The Mud Hens played their first game Sunday in Columbus following the departure of Phil Nevin as the team’s manager.
The Detroit Tigers announced that Nevin would leave the team after Saturday’s home finale. That closed a three-year run that saw Toledo post a 192-238 record.
“Discussing this internally, we felt you can't put all the blame on the manager for the things that have happened with the club," said Dave Owen, Detroit’s director of player development. "We felt it was time for a different leadership here in Toledo.”
Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said making the decision to end Nevins tenure in Toledo was “tough.”
“Phil's done a good job for us,” Dombrowski told MLB.com. “He's a good person. He's worked hard. He's a good man, been part of us for a while.
“Sometimes you just need to change the voice, as [assistant GM] Al Avila said. But it is a difficult decision, because he's a good person who's worked hard for us and given his all.”
Owen said Saturday that it was too early to put together a timetable to select a new Toledo manager. But there are several logical candidates for the job, including two former Mud Hens skippers.
One is Bruce Fields, who led the team in 2001-02. Fields led Toledo to the playoffs in 2002 before taking a spot on then-manager Alan Trammell’s Detroit coaching staff from 2003-05. Fields currently is the Tigers’ minor-league hitting coordinator after spending the previous seven seasons in the Indians organization.
Another logical candidate is Larry Parrish, the winningest manager in Toledo baseball history. Parrish, who was voted into the International League Hall of Fame this year, managed the Tigers in 1998-99 and led the Hens in 1994, 2003-06 and 2008-10. He served as manager of Detroit’s Lo-A team in West Michigan this season.
A third possibility is Double-A Erie manager Chris Cron, who led the SeaWolves to the Eastern League playoffs this season. Before replacing Nevin as Erie manager in 2011, Cron spent 16 yeas as a minor-league manager for the Chicago White Sox and Colorado.
Two other possibilities include Dave Huppert and Kevin Hooper.
Huppert, the manager of the Tigers’ Hi-A Lakeland team the past three years, has been a minor-league manager for 27 seasons and has more than 1,800 career victories.
Hooper, who played for the Mud Hens in 2005-07, has managed Wichita in the independent American Association the past five seasons. This year the Wingnuts have won 66 games to set a single-season American Association record.
After the Mud Hens’ win Saturday, Nevin admitted he would like to manage again.
"Everything I have done in my life has revolved around baseball," he said. "I've done this since I was kid. My family, my friends — everything I have in life is [from] baseball. I almost feel like I owe it to the game to give back to it.
"I'm not the kind of guy who is going to take a break for a year. If something comes up, and it makes sense and is something I'll enjoy doing, absolutely [I will manager again]."