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'Best man for this job': Tigers name A.J. Hinch their new manager

By Chris McCosky, The Detroit News on

Published in Baseball

"My feelings towards baseball are the same that so many Detroiters have for this team," Hinch said. "Through thick and thin you always care about it and rely on it to be there as a part of your life, and I'm so proud to play a role in growing that tradition here with the Tigers.

"Having a talented young core of players, dedicated leadership group and passionate fan base was exactly what I was looking for in a team, and it's clear we have that here in Detroit. It's time to start playing winning baseball, and I am confident this organization is positioned to make that happen."

He'll be taking over a Tigers' team very nearly in the same stage of reconstruction as was the Astros team he took over in 2015, a team that had lost more than 400 games in four years.

He led the Astros to a World Series title two years later. Hinch's Astros won 481 games, went to the postseason four straight years and won two pennants.

He checks other boxes the Tigers were looking for, as well. He was ahead of the analytics curve in his years in Houston, but his background is steeped in player development and scouting. He was the director of player development for the Diamondbacks before being hired to manage them in 2009.

And from 2010-14 he served as vice president of pro scouting for the Padres, and there one of his top scouts and best friends was Scott Bream, who is now the Tigers' vice president of player personnel.

 

Hinch also has a degree in psychology from Stanford and played parts of seven seasons in the big leagues, including 27 games with the Tigers in 2003.

Alex Cora is expected to be re-hired by the Boston Red Sox. The Tigers expected to have to battle the Chicago White Sox for Hinch's services. But on Thursday, the White Sox announced the hiring of 76-year-old Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, no doubt hastening the process between the Tigers and Hinch.

Avila interviewed a long list of candidates before Thursday. The list includes Lloyd McClendon and Dave Clark from Gardenhire's staff, Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames, Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol, Cubs third base coach Will Venable, Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Orioles bench coach Fredi Gonzalez and Dodgers first base coach George Lombard, Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay, Braves coach Sal Fasano, Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza and Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin.

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