigers, including 88-74 this year. Only three men won more games in their first two seasons managing the Tigers. Mickey Cochrane and Mayo Smith racked up 194 wins each in 1934-35 and 1967-68, respectively. Bob Scheffing earned 186 wins in 1961-62.

Over 16 seasons as a Major League manager, including stops in Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado, Leyland owns a 1,252-1,272 career record.

"I'm very grateful to Mr. Ilitch, Dave and the Tigers organization," Leyland said. "I have enjoyed my first two seasons as the manager, and I appreciate the tremendous fan support from all the great Tigers fans. I look forward to managing the Tigers for a long time."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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