DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers today announced 2018 managerial assignments for Double A Erie, Single A Lakeland, Single A West Michigan and Rookie-level Connecticut.
Andrew Graham, who managed Single A Lakeland last season, will take over as the manager for Double A Erie in 2018. Mike Rabelo, who led the West Michigan Whitecaps to a Midwest League regular season title in 2017, will be the new manager for Single A Lakeland. Lance Parrish, who has managed Double A Erie for the last four seasons, will take over as the new manager at Single A West Michigan. Gerald Laird returns for his second season as manager at Rookie-level Connecticut.
The Tigers will announce their full Minor League coaching staffs at a later date.
Andrew Graham (Erie)
Graham, 35, will enter his 10th season with the Tigers organization in 2018 and his first as the manager at Double A Erie after spending last season as the manager at Single A Lakeland. Prior to being named the manager at Lakeland, he spent three seasons as the manager at Single A West Michigan. In 2016, the Whitecaps advanced to the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series after posting a 71-65 record. Graham guided the Whitecaps to the Midwest League championship in 2015, leading the club to a 75-64 record. In his first season as manager at West Michigan in 2014, the Whitecaps posted an 82-48 record and earned their first playoff berth since 2010. Before his time at West Michigan, Graham served three seasons as manager at Rookie-level Connecticut.
In addition to his managerial experience, Graham was a coach with the Gulf Coast League Tigers in both 2009 and 2010 and also served as the organization’s Minor League catching coordinator in 2010. Selected by the Tigers in the 19th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, he spent six seasons (2003-08) in the club’s Minor League system as a catcher.
Graham was an assistant coach with Team Australia during the 2017 World Baseball Classic and saw action as a player in 2006 and 2009. He batted .364 (4×11) with three RBI in three games for Australia in 2009.
Mike Rabelo (Lakeland)
Rabelo, 37, will be entering his first season as manager for the Lakeland Flying Tigers after spending the 2017 season as the manager at Single A West Michigan. The 2017 Midwest League Manager of the Year, Rabelo helped guide the Whitecaps to a Midwest League-leading 91 wins, marking the second time in West Michigan’s 24-year history they won 90-plus games. Prior to his time as the Whitecaps manager, Rabelo spent three seasons as the manager at Rookie-level Connecticut (2014-2016), including a playoff berth in 2014. He also served as a coach with Connecticut for two seasons (2012-2013) and was a coach for the Gulf Coast League Tigers in 2011.
A fourth round selection by the Tigers in the 2001 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Rabelo played professionally for 10 seasons, seeing action at the Minor League level with both the Tigers (2001-2006, 2010) and Florida Marlins (2008-2009). He also played parts of three seasons at the Major League level with the Tigers (2006-07) and Marlins (2008), seeing action in 86 games.
Lance Parrish (West Michigan)
Parrish, 61, takes over the Whitecaps managerial job after spending the previous four seasons as the manager at Double A Erie. His other stints in a coaching capacity within the organization include Tigers Major League bullpen coach (2000, 2003-05) and third base coach (1999, 2001). Parrish has also managed the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League in 2006 and was named inaugural manager of the Midwest League’s Great Lakes Loons in 2007.
Parrish coached with the Dodgers Double A San Antonio affiliate in 1997 and the first half of 1998 and was named manager on June 28, 1998, when Ron Roenicke was promoted to Triple A manager. Parrish guided the team to the Texas League playoffs in 1998. He spent the 1996 season as the Kansas City Royals roving catching instructor.
A first round (16th overall) selection by the Tigers in the 1974 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Parrish spent a total of 19 seasons at the Major League level with the Tigers (1977-86), Philadelphia Phillies (1987-88), California Angels (1989-92), Seattle Mariners (1992), Cleveland Indians (1993), Pittsburgh Pirates (1994) and Toronto Blue Jays (1995). He earned eight All-Star selections (1980, 1982-86, 1988, 1990), three Gold Gloves (1983-85) and six Silver Slugger Awards (1980, 1982-84, 1986, 1990). Parrish was also a member of the Tigers 1984 World Series Championship Team.
Gerald Laird (Connecticut)
Laird, 37, returns for his second season as manager for the Rookie-level Connecticut Tigers. In his first season as manager at Connecticut, he led the team to a 37-35 record, finishing in second place in the New York-Penn League Stedler Division. The 2017 season marked his first stint in any coaching capacity.
Originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the June 1998 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Laird spent parts of 13 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Texas Rangers (2003-08), Tigers (2009-10, 2012), St. Louis Cardinals (2011), Atlanta Braves (2013-14) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2015).
Laird was a member of the Tigers 2012 American League Championship Team and the Cardinals 2011 World Series Championship Team. In his three seasons in Detroit, Laird batted .231 (198×857) in 287 games.