Detroit Tigers hiring of Ron Gardenhire is completely fine


The Detroit Tigers’ decision to hire old-school manager Ron Gardenhire is completely fine for the rebuilding franchise even if he’s an uninspiring choice.

The Detroit Tigers aren’t going to win any awards for being the most forward-thinking Major League Baseball club after it was reported that they’re set to hire Ron Gardenhire as the next manager of the team, but the decision to hire an old-school manager isn’t a terrible one for a rebuilding franchise.

The Tigers are going to lose a lot of games next season. They’re probably going to lose a lot of games for the next two or three seasons (at least) as they punt on tomorrow for a more sustainable future. Many fans pined for an analytically-minded manager, but bucking conventional wisdom in an attempt to squeeze out an additional win or two per season will do little to accelerate what will amount to a full rebuild.

The next Tigers manager, whoever he was, was going to have two main jobs. Number one: don’t screw up any of the young talent. Number two: don’t allow a culture of negativity to develop or grow inside the clubhouse. The mixture of inexperience and losing can be toxic for a team, but Gardenhire has been around the block a few times. He knows how professionals are supposed to act. He probably knows when to let things go and when to step in with a few words. A new manager will have to learn all of that on the fly.

Gardenhire would not be the man fans would want to see taking the Tigers into a playoff series. The thought of him trying to match wits with Terry Francona or Joe Maddon or Dave Roberts is terrifying, but the Tigers (unfortunately) don’t need to worry about the postseason anytime soon. This next manager was likely headed for one fate: a dismissal after three losing seasons and a pile of losses.

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After all these losses under an old-school manager, the fans, media, and front office will be fully on board with the idea of bringing in a manager with a data-driven approach and a new-school mentality. It’s that next manager who might once again lead the Tigers to the playoffs.