Detroit Tigers: Brookens Will Be Much Better Third Base Coach Than Lamont

Josh Berenter@JBerenterCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28:  Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers and Third Base Coach Gene Lamont #22 looks on from the dugout against the San Francisco Giants during Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Comerica Park on October 28, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

On Oct. 30, Jim Leyland elected to return for his eighth season as manager for the Detroit Tigers, which means his staff will return next season as well.

But a couple of coaches will have different roles in 2013, which will pay dividends for the Tigers.

On Dec. 4, the Tigers announced that former third base coach Gene Lamont will become the bench coach, and former first base coach Tom Brookens will move across the diamond and coach third.

Lamont drew heavy criticism on multiple occasions during his career at third base for making incorrect decisions on whether or not to send players home.

Lamont often looked lost at third base, opting usually to go with his gut, and ignoring the situation in the game.

The biggest blunder the 65-year-old made was on the biggest stage. During Game 2 of the World Series, Lamont elected to send Prince Fielder home after a Delmon Young double. Fielder was out by a mile at home, and the Tigers were shutout in the game, 2-0.

Leyland insists the gaffe didn't seal Lamont's fate, but it may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

Enter Brookens.

Brookens spent most of his playing career donning the Old English "D" as an infielder for the Tigers from 1979 to 1988. He was named the Midwest League's Manager of the Year in 2007 after guiding Single-A West Michigan to a league title.

Brookens found his way back to the Tigers three years ago when he was named the first-base, outfield and base-running coach on Nov. 9, 2009.

He'll move to third base next season for the first time in his career, and infield coach Rafael Belliard will take over as first base coach..

Which will be a welcomed change.

Leyland said he's happy about the switch, and added that Lamont will be more valuable on the bench.

"I have the utmost respect for Gene's opinion," Leyland said to's Chris Iott. "This will be another mind for me to bounce something off of.

"Gene is as good as any third-base coach in the league. Terrific judgment. Terrific. But it might be time for him to come over to the bench with me and put Brookie out there."

Lamont has been Leyland's right-hand man his entire career and Leyland would much rather take blame than throw him under the bus. However, everyone knew that a change was needed at third base, and Leyland found a perfect way to do it.

He can move Lamont to the bench where his baseball mind will still be useful, and Brookens can take over at third, where it can't get any worse.