| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila explains manager search, offseason expectations
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila speaks with reporters Friday, October 2, 2020, following his team’s season to share offseason expectations.
General manager Al Avila confirmed Friday he will consider A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora for the open Detroit Tigers manager position. Both ex-managers were suspended by MLB through the 2020 postseason for their roles in a sign-stealing, trash can-banging scandal in 2017 with the Houston Astros.
The Astros — with Hinch, 46, as the manager and Cora, 44, as the bench coach — won the World Series that year.
“I have them on my list,” Avila said.
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Because of their season-long suspensions, Avila can’t contact them until the conclusion of the 2020 World Series, which will is scheduled to end no later than Oct. 28. Avila is tasked with finding a replacement for Ron Gardenhire, who retired Sept. 19 with eight games remaining.
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Avila initially tip-toed around the subject without stating if Hinch and Cora are options to lead the Tigers through the rebuild.
“I can’t say that I’ve eliminated anybody,” Avila said. “Obviously, the cheating scandal is not a good thing. They’re serving their suspensions. And once their suspensions are over, they’ll be free to pursue their careers. We have not eliminated anybody from our list at this point.”
Houston’s scandal was driven by Cora and the players, but Hinch did not take enough steps to stop the illegal activity. According to MLB’s investigation, he destroyed the monitor his players used to steal signs but didn’t speak out against Cora or his players to share his disapproval.
Hinch was suspended by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and fired from his job with the Astros on Jan. 13 for his role. One day later, Cora was fired by the Boston Red Sox, where he took over as manager before the 2018 season.
Cora did not receive his suspension from Manfred until April 22 because of a concurrent investigation regarding an electronic sign-stealing scandal with the Red Sox in 2018. Manfred did not impose additional discipline because he did not believe Cora was aware of the team’s replay operator relaying signs to the players.
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Hinch has seven years of experience as a manager, winning the World Series in 2017, making the ALCS in 2018 and falling short of his second title in three years in the 2019 World Series. Cora has managed two years in his career, winning the World Series in 2018 with the Red Sox before missing the playoffs in 2019.
The Tigers hope to make a managerial decision by October or November, Avila said, but they’re in no rush.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.