Detroit Tigers Manager candidate series: Will Venable

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Here we look at another candidate for the Detroit Tigers’ manager vacancy. Will Venable is a young, up-and-coming coaching talent.

There are going to be a lot of names that come up as candidates for the Detroit Tigers‘ managerial vacancy, as Ron Gardenhire has announced his retirement. The speculation has already begun, with Jon Morosi tweeting about it yesterday:

We previously focused on AJ Hinch, who has previous experience with two other organizations and a World Series Championship to his credit (though many find that title to be tainted). If the Tigers decide to go a different route and focus on a young, up-and-coming talent as opposed to a managerial veteran, perhaps Will Venable would be a strong candidate.

At 37, Venable would currently be the youngest manager in the majors. His playing career lasted from 2008 to 2016, mostly with the San Diego Padres but also with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers. His best season came in 2013, when he hit 22 home runs for San Diego. Overall, he owns a career playing WAR of 13.0.

Despite still being so young, Venable already has three years of post-playing experience under his belt. He worked in the Chicago Cubs’ front office under Theo Epstein and was the first base coach for the Cubs in 2018 and 2019 before moving to third base for this season.

Venable has already been a candidate for a few other managerial positions. He was a candidate for the Cubs’ opening this past winter before it went to David Ross. He also was a candidate for the Astros’ opening when Hinch was let go, though they decided to go with the veteran presence of Dusty Baker to guide them through a difficult transition.

Venable has received high marks for his work with Cubs players, and it seems to be only a matter of time before some team gives him an opportunity. He would be the latest Cubs coach to earn a promotion with another club, joining Dave Martinez with Washington and Brandon Hyde with Baltimore.

Some might feel that the Tigers, a team that could be on the verge of contention in the next year or two, need a veteran presence like they had when they brought in Jim Leyland back in 2006. However, young up-and-comers such as Ross in Chicago and Jayce Tingler in San Diego have shown that experience might not be necessary to guide an up-and-coming team, as both have had success in their first year.

One thing the Tigers will need with their next manager is someone who knows how to handle young pitching, as they have several emerging young arms that figure to be part of their future. It remains to be seen whether Venable would be the right guy for that role; as a former outfielder, his work has been more with position players.

Still, Venable is a guy who will likely get a chance somewhere in the near future. Even if he ends up not being the right guy in Detroit, the Tigers would do their due diligence to at least give him a look.

Next: Detroit Tigers: Four Manager Suggestions to replace Ron Gardenhire

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