When the Detroit Tigers take the field for the first time in 2018, things will look much different than they did at the start of the 2017 season. Not only will they have quite a few different players on their Opening Day 25-man roster compared to last season but they will also have a new voice in the clubhouse, as long-time Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been hired for the same position with the Tigers.
Of course, the first order of business when a new manager is brought on is to build a staff around him.
According to reports, that is exactly what the Tigers have begun doing as they are hiring former Twins bench coach Joe Vavra to assume “a similar role” in Detroit and former Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson to be their bullpen coach.
“It was a really tough decision because of my indebtedness to the Twins,” said Vavra, who signed a two-year deal. “It was a really tough decision to leave [manager] Paul Molitor.”
Vavra, 57, joined the Twins in 2002 as minor league field coordinator and moved to the majors in 2006 as hitting coach. He was third base coach in 2013-14, then became the bench coach in 2015 when Molitor replaced Gardenhire as manager.
Anderson, who is 60-years-old, was with the Twins from 2002-2014, all of those years under Gardenhire. When Gardenhire’s contract was terminated by the Twins in 2014, Anderson was informed that he too would not be returning for the 2015 season.
Though neither of these moves has been officially announced by the Tigers, they are expected to be made official before too long.
On Monday, news broke that the Tigers would not be bringing back bench coach Gene Lamont for the 2018 campaign.