DETROIT — Tigers general manager Al Avila said Friday that Detroit is not ruling out the possibility of hiring AJ Hinch or Alex Cora for its manager vacancy.
Hinch and Cora were suspended through the 2020 postseason for their roles in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. The Astros fired Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow on Jan. 13 and Cora lost his job managing the Boston Red Sox the following day. Cora spent the 2017 season as bench coach on Hinch’s staff with Houston.
The Tigers are in the market for a replacement for manager Ron Gardenhire, who retired on Sept. 19 with a little more than a week left in the season. Avila was asked about Hinch and Cora, and while Detroit’s search appears to be in a very early stage, the GM at least seemed open to the possibility of hiring one of the suspended managers.
“Really, I can’t say that I’ve eliminated anybody,” Avila said. “The cheating scandal is not a good thing, obviously. They’re serving their suspensions, and once their suspensions are over, then they’ll be free to pursue their careers. So we have not eliminated anybody from our list at this point.”
Avila said interviews will be conducted by video, but he could meet face to face once the list of candidates is down to a small number.
“We could finish this sometime in October. It might go into November,” he said. “Really, we’re not in a rush. We’re kind of taking our time with it.”
The Tigers went 23-35 in the shortened season, finishing in the AL Central cellar for the third time in four years. They did bring up two of their most highly touted pitching prospects in Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, so that duo got some experience in the big leagues.
Avila said it is important that the next manager be able to help with talent evaluation, since there are important decisions to make throughout the roster. He sounds open to a variety of experience levels for managerial candidates.
“I guess one thing you could eliminate is a guy that maybe played and has absolutely no coaching experience, no managerial experience, and goes from being a player directly to a major league manager,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t go that way, but everything else I would say is in play.”
NOTES: Avila said the Tigers are making changes in the pro scouting department and that a few people there are not having their contracts renewed.