The Tigers are now in search for 2 new managers to man a pair of jobs – as the club elected not to retain one, while another elected not to return after initially agreeing to do so.
After much speculation, the change at Lakeland has been confirmed. "We will be having a new manager and hitting instructor. Gary Green and Rich Morales were not retained.", stated Lakeland General Manager Todd Pund. Continued Pund, "Glenn Ezell (Tigers' Minor League Coordinator) and Ricky Bennett (Tigers Director of Minor League Operations) in Detroit will make those decisions."
Pund did not speculate on who would replace Green and Morales, but the club certainly will conduct an exhaustive search, seeing as it appeared the organization had finally tired of seeing prospects' development stall in Lakeland. Expect the new positions to be filled soon, so that the new hires will be able to become acclimated to the organization.
On the other side, a bit of a surprise came to the organization recently, as after agreeing to return, Erie SeaWolves manager Rick Sweet elected to leave to take the managerial job for AAA Louisville. The move makes sense for Sweet, who makes his offseason home in the Louisville area. Unfortunately, Sweet's departure means the loss of a solid manager in the organization. Also, no reports yet on who might replace Sweet – although speculation could surround the promotion of current SeaWolves' hitting coach and former Tiger Pete Incaviglia. The organization on the other hand might opt to look outside the organization again – in which case, the possibilities are endless.
So, a once fairly settled situation has quickly emerged as one far more tumultuous. However, the change at Lakeland should be a welcome one – as hopefully a new group in charge will help some of the top prospects in the organization develop at a pivotal pit-stop, especially this season where a number of successful years for the Midwest League Champion Whitecaps will need to validate their performance by repeating as well as improving their showing in 2004.