By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
Newsflash! Ron Gardenhire is the new Tiger manager. And in typical Totally Tigers fashion, our writers have skipped the quick, emotional responses and contemplated the move before sharing their interpretation.
As a result, readers will get plenty of material to absorb and contemplate. Below are 15 thoughts a piece from both Holly and Kurt. And once again, they haven’t shared them until now. You know the Saturday drill. Read and enjoy.
1. I am sitting on the fence about the hiring of Ron Gardenhire. I can see the arguments for hiring him but also the concerns he brings, esp. regarding his questionable stance re analytics.
2. My biggest concern focuses on Al Avila’s statement about how the Tigers were going to work with a fresh vision and different direction. Gardy doesn’t fit those parameters.
3. On the other hand, I welcome a manager who will teach and enforce the fundamentals of the game. This is one of Gardy’s strengths and perfect for a team that will be filled with youth and inexperience.
4. Reports have Al Avila fighting Mr. I’s and Chris’ push to hire Gardy since 2015. Now that he’s here, I wonder how much of the decision came from ownership and not the GM.
5. Personally, I’m not surprised by the hire because the Tigers are not a bold-thinking organization. The Ausmus hire was a reckless, not bold, one and not well-thought out so they returned to the safety of their comfort zone as a result.
6. It was intentional that both of the major newspapers floated articles about why Gardenhire was the right choice two days before he was officially announced. The Tigers were feeding stories to the journalists so they could use social media to gauge the overall reaction and to ensure that enough fans would sign onto the move and not desert Comerica.
7. Despite Avila’s insistence that analytics would play a big role with the Tigers, it potentially takes a back seat to the other significant issues facing the team. Issues that are Gardy’s strengths including development of young athletes, the ability to command respect from the players and to motivate them.
8. Could one of the reasons the Tigers went with a manager who traditionally was anti-analytic (but warming to the idea) be because their Caesar program is still not fully implemented and requires more work in order to be used effectively?
9. I have to wonder how much input Jim Leyland had in the decision to hire one of his closest friends. The choices Gardy makes in his coaching staff will tell us much more about Leyland’s involvement.
10. I will base much more of my opinion on Gardy by the actual people he hires. I will feel much more comfortable if he goes outside the organization and focuses on younger guys who have backgrounds in the latest proven strategies and are effective coaches.
11. The hiring pendulum has swung from crusty old-school manager to the young, inexperienced one and now back to the Leyland model. The Tigers have silently admitted that going recklessly bold by hiring Ausmus did not work, which is why they now insisted on someone who was well-known and with experience.
12. I can see the logic in hiring someone who is focused on developing youth the right ways and grooming them for the future. It will be refreshing to see solid fundamentals coupled with passion and focus on the field.
13. I believe that Gardenhire is a solid choice to take what will become a young roster and teach them to care about playing to a higher level. Ausmus allowed a standard of being comfortable with mediocrity with indifference and uninspired play as the results.
14. Gardenhire is known for getting the best results from small payrolls which begs the question about how much more Chris Ilitch wants to reduce the Tigers’ payroll. Is the goal to cut another significant chunk while trying to squeeze as much performance and thus also attendance as much as possible?
15. Gardenhire may also be the best option for repairing a fractured and dysfunctional clubhouse filled with individuals instead of a team. If he can get VMart and Miggy (especially the latter), back on track and producing, he will be worth his weight in gold.
1. As I envisioned, the Tigers stayed comfortable in their decision to hire Ron Gardenhire. It’s a total departure from where Al Avila said we would be headed, and it’s absolutely what was expected.
2. Gardenhire killed it in the press conference, saying all the right things. Analytics? He won’t fight it and understands there is more than one way to skin a cat.
3. Why was he a candidate for this job? Well, he’s a big favorite of the Tiger ‘establishment’. The Ilitchs and one Mr. Jim Leyland have wanted him here.
4. An opportunity to step out of the box and get young, fresh and exuberant eyes on the rebuild of this club, fostered from organizations who have completed their championship-ready mold, was ignored, despite what they said was a plan that supports that.
5. Gardenhire represents the old guard at a time when a new beginning was important. He knows baseball, no question, and we will see what he brings having been exposed to the winning culture developing in Arizona.
6. Gardenhire wanted to manage again. He wanted to teach again, and this is more than likely his last job, which will come with little pressure.
7. The Tigers completed their backwards plan. Gardenhire was a better fit for the Tigers when Ausmus was hired, as they chose an unproven candidate for a very important run for a championship.
8. Now was the time to grab someone bred to rebuild, to take what they had learned from a progressive organization and apply it to a team just starting out on that path. Is that Gardenhire or not?
9. Gardenhire has been chosen to take on the role as a stopgap manager. Will he bring new ideas, new concepts, a new approach? Yes, but will they be consistent with what the organizational plan was supposed to be?
10. Al Avila is merely a puppet in this whole rebuild. The Ilitchs and Jim Leyland are holding the strings. The Garden-hire seems like something the Tigers are making good on after not making the move when it was really needed.
11. It was good news to hear the questions about analytics from the media. His answers were good, and he wasn’t close-minded, which was encouraging despite the disappointment of the hire.
12. I believe the team will like Ron Gardenhire. I believe the team will respond to him; they will be a sponge and he will earn their respect. That alone will be a step in the right direction.
13. My hope is to be pleasantly surprised by what is accomplished under Gardenhire’s tutelage. My hope, once again, is to be wrong about what I feel is just another organizational mistake.
14. “Who says we have to lose?” That is the right thing to say, because a young team needs to believe that they can do what absolutely everyone will say they can’t, so I am encouraged by that.
15. Gardenhire only needs one goal. The losing must be productive – and you do that through trust, development and through fostering an environment of creativity and fundamentally strong baseball.
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