Larry Parrish named Braves hitting coach

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Just when it looked like the Tigers had their minor league coaching staffs filled, they have a big void to fill in Toledo. The Braves named Larry Parrish as their hitting coach on Friday, ending his seven-season stint as Mud Hens manager.
Parrish is the winningest manager in Hens history. Except for a 2007 season lost to ankle surgery, he’d been there since 2003, an amazing tenure for a minor-league skipper at any level. He led them to back-to-back International League titles in 2005 and ’06, and he was named Sporting News manager of the year for his efforts. They’ve been around a .500 team the last few years, due in no small part to a short-handed roster from injuries and call-ups, but he played his part in developing players.
“Larry has a great reputation in the game and came highly recommended,” new Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “His background truly speaks for itself.”
It’s great news for Parrish, whose last big-league stint was as Tigers manager in 1999. He moved his offseason home to Georgia a few years ago, so he’ll be close to home. It’s tougher news, of course, for the Tigers, who now have a big position to fill and no automatic conclusions to filling it.
Tigers vice president and assistant general manager Al Avila said Friday evening that it’s too early to tell which way they’ll go in filling the post. He added they will look at candidates outside the organization as well as internal options. Atlanta had to get permission to interview Parrish, so the Tigers have been kept up to speed on the move. They also gave a glowing recommendation for Parrish.
The internal options aren’t numerous. Phil Nevin just completed his first season at Double-A Erie, while Detroit just hired Ernie Young to manage at low Class A West Michigan. Nevin could be a candidate, but it’s far from an automatic promotion. Joe DePastino just went from Whitecaps manager to roving catching instructor and supposedly likes the idea of being home more often. Another internal possibility could be Andy Barkett, who has managed at Class A Lakeland for three years.
As for guys outside the system, an intriguing name is Matt Walbeck, let go by the Pirates in a bizarre move after leading Double-A Altoona to the Eastern League title this year. Walbeck is rumored to be seeking a job on a big-league coaching staff, but might be enticed to Triple-A as a potential springboard to the Majors. He knows the system, having managed at West Michigan and Erie before leaving to take a third-base coaching job in Texas after the 2007 season.
Another intriguing thought: Would a Bruce Fields return be out of the question? He managed the Hens in 2001 and ’02, spent three years on Alan Trammell’s coaching staff, then was out when Jim Leyland was hired as manager. He has been a roving instructor in the Indians farm system since. It would be retracing his steps, obviously, but would being close to home again with the possibility of managing his son in a couple years bring him back?
One thought raised by John Wagner at the Toledo Blade was Kevin Hooper, who reportedly turned down the West Michigan job earlier to stay with the independent team in Wichita. There’s a big difference on many levels between managing low Class A and managing at Triple-A, and the latter might have more appeal to him. Again, though, his managerial experience is limited to the past two years in Wichita.

12 Comments

Looks like there’s a lot of activity going on, even as we wait for the “hot stove” portion of the baseball year to begin in a week to ten days.
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Good on Brandon Inge for winning the Marvin Miller Award. My own kids were treated at Motts Children’s Hospital so I always feel a special connection there. As frustrating as Brandon can be on the field sometimes, he remains a very special Tiger player.
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Good to see Larry Parrish get back to the bigs, although he’ll be missed by the Detroit organization. We couldn’t pick up one of the Atlanta pitchers in return? :-)
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I look for the Rangers to come out of their shell once back home, and am expecting a seven game series. I don’t think the Texas bullpen is a real strong part of their club, but I also don’t think they’re as bad as we’ve seen lately.
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–Rich

There was teriffic debate on MLB Network tonight regarding some of Washington’s moves with his pen. Some thouight Feliz should have been brought in and others thought Ron pulled the string too fast on another. Interesting debate because I also questioned some of his bullpen changes myself. Reminded me a little bit of Smokey. In his interview, Washington said he never thought about putting in Felez nor did he second guess himself on his other moves. “They just didn’t work out” is basically what he said. He conducts himself in interviews and on-camera about as well as any manager I’ve seen. Straightforward without any anger or emotion. I think Texas will rebound at home…..at least, I hope they do. Nolan Ryan looks sick to his stomach.
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Seems like there are lots of coaches moving around to different teams that’s for sure. I’ve read a rumor about
Leon Durham. Hope it’s not true.

Most managers conduct themselves better than our guy when it comes to on-camera interviews. Most (all) managers also follow the bullpen formula that can leave you losing a close game without using your best relief pitcher. There are two ways to look at that. It just seems that if I went into a series and got swept four games and never used my best guy, I couldn’t sleep at night. I seem to recall us doing that in Boston in August of ’09, the Porcello-Youkilis series. JL saved pitchers that he ended up never using at all.
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I don’t think I’m reading too much into things when I note that Atlanta thought Parrish to be worthy of the hitting coach position, and other clubs are thinking the same thing in regard to Durham. And here we are with our staff. You can guess where I’m going with this.
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–Rich

Leon Durham has interviewed for the hitting coach job on Eric Wedge’s staff in Seattle. No word yet on how that search has turned out.

