Tigers officially hire former Twins boss Ron Gardenhire as their new manager
Gardenhire is familiar with the American League Central
The Detroit Tigers have decided on their new manager, and here's a hint -- it's someone familiar with the American League Central.
That someone? Former Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire. The team confirmed the news in a Friday statement:
"We are very excited to introduce Ron Gardenhire as the new manager of the Detroit Tigers," said Al Avila, Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. "After an extensive search, we are confident 'Gardy' is the right person to lead our ballclub in our pursuit of World Series championships. Ron has extensive managerial experience at the Major League level and has a proven track record of player development."
Gardenhire also released his own statement through the team:
"I couldn't be more thrilled to be named manager of the Detroit Tigers. After managing against the Tigers for so many years, I know first-hand what a great baseball town Detroit is and that the fans here are some of the most passionate in all of sports. I'm truly grateful to Christopher Ilitch and Al Avila for entrusting me to lead the team back to competing for American League Central Division titles and to our ultimate goal of winning a World Series."
Gardenhire managed the Twins from 2002-2014. Over those 13 seasons, he won 50.7 percent of his games and oversaw 27 playoff games. Unfortunately, Gardenhire's Twins went 6-21 in the tournament, with four of those wins coming in his first year. Gardenhire was dismissed after 2014 -- by that point he'd navigated Minnesota to four consecutive losing seasons.
More recently, Gardenhire served as bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. He missed about a month early in the season after undergoing surgery to remove his cancerous prostate.
It's worth noting that while Gardenhire isn't known for his tactical ability, he is a drastic departure from former manager Brad Ausmus in that he enters the job with a wealth of experience. Ausmus, on the other hand, had never managed before.
Gardenhire won't have an easy task ahead of him if he's to lead the Tigers to the postseason anytime soon. Detroit began rebuilding during the summer, and finished the year 64-98. The Tigers will pick first in next summer's draft.
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