DETROIT -- What began as an ill-timed managerial opening in the Tigers farm system just before Spring Training became an opportunity for a former Tiger to re-enter the organization. As a result, former All-Star catcher Lance Parrish became the new manager of the Erie SeaWolves in the Double-A Eastern League.
The SeaWolves officially announced the hiring on Wednesday.
For the Tigers, Parrish represents a familiar voice to fill a critical void in the organization that opened when Chris Cron left three weeks ago to become a Minor League hitting coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
For Parrish, it's a second chance to pursue his coaching and managerial dreams after five years out of the game.
Though the Tigers had in-house candidates such as Minor League hitting coordinator Bruce Fields and Class A Lakeland manager Dave Huppert, all were happy in their current roles. With those options closed, team president/CEO/general manager Dave Dombrowski said recently at TigerFest that they would most likely fill the post from outside the system.
"It did come at an inopportune time," Dombrowski said, "but at the same time, you don't want to stand in somebody's way."
Parrish, coincidentally, was also at TigerFest, one of the former Tigers brought back for the event. Parrish had been looking to get back in the game after two seasons managing in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system in 2006 and 2007. Before that, Parrish spent three years as Tigers bullpen coach on Alan Trammell's staff.
Tigers vice president/general manager Al Avila handled the hiring process.
"Once the position became open, we made a list of candidates we would possibly interview, and Lance was on that list," Avila told MLB.com in an email. "Lance came in for an interview after TigerFest."
The difficulty in filling the job at Erie isn't for lack of talent. The team returns the makings of a solid pitching staff, including starting prospect Drew VerHagen, Warwick Saupold and closer Melvin Mercedes, and is expected to add positional prospects such as second baseman Devon Travis and outfielder Steven Moya.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.