A familiar face will be behind the bench of an American League Central division foe this year. According to Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic, all that’s left is dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for Ron Gardenhire to be named the next manager of the Detroit Tigers.
Gardenhire, who’ll turn 60 next Tuesday, spent last season as the bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks, perhaps the biggest surprise team in the National League which won the Wild Card game and was swept in the Division Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gardenhire and the Diamondbacks were in the Twin Cities for a three-game set in mid-August — a sweep that helped propel the Twins into the postseason — and he looked noticeably thinner.
Gardenhire told reporters he was already in the process of trimming down before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer — he received a clean bill of health while in town — and quite frankly, he looks as good as he has in quite some time.
Gardenhire, who compiled a 1,068-1,039 mark in 13 years at the helm of the Twins, will take on a youthful Detroit Tigers team that holds the No. 1 pick in next June’s draft and took a nosedive down the stretch with a 6-24 record over the final 30 games. That stretch all but sealed the fate of Brad Ausmus, who has turned up in some other searches but won’t get the Red Sox job, either.
That sounds like it’s going to Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who is regarded as one of the game’s brightest young minds and also played for the Red Sox from 2005-08. Ausmus wrapped his Tigers tenure with a 314-332 (.486) record in four seasons, with just one trip to the postseason — a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles in his first season on the job (2014).
There’s no word yet on what Gardenhire’s punishment will be for breaking his lease down in Arizona, though. He was renting from a notoriously difficult landlord — former Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.