Former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch, whose one-year suspension for his role in the team's sign-stealing scandal ended this week, has emerged as the leading candidate to be the Detroit Tigers' new manager, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.
According to MLB Network, Hinch interviewed with the Tigers on Thursday.
Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire retired in mid-September, and the Tigers wound up with a 23-35 record, last place in the American League Central.
Hinch led the Astros to a World Series championship in 2017 and another World Series berth in 2019, but he was fired by the club in January after Major League Baseball's investigation into sign-stealing allegations.
MLB ruled that the Astros illegally stole signs in 2017, and it issued one-year bans for both Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. The club fired both shortly after the punishments were announced.
The Tigers weren't dissuaded from talking to Hinch despite the stain on his resume. Detroit general manager Al Avila acknowledged earlier this month that both Hinch and Alex Cora would be given consideration. Cora, Houston's bench coach in 2017, was fired as manager of the Boston Red Sox in January after MLB's ruling regarding the Astros' misdeeds.
MLB subsequently suspended Cora for a year based on his actions with the Astros. The Red Sox also were found to have stolen signs illegally in 2018, when Cora managed them to a World Series title, but he wasn't given any additional punishment for his possible involvement in those misdeeds.
Hinch, 46, produced a 481-329 record in five years leading the Astros after compiling an 89-123 mark in part of two seasons as the Arizona Diamondbacks' manager (2009-10). Between the two managerial gigs, he worked in the San Diego Padres' front office.
A catcher during a playing career that saw him compete for the Oakland A's, the Kansas City Royals, Detroit and the Philadelphia Phillies from 1998-2004, Hinch served as minor league operations manager and director of player development for the Diamondbacks prior to his first managerial job.
--Field Level Media