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Tigers' pitching coach Jeff Jones retires after 38-year career in baseball

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The Tigers start their search for a new pitching coach.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After 38 years working in the major leagues, the Detroit Tigers announced on Monday that pitching coach Jeff Jones has retired. In addition to the list of offseason priorities, the team has already begun the search for a new pitching coach. "Jonesy" has been the Tigers' pitching coach since July 3, 2011.

"I am grateful for the opportunity the Tigers have afforded me through the years and enjoyed working on Brad's staff and with Jim Leyland," Jones said in a team release. "There have been some great moments that I'll cherish especially being a lifelong Tigers fan. I've been contemplating this for a little while and at this point in my life I want to spend time with my family and grandchildren, and I am looking forward to it."

When it was announced by general manager Al Avila that manager Brad Ausmus would be returning in 2016, he also stated that it included the entire coaching staff. While in his capacity as the pitching coach, Jones oversaw the development of now-aces such as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and fostered the continuing growth of pitchers such as former Tigers Drew Smyly, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez, and David Price.

Jones was selected by Oakland in the 13th round of the June 1977 MLB Draft, and his pitching career spanned 11 seasons (1977-87). A Michigan native, Jones attended Southgate High School and helped lead his team to the Wyandotte League title in 1974. His professional coaching career began with the Tigers organization in 1989, when he served as the pitching coach at Single-A Fayetteville.

Jones spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Double-A London (1991-92) and one season as the pitching coach at Double-A Jacksonville (1996) before serving as the pitching coach at Triple-A Toledo for seven seasons (2000-06). He also served as the Tigers' bullpen coach before taking over the job as pitching coach in 2011.

"Jonesy has been a great influence on our pitchers, both the veterans and the younger arms, and was a solid complement to our big league coaching staff," Ausmus said via the release. "We respect his decision and wish him all the best."

While the Tigers now need to look for a new pitching coach, it gives the organization to appoint someone who fits the bill of being more attune to advanced sabermetrics. Not that that wasn't the case before, but the Tigers and Avila have repeatedly admitted the organization has been behind the game in utilizing higher statistics to their advantage.