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Heyman | Phil Nevin seen as strong candidate for Tigers job

Jon Heyman

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San Francisco Giants third base coach Phil Nevin throws batting practice before the baseball game against the San Diego Padres of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)
AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez

Phil Nevin, a San Francisco Giants coach and former minor-league manager in the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations, is considered a “strong candidate” for the Tigers job, one person familiar with their thinking said.

Tigers GM Al Avila knows Nevin from the three-plus years Nevin managed in the Tigers system, at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, though it’s probably too soon to say if anyone’s considered the favorite — many names have been connected to the job and Avila promises an “extensive” search.

Nevin, a former No. 1 overall draft choice of the Astros and 12-year major league player, managed in the D-backs’ minors before jumping to Bruce Bochy’s staff in San Francisco after losing out to Torey Lovullo for the Arizona managing job. Nevin reportedly has interviewed for major league managing jobs with the Nationals, Marlins, Padres and Astros in addition to the D-backs, with Dusty Baker, Don Mattingly, Bo Porter and Andy Green landing those jobs.

Nevin, who may be best remembered as the guy Houston took No. 1 overall instead of Derek Jeter in the 1992 draft, is said to have come close to a couple of those jobs, including the one in Arizona.

The Tigers have a few good in-house candidates, including hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who previously managed Toledo and was the Mariners manager before he was fired before the 2016 season. However, some took comments about wanting a “fresh start” to mean that an outside candidate may be somewhat more likely.

Two natural candidates are ex-Marlins manager Mike Redmond and ex-Marlins and ex-Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who both know Avila from their time with the Marlins — Redmond as a player on the 1997 World Champions and Gonzalez as a coach and interim manager before Avila went with Dave Dombrowski to Detroit.

In addition to current Tigers coaches Omar Vizquel and Dave Clark, several more names have been connected to the job, at least in the media, including¬†Astros coach Alex Cora, ex-Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, ex-Indians manager Manny Acta, Cubs coach Dave Martinez and Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler, a former Tigers player who’d make an interesting candidate. Former White Sox and Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has also been mentioned, and while that would be an interesting choice, it may be more media-driven than anything.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on FanRagSports.com every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from CBSSports.com, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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