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.
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.
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).
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.