USA Baseball announced today that Jim Leyland has been named the manager of Team USA for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Currently serving as a special assistant for the Detroit Tigers, Leyland, a three-time Manager of the Year Award winner, will make his international coaching debut for Team USA in the fourth installment of the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s a great honor to be named Manager of Team USA,” said Leyland. “I’m looking forward to working with USA Baseball on this challenge in my career. I’m excited to get started & flattered with this opportunity.”
“We could not be happier to have Jim Leyland serve as the manager of the 2017 U.S. World Baseball Classic team,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “His tremendous managerial success will produce immediate respect and rapport amongst the players and staff and we look forward to him leading Team USA to new heights in the World Baseball Classic.”
The U.S. is looking for its first World Baseball Classic title after a semifinal appearance in 2009 and two second-round exits in 2006 and 2013.
Leyland served as a Major League manager for 22 seasons, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-1996), the Florida Marlins (1997-1998), the Colorado Rockies (1999), and the Detroit Tigers (2006-2013). Leyland ranks 15th on the all-time wins list among Major League managers with 1,769 wins. He was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1990 and 1992 and the American League Manager of the Year in 2006. Leyland led the Florida Marlins to a World Series title in 1997 and the Detroit Tigers to two American League Championships in 2006 and 2012, before stepping down as manager after the 2013 season.
Leyland will be USA Baseball’s fourth World Baseball Classic Manager following stints by Buck Martinez (2006), Davey Johnson (2009), and Joe Torre (2013).
Joining Leyland on the coaching staff are Jeff Jones, Marcel Lachemann, Lloyd McClendon, Willie Randolph, and Alan Trammell. USA Baseball will look to finalize the coaching staff and U.S. roster over the next several months.
Lachemann and Randolph collectively hold nine years of international coaching experience and will join the staff as assistant coaches. Lachemann will be coaching with USA Baseball for the eighth time in 2017. He has served as the pitching coach in all three previous World Baseball Classics and was an assistant for the 2007 USA Baseball World Cup team and Beijing 2008 Olympic team, winning a gold medal and bronze medal respectively. Lachemann served as the manager for the then-named California Angels from 1994-1996 and currently serves as a special assistant to the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels.
Randolph will be coaching for Team USA for the third time and in his second World Baseball Classic (2013). Most recently he was the manager of the inaugural Premier12™ team that won a silver medal in 2015 for which he was named the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year. Randolph is a baseball veteran with 18 years of playing experience and 16 years of coaching and managerial experience. A six-time All-Star, he won back-to-back World Series titles as a second baseman in 1977 and 1978 for the New York Yankees and managed the New York Mets to a NL East division title in 2006.
Making their respective international coaching debuts for Team USA are Jones, McClendon and Trammell, who will serve as assistant coaches in 2017.
Jones, who most recently served as pitching coach of the Detroit Tigers from 2007-2015, pitched for the Oakland Athletics from 1980-1984, also spent time as a coach for the Tigers during the 1995, 1999-2000 and 2002 seasons. During his tenure as pitching coach with the Tigers, Justin Verlander (2011) and Max Scherzer (2013) both enjoyed CY Young Award winning seasons.
McClendon has 19 years of coaching experience at the major league level. The New York Mets drafted McClendon in 1980 and he spent time with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates prior to joining the coaching ranks with the Pirates in 1997. In seven years as the Detroit Tigers’ hitting coach from 2006-2013, a Detroit player won the American League batting title four times. He served as manager of the Pirates from 2001-2005 and the Seattle Mariners from 2014-2015. McClendon is currently the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tigers.
Trammell played his entire career as a shortstop with the Tigers from 1977-1996, for whom he was named the World Series MVP during their title run in 1984. He won three Silver Slugger awards and four Gold Gloves. He was also a six-time All-Star. Trammell served as the Manager of the Tigers from 2003-2005 and recently rejoined the organization as a special assistant in 2014. Trammell will make his international coaching debut for the red, white, and blue as an assistant coach in 2017.
The final WBC qualifying round will be held in September at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. and will feature teams from Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan. The winner of that tournament will join Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela in pool play at the 2017 event.