Ron Gardenhire “is the heavy favorite” to be the Tigers’ new manager

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Detroit hasn’t even fired manager Brad Ausmus yet–and based on early reports, don’t plan to do so until after the season–but there are already multiple sources linking former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to the Tigers job.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today goes so far as to call Gardenhire “the heavy favorite” to replace Ausmus.

Gardenhire was fired by the Twins last September following four straight 90-loss seasons and evidence that the clubhouse simply needed a change after 13 years with the same manager, but from 2002-2010 he won six AL Central titles and finished among the top three in Manager of the Year voting seven times.

As a lifelong Minnesotan I’ve seen just about every game of Gardenhire’s managerial career and was never a particularly big fan, but for a veteran-laden, compete-now team like the Tigers he’d make plenty of sense.