The Detroit Tigers need to move in on hiring A.J. Hinch by end of this article.
For the last month, we have written about the Detroit Tigers manager search rather extensive. From doing a profile piece on him to the value the manager’s position is here in Detroit, I think it is safe to say we have almost exhausted every angle to the story.
Then about two weeks ago, the White Sox and Rick Renteria agreed to “part ways” and from there, the assumption was based on the talent on Chicago’s roster, AJ Hinch would head to the South Side. It was more or less a logical guess. You have one of the best offenses in 2020, a good farm system, and a large media market that loves baseball.
But then we saw on Twitter that Bob Nightengale reported the White Sox were interested in Tony La Russa. If you recall, La Russa was fired by Hawk Harrelson in 1986 in his one year as the helm of being the GM.
We all laughed at the notion because La Russa has not managed since he won the World Series in 2011 in St.Louis. He went out on top. But he has been involved in baseball since in some way shape or form.
But whether you want to call it a friend helping out a friend (Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Tony La Russa go back a long time), it has allowed for this to happen.
Even Lynn Henning has a good vibe about the Tigers getting A.J. Hinch.
Another Chicago White Sox mistake Detroit can pounce on.
From not deciding to resign Magglio Ordonez to tearing down the team in 2017 or not getting aggressive enough at the trade deadline in 2006 to keep up with Detroit, the Tigers have talked to A.J. Hinch about the position and without question, he is the best candidate.
Why? It fits into the criteria Al Avila is looking for. An experienced manager who has won. While I agree with Chris Brown about a manager not mattering much unless he has the talent to make it happen, I also think Hinch could save Avila from unemployment based on his background.
We all witnessed in Game 6 of the World Series two different managerial styles in play. Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell for analytical purposes (no, nerds are not ruining the game), and Dave Roberts using his bullpen to perfection. Hinch represents the new trend of managers that are good at communication and can handle personalities. We saw both at play in their own way during the World Series.
Hinch has served in player development with the Diamondbacks and four years as the assistant general manager of the Padres. He has the right blend of executive and manager experience. For a team like the Detroit Tigers who have a crop of young talent, that serves well. He can relate to the orders of the front office because he has been there and incorporate his knowledge of player development. With the Tigers heading towards more analytical driven decisions that may show up on the field soon, this is pivotal.
Another key element that plays a role in why this hire should happen right now is his psychology degree. Now, what does that have to do with baseball? Well, all these young players have a long journey to the major leagues. Having someone who understands the same path he took and can help them adjust mentally is key to unlocking what a player can be capable of. Stanford, where Hinch went, is a damn good school so having that on your resume helps.
If you want to get to know what makes him tick, check out this transcript from Postivecoach.org in which he spoke to a group. He discussed the two most important aspects of creating an environment on the field and that was culture and mindset. It gives a good insight into who A.J Hinch and how he applied what he learned as a player and going through his various roles.
It will take some time for this to pay off as a winner. The Detroit Tigers need a left-fielder, a pair of starting pitchers, a catcher, and a second baseman. With the payroll strangeness already started with the Indians today releasing Brad Hand, it could be the case of the Tigers going after one-year deals again to fix the roster.
You also have to factor in if there will be a full season and the case of the minor leagues. Detroit may change affiliates and there could be no guarantees a season could happen again. So if A.J. Hinch is hired, we will have to wait to see how Al Avila and the crew navigate the waters of the off-season. But make no bones about it. If Hinch is hired, it is one more thing to cross off the list during this rebuild. Plus, with the way 2020 has went, it may be to some Tigers fans, a good way to end the year.
Yes, the cheating scandal. From all accounts, according to MLB, it was “player-driven”. Detroit Tigers fans want to win sooner than later. A new manager learning on the job could be a disaster (cough, cough Brad Ausmus) and he deserves a second chance and a fresh start.