Detroit Tigers: Ron Gardenhire has proven to be a phenomenal hire

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers brought in manager Ron Gardenhire for the 2018 season, a truly phenomenal move by the front office.

When the Detroit Tigers decided it was time to move on from former manager Brad Ausmus, they dug into the retirees’ list. They scooped up thirteen-year Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in one of the best moves the front office has made in recent years.

Gardenhire had been on a four-year hiatus from managing, but at the age of sixty, Gardenhire decided to pull on a big-league jersey once more for quite the task. It was no secret that he was taking over an atrocious rebuilding team, but he has been instrumental in terms of player development.

Now, the Tigers have been horrifically bad in the years Gardenhire has been here, and some people will write this article off, simply because of this. Thinking that win-loss for a rebuilding team is the only indicator of a manager’s positive impact on a ballclub is just flawed.

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In thirteen years with the Twins, Gardenhire managed 2107 games, produced a 1068-1039 record, finishing first in the American League Central in six seasons.

Even being a tick over .500 in his career with the Twins, he was able to see talents like Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau come and go.

Beyond that, he saw veterans join the roster like Jim Thome, and managed pitchers who went on to become real threats across the league.

For example, in today’s Oakland Athletics bullpen Gardenhire managed Liam Hendriks who is both a shutdown reliever and an opener in recenet

If one thing is taken away from his time in Minnesota, it is that he can work with and positively impact a player’s development.

His time with the Minnesota Twins is all fine and dandy, but why is his Detroit Tigers hiring such a fantastic move?

As mentioned above, the Tigers were 64-98 in his first season with the ballclub and 47-114 last season. These less than appealing records leave something to be said about the organization’s rebuild that is had has been ongoing.

In interviews, Gardenhire talks about how he wants the Tigers to go out there and play competitive baseball; he is no dummy. Gardenhire has been around the game long enough to realize these kids need to be focused on the development and working towards being competitive.

Two keywords from that last sentence: development and competitive. The 60-game sprint that is the 2020 season is a perfect time for this, and the beginning of the season has shown just that. JaCoby Jones has come out of the gates swinging the bat well, playing centerfield with an incredible range.

Jones is looking to make improvements, be competitive, and in a recent postgame interview, he talked about attacking each at-bat and each game with a bulldog mentality. Gardenhire is working with these guys, trying to get them to have that bulldog mentality that JaCoby has.

For a rebuilding team, Gardenhire will do a postgame interview and be frank and honest about the team. The Tigers can get spanked 8-1, and Gardenhire notes the positives about the game, maybe Rony Garcia threw a clean inning, or Victor had a nice catch paired with a well-drive double.

Not to say he ignores the negative because Gardenhire will also talk about how the pitching staff needs to find a better tempo, get that first-pitch strike, and capitalize on opportunities to get players out. But he all around does a great job with the Tigers rebuilding group of players.

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The Detroit Tigers hiring Ron Gardenhire was an excellent move by the organization to get a manager who facilitates development and growth, especially in a rebuilding clubhouse.