Photo Credit: Associated Press
The Detroit Tigers have decided to bring on Ron Gardenhire as manager, after informing Brad Ausmus late in the season he would not be returning, the team announced today in a press conference. Many Tigers fans (which I am one of, unfortunately at times) will remember him from his thirteen seasons as the manager of the Minnesota Twins. During his thirteen-year stretch, from the 2003 season to the 2014 season, he managed the team to a record of 1,068-1,038. During his tenure as manager of the Twins, he did bring the organization six American League Central Division titles.
In 2016, Gardenhire joined the Twins front office as the assistant to the general manager where he stayed for the entirety of the season. This past season, he got to be in the dugout again with the Arizona Diamondbacks, helping Torey Lovullo adjust to his first managerial job.
Now after going over his résumé, he was able to win six division titles with young talent and a tight payroll. Gardy may very well be the man to shepherd the young talent coming up over the next few years. He gets in on the ground floor of a rebuild with little to no expectations from a fan base that should realize the state the team is in.
Personally, if you ask me I was hoping for Cora to pull a stunner and manage in Motown. However, I can’t blame him if he takes the Red Sox job. What I would like to see from Gardy is him giving young players the opportunity to play, such as Jeimer Candelario. Candy was productive (short sample size alert) during his 106 plate appearances hitting .330/.406/.468 in his twenty-nine games with the Tigers. The Tigers could benefit from having Gardenhire give Jeimer Candelario as much playing time as he can handle.
Best Case Scenario: Gardy can help mentor the influx of young talent and keep the veterans happy as the Tigers plod through this rebuild. In the incoming years, he develops those “winning intangibles” you hear those old baseball heads talk about and he ultimately leads the team to challenge for the postseason and hopefully challenge for the division along with the White Sox, Twins, and Indians.
Worst Case Scenario: Gardy is very maligned for the fan base as they call for a new manager after watching him waste the youngsters. After two years, we see players stagnate and not improve. Gardenhire starts putting out questionable lineups that don’t get young players regular at-bats. Which eventually leads to him being fired.
I hope nothing but the best for Gardenhire, and if he can be a players-coach and get the most out of his players, he will be beloved in Detroit. If he still has that fiery temperament and likes to get in the face of the umpires, he could be an entertaining manager to watch for the next few years.