PHOENIX — For the first time, AJ Hinch was publicly asked about his contract with the Detroit tigers† Fans want to know if Hinch, one of the best managers in baseball and a 2017 World Series champion, plans to stay.
Hinch, given the chance to set the record straight, clearly declined to answer contract questions beforehand Series opener from Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field†
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The investigation in the visitor’s dugout resulted from: a June 22 report from Ken Rosenthal. from The Athleticwho broke down the organization’s failures under general manager Al Avila and revealed some details of Hinch’s contract.
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The Tigers Hinch hired in October 2020after being banned for a season for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal† According to Rosenthal, Hinch’s contract will run for five years, from 2021 to 2025, which neither the Tigers nor Hinch have disclosed.
In October 2017, the Tigers announced a three-year contract for manager Ron Gardenhire. In November 2013, the Tigers announced a three-year contract for manager Brad Ausmus, with a club option for a fourth season.
Before Friday’s game, Hinch was asked about the length of his contract.
“I really never talk about it because it’s never really been a problem for me,” Hinch said. “There was attention to it earlier in the season. There was nothing to report. There was nothing to talk about. I’m here to hopefully build a winner and be a part of this for a long time. I didn’t understand why it was a problem when someone first mentioned my contract. I don’t see why it should be a problem now.”
Rosenthal’s report states that Avila said Hinch does not have an opt-out clause in his contract.
The opt-out clause was a hot topic – and a cause for concern – since April 2021, when Lynn Henning of Detroit News reported: Hinch’s contract includes an opt-out clause, allowing the skipper to skip the city if the organization fails to deliver on expectations and promises.
For 14 months, rumors circulated about Hinch’s possible early retirement. Perhaps he would return to the Astros, some fans speculated. The Tigers did not act quickly to destroy the initial report, but allowed the idea of Hinch’s opt-out clause to grow for over a year.
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There are now conflicting reports at a time when the Tigers have the third-worst record in the American League, 28-43 starting Sunday and 11 games in first place in the AL Central. Avila let the five-year renovation rest during spring training and expressed the team’s goal of making it to the playoffs in 2022.
“Our wonderful manager AJ Hinch has set the bar high this year,” says Avila. said March 18, spoke to fans through a microphone at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. “We want to go back to the postseason. That is our goal.”
Of course, fans will want to know if there is any language in Hinch’s contract that would give him the chance to leave the Tigers for another managerial position before fulfilling the terms of his current deal.
Hinch was also asked about this.
“I’m not going to talk about a contract,” Hinch said. “I don’t have to do that. I’m the manager of the Tigers. They’ve signed me here for a long time. I feel good to be here.”
Hinch’s agent, Jon Rosen of William Morris Endeavour, declined to comment to the Free Press, citing his client’s confidential agreement with the Tigers. Avila also declined to comment to the Free Press, citing the fact that he had already commented on Hinch’s contract to Rosenthal.
“Hopefully that can all be over,” Hinch said, “and we can focus on getting a better product on the field.”
Contact Evan Petzold at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold† Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers Newsletter†
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ AJ Hinch won’t squash contract speculation