We’ve all had a weekend to digest the news that A.J. Hinch is now the manager of the Detroit Tigers. While there remain some concerns about his judgement and leadership ability based on the Houston Astros cheating scandal, reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. Most pundits seem to agree that general manager Al Avila and the Tigers were handed a gift here, and our poll of BYB readers reveals a similar sentiment.
As of Sunday afternoon, 78 percent of respondents were in favor of the Hinch hire, while seven percent were ambivalent and 15 percent not in favor of the decision to varying degrees. Well over 50 percent of respondents were strongly enthusiastic, expressing no real reservations about the move.
By and large the staff here at Bless You Boys agrees. There are some caveats expressed, but overall we feel this was a much-needed break for the club, at a crucial period when the rebuilding effort has stalled a bit and the major league club has shown little overall progress over the past few seasons.
This weeks question: How do you feel about A.J. Hinch as the Tigers new manager?
Peter: Feel like running drunk and naked through my neighborhood in celebration.
Ashley: I don’t love the move from the point of view of the cheating scandal, but I’m resigned to it. I’m very much looking forward to seeing who he brings on as a hitting coach and most importantly as a pitching coach, those are by far the more interesting hirings for me.
Adam: I voted in our Fan Poll that I approve of the hiring, with some some reservations. The guy brings so much to the table but you just can’t ignore the fact that he’s just now coming out of his probationary period. Nonetheless, I’m cautiously optimistic for the future of the team with one of the better baseball minds at the helm.
Ashley: I also selected “yes with reservations” as I still wanted Quatraro, but they didn’t even interview him.
Zane: I’m with you all. I’m curious what you all would say to fans who are saying they are ready to root against him and give up their fandom on his hire, because I’ve definitely seen a few of them out there and know a couple quite well.
Adam: Some people just want to watch the world burn, Zane.
Brady: I honestly don’t have any reservations for a few reasons. First and foremost, he’s served his time. His punishment is over and he deserves another chance. Second, he was clearly against the cheating to begin with — even if he didn’t do everything in his power to stop it. But above all else, he has made it abundantly clear that he’s remorseful and regrets it all, and he’s really the only one that was involved that seems earnest about that (and not just because they got caught).
With that out, I want to just marvel at how the Tigers had the perfect set of circumstances between Gardy stepping down at just the right time and Hinch’s suspension ending right in line with each other. The team had an elite manager with a proven track record of developing young players — and a former Tiger at that — fall into their laps and they DIDN’T MESS IT UP!! It’s truly reassuring that, after everything, they’re still capable of making good baseball decisions. Maybe Hinch won’t be the one who leads us to our next World Series. Maybe he throws an alley-oop for the next guy (or gal), but either way, I don’t see how the hire could possibly hurt the team from a development standpoint as the final years of the rebuild approach.
Ashley: I don’t know that I agree being suspended for an abbreviated 60-game season is “serving his time” tbh, but I’m just a grump.
Brady: That’s fair, but losing the whole calendar year and his old job was the real punishment imo. And they obviously couldn’t have foreseen this wonky year when they handed down the suspensions.
Rob: I think it’s a home run hire. The Tigers went out and got a manager with a hell of a résumé who checks just about every box you could have. Postseason experience? Hinch has a title and another World Series appearance under his belt. A winning pedigree? His Astros won nearly 60 percent of their games with him in the dugout. Experience working with a statistically advanced front office? The Astros have been leading baseball on that front for years now, and Hinch’s time in Houston could prove quite useful for the Tigers, who have tried to emulate the ‘Stros in several areas. Hinch certainly deserves scrutiny for his involvement (or lack of resistance) with the Astros’ cheating scandal, but I think the claims we have seen that Hinch “lost his clubhouse” are vastly overblown.
Adam: On the “losing the clubhouse” point, I think Hinch will have far more control in Detroit than he did in Houston — at least when it comes to the topic of keeping the team clean of trouble. He should also have a lot more autonomy than Ausmus and Gardenhire before him, so this is his chance to prove himself.
Rob: I think the cheating scandal is a unique situation that won’t have any effect on his tenure in Detroit, other than the questions media members may ask him.
Adam: I’m looking forward to seeing that prediction come to fruition.
Brandon: Yeah I’m very happy with it. He was available to hire, and he was absolutely the candidate the Tigers really needed, so I’m just really pleased he fell in their laps as I was certain he was going to Chicago. As Hinch himself has said in interviews, the baggage is his own, it’s not the Tigers. I think he’s been the most contrite and direct about the scandal and the shame and embarrassment it brought to him and his family. If I had concerns that he might promote a scheme to cheat here, I wouldn’t be remotely interested in letting him near the franchise, but I do not have any concerns on that front.
Does he deserve another shot? No, deserve has got nothing to do with it. He’s widely regarded as one of the better baseball minds out there, and he combines old and new school in a way that makes him perfect for a young Tigers team.
Getting A.J. Hinch, who understands intimately how a modern, successful org works from the front office, player development, and coaching perspectives, and has both youth and tons of big game experience on his side, is a big win. He should be an asset on multiple fronts and will probably have an even bigger stamp on whatever the future holds here than he did in Houston. He also has all the motivation in the world to redeem himself and lead another team to success. Couldn’t be happier with a managerial hire, despite some other candidates who were pretty intriguing as well.
Patrick: I love it, as I said after the poll in the comments.