Does Bull Durham get any consideration for the managerial post in Toledo?

Strange how he could have interviewed with Seattle so quickly when the M’s just announced their new manager.

How about Ryne Sandberg for Toledo? He was passed over for the Cubs job and, though supposedly offered his Iowa job again for this coming season, may want out of the Cubs organization. With Leyland probably leaving after a year or two, Sandberg might see a future with the Tiger organization. He has had success as a minor league manager and his players have raved about him. He was greatly disappointed with the Cubs’ decision – could he be someone the Tigers seriously consider?

Toledo will miss you Larry! The turnout at the Hens games this summer when he was trying to get most wins by a manager were tremendous – they unfortunately hit a losing streak at that time!

He has been a tremendous asset to the system and best wishes to him. Seems like a lot of our guys do great when they are in Toledo and Larry and Leon are a big part of that I think.

Not sure if I am the voice of reason or (t)reason.
But let me throw this out there, even if it is a fait accompli.
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Brandon Inge was 14 out of 18 in bat Avg among qualified 3B men.
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13/18 in homers.
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12/18 in RBI.
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5th most in strikeouts.
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Granted, he finished 2nd to Placido in fielding %.
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In my estimation this is a very mediocre solution to an offensive production defecit in our lineup.
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We get Crawford AND Dunn then maybe you can absorb the offensive challenges of Inge, Avila and a rookie 2B man.

Inge is not a solution to any offensive problems. He isn’t intended to be. Assuming Beltre does not want to come here or wants to stay in Boston, who else would you get barring a trade that is any better offensively? Defensively? If you can get a guy who hits 20 HR and drives in 80 (and there aren’t even many/any of those available) , but makes 2x as many errors, would you? Especially as it would also weaken SS defensively?
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Anyone who thinks the Tigers should have gotten a better C, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF and DH, SP and 2 RP has to realize that there is only a legitimate shot at improving maybe half of those positions. And so what if you improve half of them and go backwards in half of them by signing someone even worse than who we have?
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There isn’t enough money available to sign big name FAs at every one of those spots, nor are there even big-name FAs available at all of those spots. The Tigers certainly do not have a ton of prospects left that would net 4 or 5 upgrades in trades, unless you literally want to trade every one of our viable prospects. What you do is determine what positions you can improve at and make damn sure you don’t regress at the others. Since free agency and trading won’t happen until after the Series, all they can do now is re-sign guys like Inge. And if I have to keep a few of the old guys, I would be much happier keeping the AL’s leading 3b baseman in fielding %, who was an All-Star as recently as 2009, and who is well-liked by the fans (remember attendance counts when it comes to spending on players), who enables me to sign a less-defensively inclined SS and who is content batting 7th or 8th.
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If no other additions are made, and it turns out the Tigers could have had a much better 3B than Inge, then yes, bad re-sign. But who can delineate an offseason that makes sense offensively, defensively, PR-wise and financially (remember Inge is coming back cheaper, so is theoretically a slightly better value than he was last year) that is so much better that does not include bringing Inge back, or even Peralta for that matter?

Hi guys. I don’t think it’s about Brandon Inge, and I don’t know why he garners so much attention. If you’re planning to bring in offensive upgrades, then of course you sign him for two more years on the cheap. Same with Peralta, for that matter. There’s no offense out there at third and short unless you want to give up a ton of prospects.
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With all due respect to Drew Sharp, patterning the Tigers after the Giants is not the way to go about business. In the first place, the Giants starters are way better than the ones we have. In the second place, SF edged into the playoffs with their crusty old veterans, then got on one of those mojo-laden rolls. This happens in baseball, it’s unpredictable, and suggesting that this is the way to build a team shows a lack of understanding of the game. I, for one, don’t want to wait ten years for that one magical season.
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All that aside, congratulations to the 2010 Giants for pulling it off. Further congrats to Renteria for being MVP, and to Huff for getting into a postseason that he should have enjoyed last year. That red sequined rally thong finally paid off.
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So another season is in the books. I hope I get to see many more. On to the off……….season.
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–Rich

No it’s not at all about Brandon Inge, it is about the front office’s happy talk and charade when it acts like they are putting a championship competitive group together at the same time they are maintaining the status quo.
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Inge will be just fine if the club actually goes out and strengthens itself in at LEAST 2 offensive slots elsewhere.
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Last year management was wanting to have the fans believe that Inge, Laird, Sizemore and Everett could unseat Minnesota. If that isn’t a crock I don’t know what is.
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If they start promoting Guillen and Ordonez as power hitters next year then I think we can all see where this will be going.

No it’s not at all about Brandon Inge, it is about the front office’s happy talk and charade when it acts like they are putting a championship competitive group together at the same time they are maintaining the status quo.
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Inge will be just fine if the club actually goes out and strengthens itself in at LEAST 2 offensive slots elsewhere.
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Last year management was wanting to have the fans believe that Inge, Laird, Sizemore and Everett could unseat Minnesota. If that isn’t a crock I don’t know what is.
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If they start promoting Guillen and Ordonez as power hitters next year then I think we can all see where this will be going.

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