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With Detroit in dumps, are we seeing the last of Jim Leyland?

Big League Stew

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Bobby Cox plans to hang 'em up at the end of the year.

So does Lou Piniella.

Might Jim Leyland join them to make a perfect triumvirate of managers who have won one World Series apiece to be done in 2010?

It remains to be seen.

The Detroit Tigers skipper's contract goes through 2011, but the mounting frustration in Motown makes you wonder if he'll be back for another season. Visit Twitter or the comment section of any Tigers blog during a game this year and witness invectives toward Leyland that we haven't seen since the '08 team started 0-7 and firejimleyland.com was ready to pounce into action.

Not that Detroit fans don't have a reason to seethe. On July 7, the Tigers' record stood at 46-37 and the team led the AL Central by one game. But they've gone 7-18 in the month since and now trail the first-place Chicago White Sox by nine games with 54 remaining. And while they've been horrid on the road all season, they just dropped three of four games to the White Sox at Comerica Park.

It looks like they're done, so does that mean that Leyland is also?

Since coming to the Tigers in 2006, Leyland's overall record is 396-361. He's been at the forefront of a baseball renaissance in Detroit and took the '06 team to the World Series. He's long been considered one of the best managers in the game and you can't blame him for the injuries to Joel Zumaya(notes), Brandon Inge(notes), Carlos Guillen(notes) and Magglio Ordonez(notes) this season. And it's not as if he was dealing with a roster — high priced as it might be — that resembled the '27 Yankees to begin with.

Then again, Leyland was at the helm when the Tigers flopped to a 74-88 record in '08 and when the '09 team choked away a seven-game lead with 26 to play. This season will likely go down as another highly disappointing mark and you have to wonder if the 65-year-old Leyland has it in him to fight through a long winter of criticism. Or if he'll even be allowed back.

Leyland has been saying that he'll manage as long as his health will allow, so I don't think he'll voluntarily head for the door. And Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has been plenty loyal to Leyland in the past, so it's hard to see him stopping now and sending a fellow old-timer out into the streets.

But the hot seat is only going to get hotter if the Tigers continue to sink over the season's final two months. And by the time all is said and done, it might become apparent that Leyland's time has come, just like it has for Cox and Piniella.

What do you think? How much blame should Leyland shoulder for Detroit's recent slump?

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