Sports is a business of second chances, and sometimes more. The Detroit Tigers are in the market for a new manager with the retirement of Ron Gardenhire. Tigers general manager Al Avila said he is willing to consider two manager who are both suspended because of cheating scandals. From a national standpoint this could seem dicey. From an industry that is more forgiving it should be no surprise.
Alex Cora, who was fired as manager of the Boston Red Sox for his part in a cheating scandal that netted the Red Sox a World Series Championship is being considered by Avila and the Tigers front office. It was Cora who was also in Houston and spearheaded the Astros cheating scandal when they won the 2017 World Series.
A.J. Hinch who was the manager of the Houston Astros, has accepted his part in the cheating scandal that rocked Major League Baseball. Hinch was also fired by the Astros. Hinch said he understands he was the leader and remained silent as the cheating was going on.
Al Avila also said that he has a long list of names he will consider. Something of note, A.J. Hinch’s suspension ends when the World Series is over in late October. Al Avila said he will not open interviews until, you got it late October.
Another point of interest in A.J. Hinch is that he is widely respected inside baseball circles. Yes, he absolutely should have spoken up and come clean about the goings on with the Astros. But, Hinch’s work with a then rebuilding Astros team beginning in 2015 lead them to a championship.
The Detroit Tigers of today nearly mirror the 2015 Houston Astros. A.J. Hinch has said if he had to do it all again he would have put an end to the cheating. He did not making him a rather interesting figure in the Detroit Tigers managerial search.
Other names Al Avila is said to be pondering are Lloyd McClendon, former Marlins and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, Kansas City Royals third base coach Vance Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly,K.C. Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol, former Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond, New York Mets bench coach Hensley Meulens and Chicago White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing.
Of those managers only Hinch has lead a rebuilding team out of a rebuild into the World Series. Tigers fans, if A.J. Hinch is named manger from that standpoint he would be a very good hire. From an integrity standpoint I believe it would be a good hire as again Hinch has accepted responsibility for what went down in Houston.
Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila met with manager Ron Gardenhire in their usual pre-game meeting. It was then Gardenhire told Avila he was retiring effective immediately. Tigers bench coach Lloyd McClendon will manage the team for the remainder of the season. That said with a much improved minor league prospect pool the Detroit Tigers should have little problems hiring a good manager.
First off one thing I will not do is drop names and speculate who could be in the running for the sudden managerial opening. What I will do is explain why the Detroit Tigers will be able to attract a good solid manager.
As mentioned earlier, the Tigers prospect pool is an attraction on it’s own. Casey Mize, Spencer Torkelson, Tarik Skubal to name a few have the Tigers rebuild now moving along at a faster rate.
The fact that Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch publicly said he would spend money on high priced free agents the closer the prospects got to the major leagues also helps making the Detroit managers job attractive.
Ron Gardenhire did his job. He lost (as expected) a lot of games in his three seasons in Detroit. That was not the point. He was brought on board to get prospects up to major league playing standards. He did his job.
In my opinion, the next Detroit Tigers manager needs to be a person who can get the team to take the next step. That is the key. Gardenhire coached prospects to things the right way, now come the need to get the entire team on the same page and begin to win.
The Detroit Tigers opening will have it’s fair share of coach’s who will throw their names into the mix, because the Tigers have a history of spending money something Ilitch said he would do.
The key is for the Tigers to nail the hire. No former fan favorite player, nor a coach with a big name. The hire needs to be able to balance a largely young roster with some veterans sprinkled in and begin to move up the win/loss column.
Embed from Getty Images Doug Mientkiewicz, was fired October 31 after two season with the Mud Hens. Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila, cited discipline as the reason for the move without any elaboration. The Tigers made it clear they wanted someone who had experience in developing high-level talent . Enter Tom Price.
Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield, said “It was clear from the beginning that Tom Prince fit that mold perfectly, and we’re thrilled to have him lead our staff in Toledo.”
Price spent the last three seasons as the Major League bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, after serving as the club’s Minor League Field Coordinator in 2016.
What attracted Tigers front office to Price is his blend of Major and Minor League coaching experience which is well respected throughout baseball. With the Detroit Tigers preparing to send many top prospects to Toledo, a strong leader was needed.
People across baseball have noticed the young core of talented players the Tigers have built over the last few years. Price’s job is getting players to focus on playing fundamentally sound and winning baseball.
Last season, the Detroit Tigers hired former Pirates hitting coach Jeff Branson as the organization’s roving hitting instructor. Branson has received positive marks for his contributions in 2019. This is all setting up the porganization for post rebuild success.
Upon learning he was getting the Mud Hens manager job. Tom Price said, “This is a tremendously exciting time to be in the Detroit Tigers organization, especially playing a role in what’s grown to be a top-tier player development system.”
This is a very solid move for the Tigers to make. The Tigers are confident that Price’s leadership both in the clubhouse and on the field will be impactful and will prepare them to excel at the Major League level. Many around MLB applauded the move that can do nothing but prepare the team to lay the foundation of winning.
Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers brought in manager Ron Gardenhire to oversee the teams rebuild. Gardenhire, is known for his work with young baseball talent. Headed into year two of the rebuild the Tigers are bringing back the entire coaching staff.
Signed to a two year contract before the start of the season Ron Gardenhire and his staff were brought in to help the first wave of the Detroit Tigers prospects and prepare them for day to day play. Something he and his staff have tackled head-on.
The Tigers players love Gardenhire. They say the clubhouse has a close-knit chemistry. Something that has always been associated with Gardenhire. There is good reason for that. He is a players manager.
Ron and his coaching staff have been together since his days as the Minnesota Twins field boss. Players enjoy the staff’s hands on approach. He is still beloved in Minnesota to this day. He has endeared himself to the Tigers faithfuls as well.
In year two of the Detroit Tigers rebuild, another wave of prospects is expected to make the team out of spring training next season. They and the Tigers organization will lean into Gardenhire’s teachings. As many five prospects will be in Detroit before then end of next season.
Good prospects, good management and a good manager. That is where the Detroit Tigers are. Many of the franchises top prospects will begin to invade Comerica Park at some point next season.
Some will make the team. Others will get a look during the season. General manager Al Avila will count heavily on Gardenhire’s knowledge. As he will be the guy to tell them when a player is ready to make the jump from the minor’s to the majors.
When the dust settles on the Tigers rebuild. Ron Gardenhire and his staff very well could be out of the Motor City. But his finger prints will be all over the Tigers roster. For the better.
Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers rebuild is under way. Young players are in the lineup and others will be called up from the minor leagues throughout the season. General manager Al Avila, tabbed Ron Gardenhire as manager to over see the project.
Ron Gardenhire, a baseball lifer who has been there and done that. He is well respected around the league and all of his former players have nothing but glowing words and love for him. Given his work with young players it was a great hire by the Detroit Tigers.
There are plenty of young prospects in the Tigers system who will soon by the Motown. Under Gardenhire’s watch they will be ready for the daily challenges that each day presents. Former Detroit skipper Brad Ausmus seemed lost at times and unprepared other times.
Gardenhire, is a notorious stickler for doing things the right way and honoring the game of baseball and it’s history. He has gone on record as saying “we may or may not win a lot of games. But, I’ll tell you this we will be prepared.”
That is very good to hear. I feel the Detroit Pitching prospects will shine when they get to Comerica Park. Because Gardenhire will have it no other way. That should make Tigers fans happy. It is yet another reason to follow the team during this learning period known as a rebuild.