The Detroit Tigers continue to make big moves.
According to reports, Ron Gardenhire is returning to the American League Central because he is set to become the new manager for the MLB (Major League Baseball) team. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the news on Thursday.
If you recall, Gardenhire managed the Minnesota Twins from 2002 to 2014. During his time with the team, he put up a 1,068-1,039 record. Under his watch, the Twins won six division titles.
The Athletic's Katie Strang is reporting that the Tigers general manager Al Avila preferred to hire a manager with prior experience in the role and saw the 59-year-old Gardenhire as a "seasoned, battle-tested option."
Make no mistake about it, Gardenhire certainly represents a stark contrast to his predecessor, Brad Ausmus. Keep in mind that Ausmus was 44 and only a few seasons removed from being an active player when he took over as the Tigers manager in November 2013.
During Ausmus' first season as the manager of the ball club, they won 90 games. The problem with that is that they failed to make the playoffs over the next three years, which led to the team's decision not to renew his contract after the 2017 campaign.
It should be noted that with the team going with a first-time manager in Ausmus, which unfortunately didn't exactly work out, opting for a safer choice in Gardenhire makes some sense.
This is not going to be an easy task due to the fact that there’s a good chance that Gardenhire may struggle to make the Tigers a playoff contender within the next few years. The big thing to note here is that Detroit traded Justin Upton and Justin Verlander, two proven veterans who had multiple years left on their contracts, signaled a massive rebuild is on the horizon.
If you recall, two months ago, Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked the Tigers' minor league organization as the 17th-best in MLB. None of Reuter's top five Tigers prospects had progressed beyond Double-A.
Some major factors to consider is the club being on the hook for $74 million over the next three seasons for Jordan Zimmermann and $184 million over the next six seasons for Miguel Cabrera. In particular, Cabrera's contract, puts a serious burden on the Tigers' payroll and limits the team's financial flexibility when the time comes to spend on free agents. Thus, it will be hard to build on what the team already has in place.