Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
Matt Walbeck has proven his worth over his three season in West Michigan, and I think the writing on the wall is clear; Walbeck's tenure in the Midwest League has come to an end. In reality, that's a good thing, because Walbeck has proven himself to be an excellent manager and worthy of taking on a bigger challenge at a higher level. It likely will be bittersweet for some, as everyone in West Michigan has enjoyed him being there, especially considering his success. But Walbeck has made no secret of his desire to eventually earn a job managing in the big leagues one day, and staying in West Michigan isn't going to get him any closer. With the dismissal of the Erie coaching staff, it likely opens up the perfect fit to give Walbeck the promotion he desires, while keeping him in the organization. Walbeck has certainly enjoyed being a member of the Tiger organization, but if he doesn't get the opportunity to move up after the 2006 season, he'll likely find himself with a new club in '07. So, the decision for the Tigers should be an easy one.
Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
I don't think there is any question that Matt Walbeck has earned a promotion up the organizational ladder. He has demonstrated an innate ability to bring his teams together and get the most out of them. Winning at the minor league level often seems secondary to overall player development, but Walbeck has managed to walk the fine line between the two; allowing players to develop their individual skills, and experience winning at the same time. However, if they organization could guarantee that he wouldn't leave as a result, the most intelligent decision would be to leave him right where he is. He is the perfect manager for this level, and the organization would likely benefit from leaving him in this role. His rah-rah, go get 'em mentality plays well with this age group, but would probably see it's effectiveness fade at higher levels. Understanding that the goal of every minor league manager is to take on a job like Jim Leyland's, Walbeck has certainly earned a promotion; but in the end, I think everyone -- including Matt -- would be better off if he stayed in West Michigan.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think Matt has earned the opportunity to move up. Granted, he has had older players for the better part of his tenure, but the fact that those players have meshed well together and the 'Caps have posted the records they have tells me he has a good handle on trying to keep things on an even keel throughout the long season. It will be interesting to see what happens in the offseason with all of the coaches in the system, because there are always changes, and I think the Tigers need to challenge Walbeck, or they could lose him to a team that's willing to give him that challenge.
Have your own opinion on the issue? Ready to talk about it? State your opinion on the Detroit Tigers Open Message Board and go head to head with the experts!