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The Pirates bench coach will take over the Tigers Triple-A club
On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that former Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Tom Prince would be the new manager of the Toledo Mud Hens. The Tigers Triple-A franchise was previously managed by Doug Mientkiewicz in 2018 and 2019, but was not brought back for the 2020 season.
Tom Prince fits the model of many baseball managers: former catcher, with 17 years of play under his belt, the bulk of them spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates, turned minor league manager, turned major league bench coach.
He certainly has the lifetime spent in baseball that many find appealing in a managerial candidate. According to Vice President of Player Development Dave Littlefield, Prince embodied the exact qualities they wanted when it came to leading the future generation of Tigers’ big leaguers.
Littlefield enthused , “When the search for a Triple-A manager began, we prioritized finding someone with experience in developing high-level talent and creating a winning culture… It was clear from the beginning that Tom Prince fit that mold perfectly, and we’re thrilled to have him lead our staff in Toledo.”
It’s obvious that the Tigers have an eye towards the future, and they spoke highly of the part Prince will play in that. Littlefield said of the new hire, “Tom will be working with many of our top prospects in Toledo, and we’re confident that his leadership both in the clubhouse and on the field will be impactful and will prepare them to excel at the Major League level.”
As a bench coach, it’s hard to judge Prince’s record, though in the single game in 2019 in which he served as interim manager, the Pirates lost.
It does show a lean towards a more classic ideal of a manager, and not a bold, outside-the-box selection. The Tigers clearly have a plan in mind for the future, and see Prince as the ideal candidate to help get them there.
For his part, Prince was quick to call out fundamentals as a core focus. “People across baseball have noticed the young core of talented players the Tigers have built over the last few years,” Prince said. “And I’m looking forward to working with some of the club’s top prospects in Toledo during the 2020 season and beyond. We’ll have a focus on playing fundamentally sound and winning baseball, best preparing these men to contribute with the big league club in the near future.”