Phil Nevin, former Erie, Toledo manager, interviews for Tigers job

Detroit News

Tony Paul
| The Detroit News

The Tigers have no shortage of old friends who’ve made their list of managerial candidates to replace Ron Gardenhire.

Phil Nevin, a former Tigers slugger who also managed at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, interviewed with the front office recently, according to a source close to the situation who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the search.

Tigers general manager Al Avila isn’t confirming any candidates.

Nevin, 49, is the third-base coach for the New York Yankees, whose hitting coach, former Tiger Marcus Thames, also has interviewed for the job.

Nevin, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, played for the Tigers from 1995-97, but had the bulk of his success with the San Diego Padres from 1999-2005. He returned to Detroit for the 2010 season, when he managed the Erie SeaWolves. After one year, he was promoted to manage the Toledo Mud Hens.

Nevin managed Toledo for three seasons, before he was fired late in the 2013 season. Neither party, Nevin nor the Tigers, has publicly commented on what went down.

During much of his Tigers’ minor-league coaching career, Nevin was widely considered a future MLB manager in training.

He eventually landed in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor-league system before joining the San Francisco Giants’ major-league coaching staff, and eventually the Yankees’.

Nevin is one of three Yankees coaches to have interviewed for the Tigers job, along with Thames and, according to, bench coach Carlos Mendoza. 

Also reportedly interviewing: former Tiger Don Kelly, bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates; former Tiger George Lombard, first-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers; Kansas City Royals coach Pedro Grifol; and Tigers interim manager Lloyd McClendon, who is a candidate for the job for the third time. McClendon also interviewed after Jim Leyland retired, and after Brad Ausmus was let go.

The Tigers won’t hire a manager until after the World Series concludes this week. It’s then that former Diamondbacks and Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and former Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora can interview for jobs; that marks the end of their one-year suspensions, stemming from the cheating, sign-stealing scandal. Both are almost certain to interview with the Tigers.

The White Sox and Red Sox also have managerial openings.

Gardenhire abruptly retired on Sept. 19, citing health concerns.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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