PHOENIX. This is the first time AJ Hinch has been publicly asked about his contract with Detroit Tigers. Fans want to know if Hinch, one of baseball’s top managers and 2017 World Series champion, plans to stay.
Hinch, given the chance to clarify, refused to answer questions about the contract with clarity until Opening Friday Series vs. Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
An investigation in the visitor’s dugout was called Reporting by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic on 22 June.who took apart the organization’s failures under general manager El Avila and revealed some details of Hinch’s contract.
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Tigers hired Hinch in October 2020.after he served a season ban for his role in the Houston Astros sign theft scandal. According to Rosenthal, Hinch’s contract is for five years, from 2021 to 2025, which neither the Tigers nor Hinch have disclosed.
In October 2017 Tigers announced a three-year contract for manager Ron Gardenhair. In November 2013, the Tigers announced a three-year contract for manager Brad Osmus 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 been a problem for me,” Hinch said. “Attention was brought to this at the beginning of the season. There was nothing to report. There was nothing to talk about. I’m here to hopefully create a winner and be a part of it for the long haul. it was a problem when someone first mentioned my contract. I don’t see why it would be a problem now.”
Included in Rosenthal’s report, Ávila said that Hinch did not have an opt-out clause in his contract.
The opt-out clause has been a hot topic and cause for concern. since April 2021 when Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reported Hinch’s contract includes an opt-out clause allowing the skipper to leave town if the organization fails to live up to expectations and promises.
Rumors circulated for 14 months of Hinch’s possible early departure. He may return to the Astros, some fans have speculated. The Tigers did not act quickly to crush the initial report, but let the idea of the Hinch opt-out clause vegetate for more than a year.
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Now there are conflicting reports at a time when the Tigers have the third-worst record in the American League, 28-43 on Sunday and 11 games without a No. 1 spot in the AL Central. Ávila ended a five-year rebuild in spring training and voiced the team’s goal of reaching the playoffs in 2022.
“Our great manager AJ Hinch has set the bar high this year,” Avila. said March 18addressing fans through a microphone at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. “We want to come back in the postseason. This is our goal.”
Naturally, fans want to know if there is any language in Hinch’s contract that would give him the option to leave the Tigers for another management position before fulfilling his current deal.
Hinch was also asked about this.
“I’m not going to talk about any contract,” Hinch said. “I do not need it. I’m the manager of the Tigers. They signed me here for a long time. I feel good here.”
Hinch’s agent, John Rosen of William Morris Endeavor, declined to comment for Free Press, citing his client’s confidential agreement with the Tigers. Ávila also declined to comment to Free Press, citing that he had already commented on Hinch’s contract to Rosenthal.
“Hopefully this is all over with,” Hinch said, “and we can just focus on improving the product in the field.”
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers AJ Hinch Won’t Deny Contract Rumors