Tigers Busy Adding New Managers
DETROIT—Tigers farm director Mike Rojas has had a busy offseason.
Certainly others in Rojas' position are busy as they prepare for the 2011 season. But Rojas, who was named to his new job in August, has shouldered the added responsibility of finding five new minor league managers.
Earlier this offseason, two former Tigers received jobs in the organization as Phil Nevin was promoted from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo while Ernie Young was named manager at low Class A West Michigan.
Two veteran minor league skippers, Chris Cron and Dave Huppert, and one newcomer to managing, Andrew Graham, received managing jobs in the organization.
Cron, who takes over for Nevin at Erie, spent the past 16 seasons as a minor league manager for the Rockies and White Sox. Cron played briefly in the majors with the Angels and the White Sox, and he has managerial experience at nearly every level of the game. The 46-year-old spent the past three seasons in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he was named manager of the year last season and won a league title in 2008.
Huppert, who takes over at high Class A Lakeland, also is new to the system but the 53-year-old has 1,609 career victories in 23 years of managing in the minors. Huppert, who had cups of coffee in the majors with Baltimore and Milwaukee, has managed at nearly every level and won titles in the high Class A Florida State League with Brevard County in '01 and Clearwater in '07.
Graham, 28, played and coached in the organization, advancing as high as Triple-A and playing for his native Australia in the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and '09. He takes over as manager for short-season Connecticut. Graham spent the previous two years as a coach for Detroit's Rookie-level Gulf Coast League entry and also was the organization's roving catching instructor.
• Among the Tigers' minor league signings is shortstop Argenis Diaz. The slick-fielding Diaz, who will be 24 on Opening Day, hit .242/.306/.273 in 22 games for the Pirates last season and was on Pittsburgh's 40-man roster for a time.
• The stock of outfielder Andy Dirks continues to rise. Dirks, who hit .375/.398/.648 in a 22-game stint with Toledo late last season, ranked among the Dominican League leaders in average (.315) and RBIs (26) in 46 games for Toros del Este.