What's old is new again ... kind of. The Toledo Mud Hens announced on Monday that former Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon had been named the team's manager for the 2016 season. The decision comes after long-time manager Larry Parrish announced his retirement, prompting a two month-plus search.
McClendon was initially hired on by the Tigers as the team's bullpen coach when former manager Jim Leyland took over the team, but was named Detroit's hitting coach in 2007. He served as acting manager from that time until 2013, as the Tigers didn't have an official bench coach until the arrival of Gene Lamont.
After the 2013 season, McClendon and the Tigers parted ways and he was soon hired by the Mariners to take over the team as their manager. He remained in Seattle through the 2015 season until the team fired him in October following a 76-86 season. McClendon brings seven years of major league experience as a manager to the Tigers' Triple-A club.
The Mud Hens are coming off a rough year with poor performance all-around, largely to blame because of the depreciated staff from the Tigers' poor season. Through trades in the summer at the July 31 deadline, the Tigers were able to recuperate their staff to some degree for the 2016 season.
In order for the Mud Hens to get back on track they're going to need to do more than hope for the best with McClendon. The Tigers have worn down their farm system in recent years and 2015 was especially rough. However, McClendon still has quite the undertaking if he's going to help stabilize the Triple-A team.
Part of that involves the Tigers making the right moves that will allow Toledo to adequately develop its own players. As a Triple-A team, most players should have reached the level where they're of use to its major league club, but that hasn't been the case of late. If anything, the last two years have done more harm than good to the organization's farm system.
Such is the life in the minors, though, and at some point it's going to happen. But if McClendon can finagle his way around the Mud Hens' issues, the entire organization will be the better for it in the long run. He has a positive long-standing relationship with a team, and has given Tigers fans multiple memories that most will not forget. And once again, no base is safe from McClendon's good graces.
This video may be from when he was with the Pirates, but hey, it still never gets old.