Joe McEwing is no stranger to teams in the early stages of a rebuild. In 2017 he served as bench coach to White Sox manager Rick Renteria, a position that gave him first hand experience with a team starting from scratch.
McEwing, a former utility player who spent time with the Cardinals, Mets, Royals, and Astros, has been a major league coach for the last five seasons with the White Sox. He has served as a third base coach and bench coach for the team. As a player he was well-liked by fans for the dedication and hustle he brought to the game, something Tigers fans would surely appreciate. If the team won’t make Don Kelly manager, Joe McEwing might be the next best thing.
He is not without managerial experience, either. Immediately following his 2008 retirement from baseball he became the hitting coach for the Charlotte Knights. In the offseason of that same year he became the manager for the White Sox Class A affiliate the Winston-Salen Dash, and was awarded the Manager of the Year for his first season with the team in 2009.
In 2011 he was promoted to manager of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights for a season, before joining the White Sox proper in his various coaching roles.
Over three seasons of minor league management his record was 223-196.
This won’t be his first time interviewing for a manager’s position. He has previously been interviewed for the big job with the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Twins. While he has said he is not actively looking for a job, he also said he won’t turn down phone calls. “My ultimate goal is to manage, but you know, if it happens, it happens. If not, it doesn't justify who I am as a person or as a baseball mind.”
Guess the Tigers came a-calling.
In McEwing’s favor is his awareness of the Tigers as an opponent, as well as his familiarity with the AL Central in general. Since he’s seen how a full rebuild looks up close with the current White Sox strategy, he would likely come in with a different outlook than a manager hungry for victory. This is not a management role that will be particularly rewarding on a wins front, but with the right candidate, it may be rewarding for other reasons. McEwing’s awareness of the limitations of a rebuilding team could make him a very smart fit for the position.
He is expected to be interviewed this week. The Tigers are hoping to announce the successful candidate before the end of October.