Detroit Tigers: The most important offseason move

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila watches spring training.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila watches spring training. /
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Detroit Tigers Player Development Option 1: Kenny Graham

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers bench coach George Lombard and manager A.J. Hinch. /

Littlefield’s reassignment meant the Detroit Tigers had to find a replacement to handle the day-to-day duties of the position for the rest of the season. They turned to Kenny Graham, who was originally hired in late 2019 to be the team’s Director of Player Development, with an emphasis on developing hitters. Graham has a solid resume, including stints as a college coach and as the minor-league hitting coordinator for both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Detroit Tigers seem intent on going outside the organization for their new head of player development, but Al Avila said Graham is a candidate. With no minor-league action in 2020, Graham didn’t get much of a chance to prove his value last year, but one could argue 2021 has been one of the Detroit Tigers’ best development years in recent memory. It helps to have high draft picks in the system, but there have also been impressive signs from players like Beau Brieske, Dillon Dingler, Colt Keith, Ryan Kreidler, and Gage Workman.

Still, some of Detroit’s other priority prospects have stagnated, and this may simply be a case of too-little, too-late for Graham. So who might the Tigers target from outside the organization?