- Dan tweeted to me: "Can you offer a hypothesis on why Phil Nevin was let go as Mud Hens manager?"
Dear Dan: Appreciate the question. Before I answer it, may I please offer a few links to get everyone up to speed?
First, click here to read the news that former Hens manager Phil Nevin was named Monday as the new manager for the Reno, Nev., team in the Pacific Coast League. Click here to read the story on the day after he was let go by the Tigers. Click here to read some other reporting, including more quotes and analysis, following Nevin's departure.
Dan, I could say some of the same things the Tigers said in announcing the change, things like, "The team needs to hear a new voice," or "We want to go in a new direction."
But I think there are two elements that fueled the move. The first was a three-year span of losing records, and the second was a capable replacement waiting in the wings.
Nevin's three Mud Hens teams all had losing records. Last year Toledo was 61-83 and was just one game better than the team with the worst record in the International League. The year before the Hens were 60-84 and again had the second-worst record in the IL. In 2011 Nevin's team was 67-77, giving Toledo a 188-244 record the past three seasons.
Were those three losing seasons completely Nevin's fault? Of course not. None of those three teams were especially talented, and the Tigers often left Toledo short-handed in their pursuit of pennants -- which is their right. But much of the blame falls on the manager, fairly or unfairly.
The second reason is that Detroit had a replacement in mind. Larry Parrish was named as Nevin's replacement roughly a month ago, and he has extensive experience with Toledo and the Mud Hens. Further, the Tigers liked his work when he was here as a Triple-A manager. Click here to read the story when Parrish was named as the Hens' manager for 2014.
When Parrish returned to the Tigers organization last season, the only managerial opening was at Lo-A West Michigan, and Parrish took the job. But Detroit thought he was more valuable in Toledo, working with players on the verge of making it to the majors, than he was working with first-year pros at West Michigan, so Detroit made the move to return him to Toledo.
On a personal note, I liked working with both managers. It's great to have Parrish return to Toledo, and it's great to see Nevin land on his feet with a job closer to his San Diego home.
Thanks for writing, John.
Want more? Click here to read the story from the Reno newspaper talking about Nevin's hiring.
Want to learn more about last year's Mud Hens? Click here to view the complete list of 2013 Toledo post-season player reports.