GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After Ron Gardenhire opted to retire in September of 2020, the Detroit Tigers began their search for the next manager to help lead them through their rebuilding process.
Just over a month later, the Tigers settled on their guy, hiring former Houston Astros Manager AJ Hinch.
Hinch led the Astros to two American League Pennants and the 2017 World Series title. He has a managerial record of (570-452) spanning seven seasons for the Astros and Diamondbacks.
Hinch’s past does come with some baggage, however, as he was suspended from the MLB for a season for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. After sitting the year out, Hinch is just happy and grateful to be a manager once again.
“I hated being out of the game last year, I understand why and I’m not going to take it for granted that I get to put on a major league uniform again and lead a group of guys throughout the season,” Hinch said.
The new skipper has a weapon at his disposal that is unique: a psychology degree from Stanford University.
“To me, I think it allows me to develop a chemistry and a communication line, you know, between each player, whether their personality is outspoken and boisterous or whether they are reserved and quiet,” Hinch said. “I’ve got to find a way to tap into their potential as their manager.”
“I wish I could have used it on myself. I wouldn’t have sucked so much as a player,” he added.
One of the new Tigers, outfielder Robbie Grossman, played for Hinch in Houston. He believes his new teammates will learn a lot from their new coach.
“He’s the best communicator I’ve been around in this game. He can communicate with guys, he can relate to guys, he knows how to talk to people and get the best out of them and you’re going to see that progress as the season goes on here,” Grossman said.
Hinch, who also played for Detroit, comes to the Tigers as the lengthy rebuilding process for the roster continues. Hope may be on the horizon though, with prospects like Matt Manning and Casey Mize getting closer to making an impact at the big league level.
Oddsmakers currently have the Tigers over/under win total for the 2021 season set at 69.5. Detroit posted a (23-35) record in the shortened 2020 regular season.