Brad Ausmus is a Detroit Tiger for the third time in his 44 years on this planet. The former Major League catcher will replace Jim Leyland as the Tigers’ manager, a story that was broken by Adam Spolane, an employee at a Houston radio station.
Ausmus, who has no professional managing experience, interviewed with three different clubs this offseason and quickly became one of the hottest managerial candidates around. He had been a special assistant with the San Diego Padres since 2010. He spent 18 seasons in the big leagues, including two stints with the Tigers. The Tigers traded for him and then traded him away two different times. Ausmus interviewed with Tigers’ President and CEO Dave Dombrowski on Monday.
Dombrowski also had interviewed Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach.
It’s a peculiar hire to say the least, mainly because of Ausmus’ lack of managing experience. It is no secret that the Tigers are built to win now, so there will not be any time for growing pains for Ausmus. The support of a first-time manager is the Cardinals’ Mike Matheny, who like Ausmus, was an outstanding defensive Major League catcher. Matheny took his team to the World Series in his second year after not having managed before.
Ausmus is Dartmouth-educated and considered a calm individual. That personality should mesh with what the team is used to as former manager Jim Leyland ran a pretty laid back ship.
It’s a bold move, but I applaud the move. I half-expected Dombrowski to a coach from the Leyland regime in Lloyd McClendon or Tom Brookens. This is only the first of many decisions Dombrowski will face this offseason. The next will probably be to determine the future of ace Max Scherzer.