Tigers prefer experience in managerial search

September 23rd, 2017
"It'll be an extensive search that will take some time," said general manager Al Avila on the Tigers' upcoming managerial vacancy. (AP)

DETROIT -- The latest Tigers managerial search to replace Brad Ausmus is expected to be long and wide, and general manager Al Avila says it'll focus on candidates with experience.

"We're going to do a lot of background checking, a lot of thorough background work, and we'll have a good list of names that we'll whittle down little by little," Avila said. "So it'll be an extensive search that will take some time."

On the experience factor, Avila said, "I would say the manager doesn't have to have managerial experience at the Major League level, but he certainly has to have managerial experience in the Minor Leagues, or coaching experience in the Major Leagues so that the person who comes in is well-prepared in that sense."

The next logical question is how experienced a managerial candidate has to be, and whether the Tigers will seek a younger option to ride out the rebuilding project.

"There might be veteran managers that would want to take on the task of a rebuild," Avila said. "I don't know that, and until we go out there and find the right candidate, I couldn't tell you if it's going to be a young guy, middle-aged guy, or an older guy.

"I know one thing: I would like to get a guy that has the energy to get through the process, because it's not going to be easy. It's going to be a long process. It's going to be a hard process. It's going to be a trying, grinding process, and you want somebody that has that kind of energy that can get through that."

Any coach currently on staff who wants to be considered will be considered, and likely will interview. That would include hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who interviewed for the job before Ausmus was hired, managed in Seattle for two years, managed at Triple-A Toledo last year, then joined Ausmus' staff this season. The question with McClendon as well as first-base coach Omar Vizquel will be whether the Tigers would make an internal hire when they're trying to find a fresh voice.

Here's an early list of potential candidates Avila and the Tigers might consider, in no particular order:

Lloyd McClendon: If the Tigers wanted a connection to the Leyland era, the 58-year-old is the best candidate, having coached for Leyland's entire tenure. Besides Seattle in 2014-15, he managed the Pirates through a rebuilding phase from 2001 to 2005. His career record between the two stops is 499-607.

Omar Vizquel: The Tigers' infield and first-base coach has made no secret about his managerial aspirations, and managed Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic last spring. Like Ausmus, Vizquel's biggest asset on his resume is a lengthy and stellar playing career.

Mike Redmond: The Rockies bench coach was a catcher in Florida when Avila was in their front office. He compiled a 155-207 record managing the Marlins in 2013-2015. The 46-year-old also was a teammate of in Florida.

Fredi Gonzalez: The former Braves and Marlins manager managed in Florida's farm system in the 1990s while Avila was in player development. He also managed Cabrera in Florida in 2007. He's 710-692 in 10 seasons as a Major League manager, including a National League division title while in Atlanta. The 53-year-old is currently a third-base coach with the Marlins under Don Mattingly.

Ron Gardenhire: The longtime former Twins manager was tied to the Tigers in rumors two years ago and interviewed for the Padres and Nationals jobs before becoming bench coach for the D-backs. He's an old school manager with a long record of success, going 1068-1039 with six division titles.

: The former infielder is in his first season of coaching, serving as bench coach with the Astros after a career at ESPN. The 41-year-old has been a hot name on the interview circuit.

Manny Acta: A Major League manager from 2007 to 2012 with the Nationals and Indians, going 372-518, Acta is currently working as the third-base coach in Seattle, where his personality and his willingness to embrace analytics has earned him regard for a possible third managerial stint.