Since head coach Erik Bakich left the University of Michigan last week to take the head coaching job at Clemson, Detroit Tigers’ pitching coach Chris Fetter has been a key point of discussion as Bakich’s potential replacement. However, after a long week for Tigers’ fans, Fetter has removed his name from consideration and informed manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Al Avila, that he will stay in Detroit.
The news was reported by Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic Detroit on Tuesday afternoon.
Fetter has already proven himself an excellent pitching coach at the major league level, after a successful tenure with the University of Michigan. He received one of A.J. Hinch’s first calls after accepting the managerial position with the Tigers, and quickly signed on as head pitching coach in what was regarded as quite a coup for the club. Along with assistant Juan Nieves, the duo has produced superb results despite the long list of injuries over the past year and change. In particular, the bullpen has been consistently solid almost no matter who they’ve had to work with. Keeping Fetter in house had to be a priority for Hinch and Avila.
Chris Fetter has removed his name from consideration for the Michigan baseball job. He recently informed A.J. Hinch and Al Avila.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) June 21, 2022
“He’s gonna stay right where he belongs,” Hinch said.
This also puts a pin in the balloon of speculation about Hinch’s own future. With an opt-out available to him this offseason, and the club’s disastrous start, many have feared that Hinch would depart for greener pastures rather than try to see the Tigers building project through to completion. That seems highly unlikely now that Fetter has decided to stay in Detroit.
There are no guarantees, but it’s hard to imagine Fetter passing up the Michigan job knowing he’d have a new boss in Detroit next season. Hinch could still opt out, but one would hope that part of his pitch to convince Fetter to stay would’ve involved discussion about his own future. Certainly, Hinch could still decide to leave, and perhaps that would open up the managerial gig for Fetter himself, but as there’s been nothing remotely to suggest Hinch wants out, hopefully Fetter’s decision puts an end to the storm of speculation over their respective futures.
Two facts relevant to the decision are known, though Hinch doesn’t allow media availability to his coaches. Chris Fetter loves the University of Michigan, and he has no interest in relocating his family right now. Fetter reportedly passed on serious pursuit from the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks, among others, before taking the Tigers’ job. Money does not appear to be the motivating factor here. If he wanted the Michigan job, he probably would’ve been the leading contender. Whether the Tigers did the right thing and rewarded him for his excellent work so far is unknown. Right now, we’re just happy to have him, and to put a week of real concern behind us. Hinch and Fetter appear committed to the project. Find them some more hitting talent to work with, Mr. Avila.