The Detroit Tigers’ search for a new manager is slowly coming to a close. After starting with over 50 candidates to replace former skipper Brad Ausmus, the Tigers are down to 10 finalists, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Heyman reports Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez is one of those 10, along with Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire, former Brave manager Fredi Gonzalez, Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing.
Of those names, Martinez is the only new addition. He has served as Joe Maddon’s bench coach since 2008, first with the Tampa Bay Rays and now with the Cubs. Martinez has interviewed for several job openings in the past, including with the Cubs prior to Maddon’s hiring and with the Los Angeles Dodgers before they chose current manager Dave Roberts.
Given Maddon’s success in both Tampa and Chicago, many think Martinez is long overdue for a managerial gig. Maddon himself praised his bench coach earlier this month, saying, “He belongs in the group. I know all these people being considered, and I promise you our guy matches up with every one of them.” Martinez was also heavily endorsed by Evan Longoria and other Rays players after Maddon’s departure to Chicago.
The biggest drawback to Martinez’s otherwise excellent profile is a lack of experience. He was hired by the Rays as a minor league instructor in 2006, and has only been a bench coach since 2008. He has no managerial experience at any level, something the Tigers appear to be looking for in their new skipper. Martinez and Maddon have also proven themselves fallible with several in-game miscues this postseason.
One person that we should not expect to be in Detroit next season is Gabe Kapler. While he drew plenty of support from some within the Tigers organization — presumably the analytics staff — for his saber-friendly mentality, multiple local writers have reported that Kapler did not interview for the job. Sorry, Brandon.
While Martinez and Kapler would be far more intriguing choices, odds are the Tigers’ new manager will be a familiar face. Fredi Gonzalez was mentioned as a “favorite” for the job earlier this week, and Ron Gardenhire interviewed with Detroit in 2013 before they hired Ausmus.