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Detroit Tigers CEO Al Avila talks to reporters on Friday, October 2, 2020 after his team̵

7;s season to share out-of-season expectations.

Detroit Free Press

That Detroit Tigers are “making progress” in finalizing a deal to hire AJ Hinch as their new manager, two people with direct knowledge of the situation told Free Press late Thursday night.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity due to the nature of the discussions.

There is a “real possibility” that an agreement can be reached as soon as Friday, which prevents setbacks in the negotiations, said one of the sources.

On Thursday, Hinch, 46, interviewed general manager Al Avila, just two days after completing his years-long MLB suspension for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros sign stealing plan.

For subscribers: Why the Detroit Tigers are frontrunners in hiring AJ Hinch as manager

Hinch has a career record of 570-452 over parts of seven seasons with the Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks from 2009-19. He has the highest career winning percentage (.594) in Astro’s history with his 481-329 record.

Hinch led the Astros to the 2015 mail season, his first year as manager. It was the organization’s first in the playoffs since 2005. That year, Houston lost in the ALDS to the Kansas City Royals.

In 2017, the Hinch Astros led to a world championship over the Los Angeles Dodgers amid the stealing of signs. Despite losing to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS in 2018, the Astros returned to the 2019 World Series and lost to the Washington Nationals.

He was suspended and fired from the Astros on January 13, 2020 – along with general manager Jeff Luhnow. Bench coach Alex Cora, most recently manager of the Boston Red Sox, also received his one-year suspension in April for his role in the action.

Tiger general manager Al Avila considered Cora for the managerial job in the early stages of his search, but it is unclear whether Cora was interviewed.

“I can not say that I have eliminated anyone,” Avila said on October 2. “Obviously the scam is not a good thing. They are earning their suspensions. And when their suspension is over, they will be free to pursue their careers. We have not removed anyone from our list at this time … I have them on my list. “

The Tigers have reportedly interviewed at least 10 candidates while waiting for Hinch’s suspension to be completed.

The list includes: Tigers interim manager Lloyd McClendon, New York Yankees frame coach Marcus Thames, Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin, Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza, Chicago Cubs third base coach Will Venable, Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach George Lombard, Kansas City Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol, Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay and Atlanta Braves catch catcher Sal Salano.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.