Detroit sports fan like their sports stars gritty to match the blue-collar feel of the Motor City. After all the fans insisted the city take down a mural of Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman because his face was touched up. Down it came and up went a mural showing all of Yzerman’s facial scars. Fans were happy. Former Tigers player Don Kelly was that sort of player and could be a solid hire for the Tigers.
Don Kelly played 544 games for the Tigers from 2009-14 mostly as a utility player. Kelly is not known for his heroic moments, yet is beloved by Tigers fans to this day. In the four years since Kelly’s playing days ended. The 40 year old has skyrocketed up the coaching ranks, currently serving as the bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With Ron Gardenhire’s sudden retirement from the Tigers managers job Don Kelly “baby!” could be a solid choice to take over. Kelly started his post baseball career as a scout for the Detroit Tigers in 2017. A year later he was the first base coach for the Houston Astros. Now as mentioned a bench coach for the Pirates.
That is three big promotions in just four years. What makes Kelly valuable is his insight into multiple facets of the game, from a scout to a bench coach. Kelly knows many of the young players within the organization, as well as understands analytics and can evaluate talent.
While Don Kelly only lacks manager experience his overall resume is solid and on par for a job opening. One more thing that I believe should be noted is that Kelly during his playing career played every position on the baseball field. So he knows what he’s talking about.
At just 40 years old Kelly is able to relate to younger players. He could be perfect to lead the Detroit Tigers out of the rebuild and back into contention. Also worth noting the Tigers general manager Al Avila said that he intends to interview former and currently suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch for the managers spot. Could he bring Don Kelly to Detroit to be his bench coach?
That could set Kelly up nicely for when he does get a managers shot.