In case you missed it, earlier this week the Detroit Tigers informed Brad Ausmus that his contract would not be renewed after this season.
Everything looked great after his first year as manager, as the Tigers won the American League Central division. But that would be the last of the winning for the Tigers under Ausmus’ control. In the three years after winning the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers have a record of 222-255. This record could improve or decline slightly, considering the 2017 season is not over, but after a successful first season, it’s clear Ausmus and the Tigers were headed in the wrong direction.
Many fans were calling for Ausmus’ firing after the Tigers missed the postseason for the second consecutive season last year, but the team decided to give him another shot, and it hasn’t panned out. Now, lets be clear, not all of the Tigers’ losing and troubles have been his fault. Sure he hasn’t helped, but he can only do so much with a bullpen that is one of the worst in the majors, a lineup that has aging veterans with bad contracts and a general manager making trades that bring in young players with little to no major league experience.
I believe Ausmus can be a good manager if put in the right situation. The Tigers weren’t a great situation for all of the reasons mentioned above. The Tigers gave him his first coaching gig and he should get another chance somewhere else.
Now that the Tigers have moved on from Ausmus, they need a new manager. Three names that I’ve heard the most are Ron Gardenhire, Lloyd McClendon and Omar Vizquel.
Gardenhire is known most notably for his time managing the Minnesota Twins from 2002-2014. If the Tigers choose to hire someone outside of the current staff, Gardenhire should be the ball clubs first option. He has a proven track record of winning and has experience working with rebuilding teams. In the final few years of his time with the Twins, the team wasn’t great and he helped younger players get acclimated to the big leagues.
Now, if the Tigers are going to hire from within, I think McCledon should be the choice based on his experience. He has seven years of MLB managing experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners and was also the manager of the the Toledo Mud Hens for a short time. The one knock on McClendon would be his lack of major success as a manager, but his experience and trust he’s built with Al Avila gives him a leg up on anyone in the organization at the moment.
The dark horse candidate to earn the managing position is Vizquel. Vizquel doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he does have some, including managing Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic back in March. As of now, Vizquel is the Tigers’ first base coach and he’s done a pretty good job at that position. Like McClendon, Vizquel has the trust of the organization and would be a good option for the Tigers. However, if the Tigers are able to hire Gardenhire or McClendon, they should.
The Tigers were just swept by the Minnesota Twins over the weekend and will have a day off Monday before heading to Kansas City on Tuesday to begin a three game series. The Tigers will then head to Minnesota to end the season with a three game series against the Twins.
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