If this was a year ago current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona would have been the new manager of the Detroit Tigers. If Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had been fired and not signed a new two-year contract he very well might be the new Tigers manager.
Things being as they are neither of these two excellent managers will be wearing the Old English D anytime soon. So will be the next Tigers manager?
That is the question. The Tigers are easily the most desirable managerial vacancy in the Major Leagues this off season. Several familiar names have expressed an interest in the position. There are others who are slightly under the radar but may be the choice by the end of the interview process being conducted by Tigers president and general manager Dave Drombowski.
Former big league skippers Eric Wedge(Cleveland, Seattle), Charlie Manuel(Cleveland, Philadelphia), Manny Acta(Cleveland, Washington) and Dusty Baker(S.F. Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds) have all expressed interest in the Tigers open managerial position.
None of these names jump off the page as an obvious candidate to replace Jim Leyland as the Tigers manager. There are of course some names that are being kicked around that haven’t been as vocal as the others in their interest in the job.
Some of them include internal candidates such as Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and bench coach Gene Lamont. These two are long time lieutenants of Leyland and know the team very well. Tigers minor league hitting instructor Bruce Fields is also considered to be a candidate.
Former Tigers catcher Brad Ausmus doesn’t have the managerial experience of the other candidates but his name is surfacing for managerial openings across the league. Another former Tiger and curent Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo could be a candidate. He lacks major league managerial experience but has served as the manger for the Red Sox Triple-A team in Pawtucket.
One dark horse candidate that currently has a job is Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. He does have a one year deal that vested after the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. You may recall that Mattingly was nearly fired by the Dodgers in mid-June before they went on an unprecedented run to win the National League West.
In a news conference on Monday he expressed how it isn’t right for him to manage the Dodgers again on a one-year deal. His lame duck status was constantly brought up and helped fuel the speculation that he may be fired until they caught fire.
He doesn’t want to go through that again and believes that after three seasons he’s earned a multi-year extension. If the Dodgers don’t offer him one he may be a free agent and could emerge as a candidate for the Tigers job.
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