Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia could be a possible candidate for the Tigers' vacancy at manager. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Detroit — The last time the Tigers went shopping for a manager, there was just one target — one name Dave Dombrowski had to have to replace Alan Trammell and help restore faith in a franchise that had tied an American League record for losses in a season.
So in the fall of 2005, Jim Leyland hopped in his car, drove up from Pittsburgh, said all the right things — and the deal was done, in a hurry.
This time around, it’s oh, so different.
This appears to be a wide-open job search, following Leyland’s surprise retirement Monday morning, after eight years on the job.
Expect the Tigers, still, to act with urgency — given there are other marquee teams looking for a manager, namely the Cubs, Reds and Nationals.
It’s tough, now, to peg a single favorite for the Tigers gig.
But coming up with a bag of candidates, well, that’s an easy task.
Candidates to watch
* Manny Acta, 44: He wants back in, after three sub-.500 years in Washington, and three more in Cleveland. His Indians tenure fizzled fast, as he lost the clubhouse — a point driven home by the team’s resurgence this year, under Terry Francona.
* Brad Ausmus, 44: The ex-Tigers catcher — who’s as bright as they come; he did attend Dartmouth — is one of the hottest names out there, despite his lack of experience. He’s believed to be looking for the right gig, not any gig. Detroit qualifies there.
* Dusty Baker, 64: Recently out as the skipper of the Reds, he’s most experienced, with 20 years under his belt. He’s never won a World Series, though, and he has a reputation of disregarding the health of some high-power arms (Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, etc.).
* Tom Brookens, 60: He worked his way, patiently, up the Tigers’ food chain, with stops in Single A and Double A before joining Detroit’s staff in 2010. He was believed to be Leyland’s heir apparent. Double bonus: It’d take him out of the third-base coach’s box.
* Kirk Gibson, 56: The first name that came to mind Monday morning, but it’s not likely. The Tigers legend is under contract as manager of the Diamondbacks. Plus, there remain ill feelings between him and Dombrowski, stemming from the Trammell treatment.
* Ozzie Guillen, 49: One of two men on this list who’s a World Series-winning manager, he also has close ties to Miguel Cabrera — and can bond with the Latin players. But his tenure in Miami was so disastrous, you have to wonder if he gets a second chance.
* Torey Lovullo, 48: Another up-and-comer, and with the Red Sox job now blocked for the foreseeable future, the ex-Tiger might explore other opportunities. This would take time, though, as the Boston bench coach has a World Series to think about first.
* Dave Martinez, 49: For one reason or another, he hasn’t landed a managerial gig yet. If you can’t have Joe Maddon — and let’s be honest, you can’t — his bench coach with the Rays might be the next-best thing. Maddon’s been trumpeting him for a long time.
* Don Mattingly, 52: This one is intriguing. He’s still technically manager of the Dodgers, and they supposedly want him back — but he’s not interested in another one-year deal, so if a better opportunity comes along, he’ll take the first flight out of LAX.
* Lloyd McClendon, 54: Another member of Leyland’s staff who will get an interview, he has five years’ experience — all with the Pirates. Tigers fans long have wanted him gone as hitting coach, though this hardly is the way they envisioned.
* Cal Ripken Jr., 53: There’s no more outside-the-box scenario than the Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop, who made headlines recently when he said he wanted to get more involved in the game — potentially as manager. There wouldn’t be a riskier hire than him.
* Mike Scioscia, 54: He’s got a World Series under his belt, and also a contract with the Angels that, amazingly, runs all the way through 2018. He’s had issues with GM Jerry Dipoto, though; thus his name always comes up when talking marquee jobs.
* Eric Wedge, 45: Recently out as Mariners manager — on his own terms; the team wanted him back — he had a decent seven-year run in the AL Central, with the Indians from 2003-09. His health is a bit of a concern, though. He suffered a stroke this season.