Al Avila will consider A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora for Tigers' managerial job
Detroit — Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Tigers to hire a new manager. It’s going to take a minute.
“We are still collecting names,” general manager Al Avila said Friday in his post-season Zoom conference. “I have long list of names. We will do our research and whittle it down and then start the interview process…We are not in a rush. We’re going to take our time with it and check everything out.”
Avila didn’t reveal all the names on the list, but he did say that both Alex Cora and A.J. Hinch, currently serving suspensions for their roles in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, will both be considered for the Tigers’ job.
“I can’t say I’ve eliminated anybody,” Avila said. “The cheating scandal obviously is not a good thing. They are serving their suspensions and once the suspensions are over, they’re free to pursue their careers. We’ve not eliminated anybody from our list.”
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The suspensions end when the World Series is over. That alone likely pushes the hiring into November.
Also among those presumed to be on Avila’s list are interim Tigers manager Lloyd McClendon, former Marlins and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, Royals third base coach Vance Wilson, Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol, former Marlins manager Mike Redmond, Mets bench coach Hensley Meulens and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing.
“I have (on his list) guys who have managerial experience and guys with no managerial experience but have coaching experience,” Avila said. “I’m not predicting anything but you could probably eliminate a guy that played but had absolutely no coaching experience, no managerial experience — just a guy who goes from playing to being a major league manager.
“I’m probably not going to go that way, but everything else is in play.”
Avila acknowledged the Tigers were still going to be in a transition phase in 2021, but he’s not looking to make a short-term hire.
“You always try to hire the guy who can take you as far as you want to go,” he said. “Quite frankly, it would be important to bring in a guy who could help evaluate the talent on the field. For me, that’s important.
“Just to go along with our analytical staff, scouting department and front office and be part of the decision-making process as we move forward.”
That would be a slight departure for Avila, who in the past only minimally involved former managers Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire in roster decisions.
“There are important decisions to be made on every player on the roster,” Avila said.
As he was describing the qualities he was looking for in the next manager, Avila almost sounded like he was describing Gardenhire.
“A good leader is heavily engaged with players and staff on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “A guy who cares about his players not only on the field and in the clubhouse but off the field and at home. A guy who understands the things players go through and can help them through some of that stuff.
“But he needs to be able to motivate players and discipline players. Players have to know who their leader is. He has to establish his presence.”
It’s not about hiring an analytics-based manager or an old-school manager. Those distinctions no longer apply. Analytics are now inherent in the Tigers’ and every other team’s structure. It’s more about hiring a manager who can cultivate a culture and motivate players.
“I want a guy who can look at a player and properly evaluate that player and manage him accordingly,” Avila said. “He needs to be able to communicate to the player what he is and be truthful with players.”