The Detroit Tigers are expected to wrap up their managerial search before the end of the month, and current third base coach/former Marlins (and Braves) manager Fredi González has emerged as the top candidate:
The 53-year-old González is among the more experienced candidates the Tigers have interviewed, compiling a 710-692 record between two managerial stints (2007 to halfway through 2010 with the Marlins, then 2011 to halfway through 2016). Undoubtedly also furthering his cause is the fact that Tigers general manager Al Avila has worked with González before, way back in 1992 during the formative stage of the Marlins expansion, when González was the manager of the Marlins Class-A Lake Erie club and Avila was the assistant director of Latin American operations.
González would continue coaching in the Marlins minor league system for seven more seasons before joining the big league club as their third base coach between 1999 and 2000, working alongside Avila the entire time. After spending some time with the Braves in their minor league system, he was hired as the manager of the Marlins in 2007, where he would remain until midway through 2010 when Loria’s itchy trigger finger finally got the best of him. He is remembered primarily for being well-liked by his players and for bouts of terrible bullpen mismanagement.
González’s tenure saw him garner the most wins in franchise history to that point (276); he was quickly scooped up by the Braves in the following year, where he remained until midway 2016.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself why anyone would want a two-time retread. Well, sure, he’s been fired twice, but that kind of comes with the territory of being a major league manager. It helps to remember that the previous manager of the Tigers, Brad Ausmus, came into the gig with little to no prior coaching experience, so they could be looking for someone with a more robust resume. It’s also been reported that González has been buffing up on his sabermetrics knowledge in an attempt to become a more well-rounded manager.
Third time’s the charm is the phrase rolling around in Al Avila’s head right now. At least, that’s what Fredi González is hoping.