Former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch is the favorite to become the next manager of the Detroit Tigers, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. A final decision is is expected soon, as Detroit is making "decisive progress" toward finalizing a deal.
Hinch managed the Astros from 2015-19, leading the franchise to a World Series title in 2017. He was fired in January and handed a one-year suspension by Major League Baseball for his role in Houston's 2017-18 sign-stealing scandal.
Hinch did not devise the scandal, yet he was punished for his role in allowing it to happen. He expressed regret for his inaction weeks after his firing with SI's Tom Verducci.
“I regret so much about that and it’s so complicated and so deep and there are parts that are hard to talk about but taking responsibility as the manager … it happened on my watch. I’m not proud of that," Hinch said. "I’ll never be proud of it. I didn’t like it. But I have to own it because I was in a leadership position. And the commissioner’s office made it very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure nothing like this happened—and we fell short.”
Hinch led the Astros to the postseason in four of his five seasons as manager, winning two American League pennants. He was hired as the Arizona Diamondbacks manager in the middle of the 2009 season but was fired a little over a year later after just 212 games.
The Tigers are looking to fill their managerial position after former skipper Ron Gardenhire abruptly stepped down in September, citing health reasons. Detroit has not made the postseason since 2014.