As soon as Jim Leyland retired, Detroit Tigers fans start speculating about the possibility of Kirk Gibson returning to the Tigers. But according to reports by AZcentral.com, Gibson is happy right where he is.
In sunny Arizona.
Upon hearing about the opening in Detroit, Diamondbacks general manager Derrick Hall went to talk to his manager about whether he was interested in the Tigers job.
I had a conversation with him first thing this morning,” Hall said. “My first inclination was to say I would not grant permission (for the Tigers to interview Gibson) because we want him to stay here. But I asked him, ‘If that’s what you desire, to go interview, that’s different.’ But he said he wants to stay here. That’s all we needed to hear. He’s not going anywhere.”
Gibson’s contract extends only through next season. The Diamondbacks have two options but have yet to exercise them. Fueling hope of a return to the Detroit Tigers.
He’s committed; he’s a loyal guy,” Hall said. “He’s under contract. He likes it here. Of course, I think he would have liked his options exercised, but he also knows he could be here the next 20 years. That doesn’t mean that he’s not going to be here after next year because we didn’t exercise those next two years. He has enough confidence in himself to know that he could still get extended or still get renewed.”
There were hopes that Kirk Gibson would want to return to the Tigers as manager but it seems he is happy in Arizona and for good reason. The Diamondbacks finished last when Gibson took over midway through 2010. But since then have been in contention for the NL West, finishing second to the LA Dodgers this season.
Even considering the recent success, putting Gibson with a high payroll, superstar laden roster like the Detroit Tigers would be a complete wild card. Gibson’s intense in your face style is in stark contrast to Jim Leyland’s laid back approach and it would be hard to gauge how that would affect players like Prince Fielder.
In short, Kirk Gibson being unavailable may be a blessing in disguise for the Tigers who already all but ruined one relationship with a famous alumnus.