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Detroit Tigers News: Is Ron Gardenhire’s future in question?

After six straight seasons managing 90-plus loss teams, the veteran manager might think twice about returning

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Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Losing is never fun, as Tigers fans have unfortunately had to learn the hard way these past few seasons. While there is more to the game than just the win-loss column, persistent futility can wear down a person’s pride, especially if they have spent their whole lives involved with the game.

Enter Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, who after having winning seasons eight out of his first nine years with the Minnesota Twins has now lost 90 games or more in his last six, including his first two in Detroit. Faced with the uphill task of navigating the team through an arduous rebuild, Gardenhire can expect to tack on another year or two to that list if he remains with the team.

Will Ron Gardenhire return?

The Tigers manager still has one year remaining on the contract he signed with the team in the 2017 offseason, and after a near-historically bad 2019 many are wondering if he has it in him to come back for more. For the time being, he states that he takes things “day-to-day” to get through the grind, though he does appear to have his eye on the long run and sees himself returning to finish off his contractual obligation.

On the other hand, one might ask if he even wants to be back as Evan Woodbery posits in this piece for The Detroit News. While the chances that general manager Al Avila terminates Gardy’s employment seem near nil, it is possible that the grizzled veteran might want to finally hang them up. More likely, he stays the course and finishes off at least one final season before heading off into the sunset to enjoy a well-earned retirement.

Nick Castellanos speaks out (a lot)

Speaking of the effects of losing, former Tiger Nicholas Castellanos has had quite the revival since being traded to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline. After a very mediocre showing for the Tigers this season, he has exploded offensively posting a .357 batting average with an impressive 1.122 OPS, cranking 11 home runs along with 20 RBI and 24 runs scored.

“When I got traded to the Cubs, it was like I was called up to the big leagues. I’m waking up excited to compete every day playing for something. It sucks when you’re 28 games out, and its June 4. There’s no way around that.”

That quote comes from this article by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, in which Castellanos claims that the Cubs’ focus on intangibles not covered by advanced metrics for his remarkable improvement. The logic is that there are no ways to quantify heart and hustle, though he also uses spray charts — which most would consider a form of “analytics” — to demonstrate how Comerica Park was limiting his numbers.

Castellanos went on to bemoan the Tigers failing to re-sign Torii Hunter after the 2014 season, citing his clubhouse presence and leadership as qualities that cannot be measured but were certainly felt by his teammates. At the end of the day, however, he acknowledges that professional baseball is a business, and all he can really do is just go out and play.

Arizona Fall League rosters announced

The rosters for the annual Arizona Fall League have been announced, and the Detroit Tigers organization will be sending seven players to participate. Those players include: right-handed pitchers Anthony Castro, Alex Lange and Wladimir Pinto; left-handed pitcher Trent Szkutnik; infielder Isaac Paredes; outfielders Jose Azocar and Derek Hill. For an overall view of the prospects being showcased in the league, this FanGraphs piece highlights who to look for on the six teams that comprise the league.

Award winners from the Eastern League

Jose Azocar and Matt Manning are both bringing home some metal after the 2019 Double-A Eastern League season. The former has won Rookie of the Year honors, while Mr. Manning was named Pitcher of the Year. Congratulations to both for their success, and fans and the front office alike certainly hope both continue their upward trajectories.

Florida State League canceled

Due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian making landfall in Florida, the remainder of the Florida State League’s season and playoffs have been canceled. While league championship games have been canceled in the past due to inclement weather — most recently back in 2017 due to Hurricane Irma — this appears to be the first instance of a complete shutdown in the face of Mother Nature’s fury. While it looks like the Sunshine State might avoid the worst of storm, it was probably the best decision to play it safe.

Around the horn

How the Detroit Tigers’ pitching hurts their offense. Detroit Tigers’ top prospects will not likely get called up. Blaine Hardy’s future in Detroit is murky. Niko Goodrum is weighing his options on returning in 2019. Tigers Minor League Report updates its prospect leaderboard. Who is the king of the soft-throwing lefties? The New York Yankees set the MLB record for most injuries in a season. Is cannabis better for athletes than painkillers?

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