Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila said Friday that Detroit isn’t precluding the chance 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 next day. Cora spent the 2017 season as seat coach on Hinch’s staff with Houston.
The Tigers are in the market for a substitution for manager Ron Gardenhire, who retired on Sept. 19 with somewhat more than seven days left in the season. Avila was gotten some information about Hinch and Cora, and keeping in mind that Detroit’s inquiry seems, by all accounts, to be in a beginning phase, the GM at least appeared to be available to the chance 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 led by video, yet he could meet eye to eye once the list of competitors is down to a modest 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 abbreviated season, completing in the AL Central cellar for the third time in four years. They raised two of their most highly promoted contributing possibilities Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, so pair got some involvement with the major leagues.
Avila said it is significant that the next manager have the option to help with talent evaluation, since there are significant choices to make all through the roster. He sounds open to a variety of involvement 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.”
Avila likewise said the Tigers are making changes in the pro scouting department and that a few individuals there are not having their agreements reestablished.