Detroit Tigers: Organization should hire Don Kelly as the next manager

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers should pull a plot twist when Ron Gardenhire’s contract expires and hire Don Kelly as the next manager.

The Detroit Tigers 2020 season is yet to begin, but following the conclusion of this year, Ron Gardenhire’s contract will expire. The organization can easily extend him, but there have been some questions about his health and suggestions that he would retire sooner rather than later.

An extension would be just fine, letting Gardenhire continue to work with these younger players and get them developing as the rebuild churns on. The plot twist, mystery move, would be to go out and get a new coach, one who was a former utility player for the Tigers.

Don Kelly is an intriguing name to throw into the ring for the managerial job. No, Kelly has no managerial experience in the big leagues but has been a first base coach as well as a bench coach for the Houston Astros and now Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Kelly played in six seasons with the Tigers, and this fanbase was pretty much one way or another one the guy. It was either you loved him, or you hated him during his time with the Tigers as an all-purpose utility player.

The Tigers should shake things up in the managerial seat, they tried this with Brad Ausmus, and it is obvious how that one shook out. Bringing in Kelly during the end of a rebuild is kind of an experiment, and seems to be worth the look.

After his playing career, Kelly transformed into a scout and then has worked his way into a bench coach position. As part of a new regime in the Pirates organization, Kelly gets the opportunity to learn and grow in the dugout during games, gaining valuable experience in case he does manage.

Kelly has been thought of as a former player with a great mind and eye for baseball, as mentioned above, he ranked up from scout to bench coach, and he did this fairly quickly for a newcomer. In a time where the Tigers are not winning games, and won’t be for some time, it is worth the risk.

Taking a chance on a former player like Kelly, who has been rumored to have interviewed for a few managerial positions is something that needs to be considered by General Manager (GM) Al Avila. Gardenhire is most likely going to be retiring after the weird 2020 season; it is time for a change.

Even if Gardenhire sticks around for another season or two through 2021 or 2022, bringing in a new face like Kelly seems to be an intriguing thought. That is, assuming someone else has not scooped him up by that point.

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Hire Don Kelly as the next manager of the Detroit Tigers. That’s it. That’s the plot twist.