Postseason play has begun for Major League Baseball and despite an expanded 16-team field this year, the Detroit Tigers are omitted from October action and left to pick up the pieces from yet another failed season. However, the passing of this past summer does offer the promise of a new beginning come 2021.
The main focus in recent days has been on Detroit’s search for a new manager to lead the team into the next stage of the “rebuild”. At the same time, the team appears to be trimming some fat from its staff and Willi Castro is Emily Waldon’s Rookie of the Year for the team. But first things first, let us sort out the leadership conundrum heading into next season.
Who takes Gardenhire’s place?
The biggest buzz on the Tigers’ Twittersphere since the season expired on Sunday has been the question of who takes the helm of a fledgling Tigers team that has some future promise, but also has a long way to go before producing on that potential. One of the most important positions in the franchise is the manager — the person who leads the team in the dugout, the locker room and in the press scrum. So who do the Tigers turn to steer them back to the promised land?
According to the Detroit Free Press’ tweet posted above, the franchise is in a bit of a desperate situation and are willing to give a second chance to a pair of former skippers who were involved in two of the biggest scandals of 21st century professional baseball. According to Evan Petzold, both former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and former Red Sox manager Alex Cora are both being considered by the front office brass for the position.
Evan Woodbury over at MLive also confirmed that the two disgraced coaches are among the names the front office is rummaging through in search of the next captain of the ship. General manager Al Avila offered the following quote.
“I have them on my list. Obviously, the cheating scandal is not a good thing. Once their suspensions are over, they’ll be free to pursue their careers.”
That said, Avila indicated that there is no general sense of urgency in their search and that the team will do its due diligence in conducting its survey.
Avila on manager search: "We're not in a rush. We're kind of taking our time with it and checking everything out."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) October 2, 2020
The search will likely be far and broad, according to Jason Beck’s tweet on Friday. Both experience managers and neophytes will be considered, even candidates minimal prior coaching experience. You would think that Avila would have learned from the Brad Ausmus experiment, but you would be wrong.
Avila said Tigers will consider former managers and first-timers. The latter category would most likely be current coaches. Only category he ruled out are former players who haven't coached anywhere.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) October 2, 2020
Tigers making cuts to scouting staff
While the franchise searches for its newest field general, the front office decided to trim some — presumably — excess fat from its scouting corps, as reported by Jason Beck on Friday.
Tigers making adjustments in baseball operations, Al Avila confirmed. Will not renew the contracts of some pro scouts. I've heard the total was seven.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) October 2, 2020
Up to seven scouts per the report will be out of the job in Detroit when their contracts expire and there has been no explanation of how their contributions will be replaced or how the move improves the organization. A large proportion of MLB clubs have made similar moves over the past couple of years — especially more recently during the COVID-19 pandemic — so the Tigers are not alone in streamlining this portion of the staff.
Willi Castro is Tigers’ Rookie of the Year
Old friend Emily Waldon at Baseball America declared Willi Castro as the Detroit Tigers’ Rookie of the Year for 2020. In her article, she offered a quote from one National League scout that illustrates what he has to offer from a physical standpoint.
“He’s sneaky tall. You don’t expect him to be that big until you get up on him. That’s when you use that projection of his swing path that you saw as a young kid, and then seeing it later. I didn’t get a chance to see him all the way, progression-wise, but you were able to see how that strength translated into what it is.”
While Castro is a shortstop by trade, the 23-year-old played his traditional spot as well as second base, third base and as a designated hitter. The switch-hitter from Puerto Rico batted .349/.381/.550 with six home runs in 36 games this summer to lead all Tigers rookies in overall performance, as exemplified by his 1.3 fWAR for 2020.
Around the horn
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