Detroit Tigers reportedly interview two more Yankees coaches for manager opening

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Tigers didn’t stop with hitting coach Marcus Thames when surveying the New York Yankees’ coaching staff for candidates to fill their managerial vacancy.

General manager Al Avila also spoke with and interviewed Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin and bench coach Carlos Mendoza, according to Earlier in the search, Avila interviewed Thames, an outfielder for the Tigers from 2004-09, for the job.

[ Hitting coach Marcus Thames shines for Yankees. Can he save Tigers as manager? ]

The Tigers are gearing up for the second round of interviews. The winner of the gig will replace retired manager Ron Gardenhire, whose contract was set to expire after this season.

“They’ve all been on Zoom,” Avila told the Free Press on Friday. “We’re getting ready for the second round, guys that we’re going to bring back for the second round. That’s where we’re at, so we’re going to start eliminating some guys. It’s going to definitely take us into after the World Series.”

For subscribers: Jim Leyland says the Tigers will have ‘guys waiting in line’ for manager job

Nevin, 49, played in the majors between 1995-2006 for seven teams, including the Tigers from 1995-97. The former No. 1 overall pick finished with a .270 batting average with 208 homers and 743 RBIs in 1,217 career games.

Two seasons after his May 2007 retirement, Nevin was hired as manager for the Orange County Flyers, an independent league squad. He was picked up by the Tigers in 2010 to manage the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. After one season, he was named the manager of Triple-A Toledo for 2011.

[ Tigers managerial search: These are candidates, traits Al Avila is looking at ]

He was fired in August 2013 (with a 188-244 record), Nevin continued in coaching as the Triple-A Reno manager in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization. He held that position through the 2016 season before taking the third-base coaching job for the San Francisco Giants.

In 2018, Nevin was hired by the Yankees.

In September 2014, while Nevin was managing Triple-A Reno, he interviewed for the Houston Astros’ manager opening. He also was a finalist that year for the Diamondbacks’ manager job.

Mendoza, 40, played 10 years in the minor leagues, three years of independent baseball and four in the Venezuelan Winter League and started coaching in 2009.

He didn’t crack the major leagues until the 2018 season when the Yankees hired him as their quality control and infield coach.

Mendoza has had a few managerial stops and received a promotion to the roving defensive instruction within the organization before the 2013 season.

Last November, Mendoza took over as the bench coach under manager Aaron Boone.

Others to interview with the Tigers include Los Angeles Dodgers first base coach George Lombard, Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Kansas City Royals coach Pedro Grifol and Tigers interim manager Lloyd McClendon.

[ A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora will be considered for Tigers manager job ]

Royals third base coach (and ex-Tiger) Vance Wilson, Colorado Rockies bench coach (and ex-Florida Marlins manager) Mike Redmond and Baltimore Orioles bench coach Fredi Gonalzez were expected to be in the running, but it’s unclear if they were interviewed. 

A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, both involved in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal, will be evaluated once their MLB suspensions conclude after the World Series.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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