The Detroit Tigers are making noise again, as the club has made a controversial move to appoint its next manager.
AJ Hinch is back in baseball.
The former Astros manager has served his suspension for the sign-stealing scandal of 2017. Hinch is now the manager of the Detroit Tigers, and it is the perfect appointment for him and the Tigers. Once his suspension had finished, Tigers GM Al Avila wasted no time in contacting Hinch and then hiring him. The reaction was understandably mixed.
The Astros have become Baseball’s bad guy; Hinch managed them. Hinch lost control of the clubhouse and ultimately paid the price. He lost his job plus his reputation was in ruins. The Tigers have now given him the chance to turn his reputation around and reverse the fortunes of a club that is still searching for its first World Series since 1984. Hinch might be the best man to lead them there.
Tigers loaded farm
The Detroit Tigers have been in the midst of a long, painful rebuild. The team that won the American League pennant in 2012 has been and gone. The last four years the Tigers have had losing seasons as the team tanked for prospects and moved high priced veterans on. A high watermark of 64 wins in 2017 and 2018 was the highlight of this period.
But, those four years have not been wasted by the Detroit Tigers. The farm system has been retooled and is now bursting with talent. Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal made their big league debuts in 2020, and there is still more to come. Matt Manning, Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson are still in the pipeline. Hinch has an array of young talent ready to shine in the majors.
2015 saw Hinch become the manager at Houston. The Astros had spent several years at the bottom of the AL West. However, that allowed them to draft from strong positions and gave the team more margin with contracts as Houston was nowhere near the luxury tax threshold. Hinch took over a clubhouse with Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez in the system. With a ragtag bunch of youngsters and journeymen, Houston posted a winning season and made the Wildcard round. The Astros lost, but it was a start. In the five years, Hinch was there, Houston never had a losing season.
Detroit’s tanking is finished
The Tigers are a proud organisation. It is one of the famed organisations in MLB’s midwest. The Detroit Tigers have a big fanbase and are desperate for success. Detroit has had its near misses, but the World Series drought is still here.
With one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, the Tigers are ready to build. Al Avila has done an excellent job restocking the farm. Hinch is the best manager to nurture this young talent.
The former Tiger comes into the job with a stronger farm system than what Houston had in 2015. The other advantage the Detroit Tigers may have is free agency. The Tigers will be well below the tax threshold, allowing them to be more aggressive in free agency. With Hinch’s pull as a top manager, Detroit should be in play when big-name free agents are available.
The Detroit Tigers have made a firm shift into analytics, Hinch is already accustomed to this new way of managing. However, he will not be bound to the data, like Kevin Cash infamously was in Game 6.
Hinch understands the positives behind bunting, stealing and letting his pitchers deal. Justin Verlander got back to his Cy Young best under Hinch. Part of that was down to Hinch, letting his horse have a loose leash. With the abundance of young pitching talent available to him in Detroit, Hinch could be the perfect blend of old school and new school. The data is important, and it is a useful tool, but it is not everything. Hinch has been a proponent of this over the last five years. The Detroit Tigers are ready to start anew; AJ Hinch is the best for the job. In fact, he was the only man for the job.