I’m not sure it has even registered yet. Ron Gardenhire, perennial foe of the Detroit Tigers, will be taking the helm in 2018. I imagine telling my 2003 self this, but I’d have to lead with the fact that Donald Trump is president. Anything after that would be extremely believable.
It was clear that the Tigers were trending toward a decision when FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman dropped an article outlining a large reduction in the candidate list, and that the finalists had all been interviewed. Of the remaining choices, it seemed like Fredi Gonzalez was receiving the most hype. In the end, it was Gardenhire who made the greatest impression, and he is now headed to Detroit.
Reactions on Tigers Twitter were overwhelmingly negative and the Detroit pundits were split on the decision. But the most important Tigers fans, the readers of this blog, actually view the move favorably by an almost two-to-one margin (at the time of writing this article).
Personally, I’m underwhelmed. From everything the organization has been preaching, they were looking to head in a new direction with new ideas and new data. Ron Gardenhire is a solid baseball hire, but he doesn’t match any of the rhetoric that has been put out by the front office. It’s not a terrible choice, but it does make me question where the Tigers are going.
Interestingly, the first sourced reason for why the Tigers went with Gardenhire was... analytics?
Source: In interview, #Tigers were impressed by Gardenhire’s openness to sabermetrics, which evolved during his tenure with #DBacks. @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 20, 2017
This smells of a team source telling people what they want to hear. There are a bunch of honest and good reasons to hire Gardenhire, but analytics is not one of them. The simple answer? He is a proven manager who won with middling talent in this very division. It’s not the flashiest hire, but you can understand the reasoning.
Snot rocket arm
Still trying to find Jake Arrieta's Exit Velocity on this one pic.twitter.com/CqtGme5rFX— Pitcher List (@ThePitcherList) October 19, 2017
Jake Arrieta was the only highlight in a miserable NLCS for the Chicago Cubs. Congrats to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who look extremely dangerous on their way to the World Series.
JV for all the marbles
Justin Verlander is once again pitching to save a team’s season. It’s just not the Tigers this time. Houston picked a horrible time to become allergic to scoring runs. They suddenly find themselves in a 3-2 hole with only Verlander separating them from the offseason. Still, you have to like their chances at least to even the series behind Verlander. Either way, Friday will make for some exciting playoff baseball.
Around the horn
The eight things the Tigers must solve this offseason. Hey, at least they already took care of the first one! The Tigers get a look at fresh faces on the farm. Division realignment after the eventual expansion could spell trouble for the Tigers. I was very open to the idea of a player manager. Twinkie Town gives their perspective on what the Tigers are getting in Ron Gardenhire. The Astros stopped hitting and then the Astros stopped winning. Giancarlo Stanton makes a lot of sense for the Red Sox. While I would prefer he stay in the National League, if this means he doesn’t go to the Cardinals, I’m in.