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Yankees Rumors: Tigers Considering Marcus Thames to Replace Ron Gardenhire

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2020

Former New York Yankee Marcus Thames is introduced during Old Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Following the resignation of Ron Gardenhire, the Detroit Tigers are looking at New York Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames as their next manager, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Morosi elaborated on the situation:

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

#Tigers expected to consider A.J. Hinch, Will Venable, George Lombard, Vance Wilson, Don Kelly, Pedro Grifol, and Mike Redmond for managerial vacancy, among others, in addition to internal candidate Lloyd McClendon. Strong list for an appealing job. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

#Tigers probably won't move quickly to hire their next manager. Venable, Lombard, and Thames could be in postseason bubbles during October -- thus complicating interview logistics -- and Hinch won't become eligible until after the World Series. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Thames spent 10 years in MLB as a player, with six of those seasons coming in Detroit. The 43-year-old last played in 2011 and began his coaching career in 2013 as the hitting coach for the Tampa Yankees in High-A.

Thames worked his way up the ladder, assuming the same role with the Double-A Trenton Thunder in 2014 and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in 2015. The Yankees promoted him to their staff as assistant hitting coach ahead of the 2016, and he assumed the top role in February 2018.

Luis Sojo worked with Thames in Tampa and explained in an April 2018 interview with Thomas Golianopoulos for Yankees Magazine how Thames could be stern with younger players when he needed to get his point across.

"He got into their faces when he needed to," Sojo said. "But the next day, I would see him sitting in the dugout with the same guys, explaining what they needed to do. The players really respected him for that."

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Greg Bird provided some more insight after having played under Thames in the minors:

"What makes a hitting coach a good hitting coach is their ability to adapt to each player. There could be little things in my swing, little words that I use that wouldn't make any sense to you but they might mean the same thing in a weird way. Like I say 'Stay Back,' you say 'Go Forward,' but in our minds we're talking about the same thing. Marcus has been good at that, at being able to understand what type of hitter he has and adapt to him."

Given how quickly he rose through New York's organization, it's probably a matter of time before Thames gets the opportunity to manage his own MLB team.

His experience working with younger players in the minors would suit him well in Detroit since the Tigers are looking more toward the future after bottoming out in 2019 with 47 wins.

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