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Detroit Tigers fire Triple-A Toledo manager Tom Prince after first-place finish


The Detroit Tigers have fired Triple-A Toledo manager Tom Prince, leaving the Mud Hens with a vacancy entering the offseason.

Prince, 57, carried Toledo to a first-place finish in the Midwest Division and a 74-56 record in 2021. He was informed Tuesday that he would not return for 2022, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press.

For now, the Tigers seem prepared to keep the rest of their minor league managers into next season: Arnie Beyeler at Double-A Erie, Brayan Pena at High-A West Michigan and Andrew Graham at Low-A Lakeland.

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Pittsburgh Pirates acting manager Tom Prince, center, sits in the dugout with first base coach Kimera Bartee, right, before a baseball game against the New York Mets in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Prince, the team's bench coach, was filling in for manager Clint Hurdle, who was serving a two-game suspension as a result of his involvement in a bench-clearing brawl during a baseball against the Cincinnati Reds earlier that week.

Pittsburgh Pirates acting manager Tom Prince, center, sits in the dugout with first base coach Kimera Bartee, right, before a baseball game against the New York Mets in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Prince, the team’s bench coach, was filling in for manager Clint Hurdle, who was serving a two-game suspension as a result of his involvement in a bench-clearing brawl during a baseball against the Cincinnati Reds earlier that week.

The success from the Mud Hens marked their third winning season since 2012 and their best record since 2007. By the end of the year, the roster featured a handful of rising prospects on the offensive side: Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Ryan Kreidler and Kody Clemens.

Toledo infielder Aderlin Rodriguez earned the Triple-A East MVP award for hitting .290 with 29 home runs and 94 RBIs across 116 games. The 29-year-old made 43 starts at first base, 31 starts at third base and 41 starts at designated hitter.

Behind Prince’s dismissal is an overhaul in the Tigers’ player development department.

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The restructuring began in late August, when vice president of player development Dave Littlefield was demoted to a new role. The Tigers replaced him in September with Ryan Garko, the new head of player development, who has a knack for analytics and coach development.

Prince was a big-league catcher for 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1987-93), Los Angeles Dodgers (1994-98), Philadelphia Phillies (1999-20), Minnesota Twins (2001-03) and Kansas City Royals (2003).

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Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Tom Prince shown against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 13, 2018 at Chase Field.

Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Tom Prince shown against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 13, 2018 at Chase Field.

He began his post-playing career in 2005, when Littlefield — then the Pirates general manager — tabbed him as a minor-league coach. Prince remained with the Pirates’ organization until 2019, when Littlefield hired him to run the Mud Hens.

In the aftermath of Littlefield’s demotion, the Tigers moved on from Prince, too, despite the Mud Hens’ stellar performance in 2021.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com 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 fire Triple-A Toledo manager Tom Prince



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