Leyland hopeful, but return not set in stone

Leyland hopeful, but return not set in stone

Leyland hopeful, but return not set in stone
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said during this postseason that he wants to return next season. His boss, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, said last week that the Tigers want him back. And yet there's still no clarity over Leyland's managerial future.

The end of the Tigers' season on Sunday night with a World Series sweep at the hands of the Giants didn't help that, other than to start the timetable on a decision.

When asked if he expects to be back next season, Leyland was noncommittal.

"I don't really know that," Leyland said. "We're going to talk about some things in a day or so, and I'm sure they'll have some type of an announcement. But tonight's not the night for that."

The uncertainty could be a negotiating tactic for either side, or it could be a sign that there's something left to be addressed, whether it's the coaching staff or the terms of the deal.

Asked whether he wants to be back, Leyland paused.

"I like to manage, you know?" Leyland said. "Contrary to what some people think, I think I'm pretty good at it. A lot of people don't agree with that. I'm not the best, and I'm not the worst.

"I think that, since 2006, we've changed the culture around here. We've been in two World Series in the last seven years. That's not bad."

All that Leyland would commit to is that he won't be managing another team. If he doesn't return to the Tigers, he'll be done.

"I'm not looking, in any way, shape, or form, to go anyplace else," Leyland said. "This is my last stop."

Leyland is finishing up a one-year contract he signed last August. All year long, his chances at an extension seemingly hinged on his team winning another American League Central title.

The division title was taken care of four weeks ago. The contract situation still lingered.

Before Sunday's game, Leyland was asked about his relationship with Dombrowski. While his answer was positive, it still reinforced the uncertainty.

"I think we have a great relationship," Leyland said. "I don't think there's any question about that. We both have one thing in common: We want to win. I don't think there's anybody better at putting a team together than Dave Dombrowski, and hopefully he feels that I'm the guy to manage it."