Sep 25, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire (35) in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
We talked about polarizing managers earlier in this column–one manager that would be very polarizing on the outset would be if the Detroit Tigers added perhaps the best free agent manager out there, Ron Gardenhire.
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Some fans love him and some fans hate him, probably because his Minnesota Twins’ teams annually toyed with the Tigers–staging incredible comebacks to steal away the division from them in 2006 and 2009. The latter of which resulted in the always painful to remember infamous 163rd game loss in the Metrodome.
The fans that love him respect him for the way he managed and was able to keep a constantly influx Twins’ team in contention despite defections due to payroll issues.
Towards the end of his tenure, that fell apart and Gardenhire did not post a winning season his final four seasons but helped Minnesota win six division titles in nine seasons prior to that. Even in the Twins’ tough seasons near the end, the team always seemed to play hard and never gave up no matter the score.
The biggest drawback to Gardenhire is probably his awful postseason record. He won the first series he managed but lost six straight series, unable to post a win in the final three series.
Still those Minnesota teams may have been built to win the division, but not go deep into the playoffs because of their small market, payroll slashing mindset.
Tigers’ ownership has already told their new GM that the wallet is still open. If the Tigers bring in some very good free agents and “reboot” themselves into contention next year, Gardenhire may have a better chance of winning here than he did in Minnesota.
Next: Manny Acta