Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/3/13
If Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski wanted to make a bold departure from Jim Leyland's eight-year tenure as the team's field manager, mission accomplished.  According to reports, Brad Ausmus will become Detroit's next manager. Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610 in Houston broke the news. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal later confirmed the report. Ausmus, 44, is currently a special assistant to Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. The former major league catcher had also interviewed for the managerial openings with the Nationals and Cubs.  Ausmus is expected to finalize the deal on Sunday, which makes a formal announcement likely for Monday. Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach and Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon also interviewed for the Tigers' opening. Somewhat surprisingly, Dombrowski didn't talk to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo. But Detroit's GM had clearly already made his decision.  It's obviously quite a risk for Dombrowski to hand the keys to a World Series contender over to a first-time skipper. The safer move would have been to hire someone from Leyland's staff. Both McClendon and bench coach Gene Lamont have previous MLB managerial experience. (Lamont will reportedly be retained on Ausmus' staff.) Third-base coach Tom Brookens also seemed to be viewed favorably by the organizaion at one point, having managed five years in the Tigers' minor league system.  Other outside candidates with World Series titles on their résumé, such as Charlie Manuel and Ozzie Guillen, were also available. Judging from who Dombrowski interviewed, however, he was interested in someone that might bring some new views and approaches to the game.  Ausmus' only experience in the dugout has been as manager of Israel during the World Baseball Classic. (Israel went 2-1 in the qualifying round of the tournament, failing to make the final cut after losing to Spain.) But he's perceived favorably throughout MLB as one of the game's potential bright young minds. Former catchers also seem to have more aptitude for managing, having helped coordinate pitching staffs and defensive alignments from behind the plate. Last year, Ausmus interviewed for the manager's position with the Astros and Red Sox.  The fact that Ausmus only played three of his 18 years with the Tigers (acquired twice in trades by former Detroit GM Randy Smith), yet is still viewed with affection and admiration by the team's fanbase speaks to the positive impression he made in Detroit as a smart, reliable player. Of course, this move could be seen as less risky with other MLB teams taking a chance on first-time managers in recent years. Robin Ventura with the White Sox and the Rockies' Walt Weiss have performed relatively well in their jobs despite a lack of coaching and managerial experience.  The Cardinals' Mike Matheny will surely be held up as an example for how well Ausmus could do, though the two being young and former catchers with their teams are superficial similarities. Naturally, the Tigers would obviously love for Ausmus to be as successful early on as Matheny has been. 

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

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