Detroit Tigers Manager Candidate: Pedro Grifol

The Detroit Tigers per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, are talking to Kansas City Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol about the vacant manager’s position.

Add another name to the Detroit Tigers managerial search. This afternoon, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that Pedro Grifol is getting heavy consideration for the vacant position.

We have been discussing the various candidates ranging from George Lombard to recently, our write up about Alex Cora. Grifol to some, he may be a new name to some but he was also a candidate in 2017 as Morosi reported then.  But as we have recently, we look at who is Pedro Grifol and why he could be either a good or bad fit in Detroit.

A variety of hats

Grifol originally joined the Royals as the team’s hitting coach in 2013 after spending 13 years with the Seattle Mariners. With Seattle, he a bit of everything, ranging from an area scout to Triple-A manager and then to the director of minor league operations.  As Alec Lewis of the Athletic highlighted($), it was his experience helping out players like Salvador Perez and Jorge Soler that got his phone ringing for interviews, including being a finalist for the Giants position last year.

If you recall, Jorge Soler hit 48 home runs last season and credited Grifol for his success last season. His official title is quality control/ catching coach. The quality control title may sound familiar to Tigers fans as Joe Varva had the same role in 2019.

Drafted in the 6th round by the Twins in 1991 as a catcher, Grifol has a good grasp of the position as demonstrated here, talking the fundamentals of catching.  Not something you see every day but here he is, giving catching tips to fans on the Royals YouTube page.

Why Pedro Grifol would be a good fit for the Detroit Tigers

For one, look at his experience, going back to his days in Seattle with the many roles he has had. Of all the candidates the Tigers have been talking to that are managers who have managed elsewhere, his experience is unique because he comes from the player development level. He has scouted, helped develop minor league talent in Seattle, and has managed there in their farm system.  Compared to Marcus Thames, George Lombard and even his follow coaching staff member Vance Wilson, that stands out.

Plus, he is bilingual, and for anyone who speaks two languages, to have someone you can talk to in your native tongue is another level of comfortability. At 50 years old, he has the right mix of age and experience. Detroit has Jake Rogers and Dillon Dinger as the next “catchers of the future” and they will be needing one to take over in 2021. Grifol’s experience with Perez, who has been one of the better catchers in the American League, could help Rogers and Dinger.

He embraces analytics, which is huge for a franchise that is still looking for their way to use the knowledge more on a consistent basis.

If you get a chance, check out of how he would approach being a manager on a podcast he did with Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports Radio out of Kansas City. Pretty interesting stuff including where he gets leadership from. (19:45-towards the end) 

Why Pedro Grifol would not be a good fit for the Detroit Tigers

The only minus I can say is a lack of major league managerial experience as this would be his first manager’s job. Al Avila has spoken about wanting a manager with experience. Some Tigers fans do not want another repeat of Brad Ausmus but the difference is Ausmus had just three seasons as a special assistant in San Diego. Grifol’s experience at the various levels speaks for itself.