High-profile changes are afoot in the Tigers farm chain, which will include a new manager, and a new pitching coach, at Triple A Toledo.
Mike Maroth, the former big-league left-hander who pitched for the Tigers from 2002-2007, will not return to the Mud Hens, the Detroit News has learned, but will work in the Tigers farm system, perhaps at Double A Erie.
Maroth would replace Mike Henneman, another former big-name Tigers pitcher, who earlier this season shifted to the Tigers’ minor-league training site at Lakeland, Florida. Jaime Garcia, who previously worked at Lakeland with the Gulf Coast League (rookie) Tigers, finished at Erie but is returning to Tigertown, where he will help oversee pitchers on injury rehab, as well as groom GCL prospects.
Henneman’s contract for 2016 will not be renewed. Nor will the contract of Single A Connecticut pitching coach Scott Dwyer.
“I’m disappointed,” Henneman said of his release during a Monday phone conversation. “This was the last thing I anticipated. In my mind, I did everything I could do and that they asked me to do.”
In a separate move at Erie, SeaWolves hitting coach Gerald Perry was earlier dismissed. His replacement for 2016 has not been named.
The Triple A Mud Hens already were searching for a new manager following the retirement of Larry Parrish, a one-time Tigers skipper who has worked at Toledo and throughout the team’s farm system for most of the years following his retirement as a heavy big-league power hitter spanning 15 seasons.
Maroth confirmed during a Monday phone conversation that he was leaving the Mud Hens but would remain with the Tigers in an unspecified job. He did not provide details.
He and his family have a home in Lakeland, which also could be an option should the Tigers decide to realign their staff at Single A Lakeland.
There has been no announcement on either a new pitching coach, or manager, at Toledo, the top spot in the Tigers’ six-team, minor-league chain.
But it is not anticipated that Erie manager Lance Parrish will be promoted to Toledo. The Tigers appear to want in their Triple A skipper to be a manager with past big-league experience, or with past big-league scouting skills.
The Tigers are expected to make significant changes in their Detroit staff, as well as at the minor-league levels in the coming days and weeks.
It is anticipated that manager Brad Ausmus and most, if not all, of his staff will not return in 2016.
The Tigers, beginning with owner Mike Ilitch, have been irked over the Tigers’ deep pitching problems in 2015 and are expected to make new coaches as much a part of 2016’s roster profile as new arms that have been introduced since July’s deadline trades began a staff makeover.
Tigers general manager Al Avila has said the team will shop for at least two new starters during the offseason. As much as half of the existing pitching staff could be replaced ahead of spring camp’s start in February.
Detroit is 28th among 30 teams in overall pitching. The Tigers bullpen also is ranked 28th.