It was on this day in 1999 that the Tigers played their final game at Tiger Stadium, closing out the old ballpark with an 8-2 win over the Royals. In addition to 88 years of Tigers baseball, the stadium also notably hosted Detroit Lions football, a Joe Louis heavyweight title fight, concerts and numerous other events over the years. On a personal note, my dad once attended a game at Tiger Stadium and mostly enjoyed the experience…though his seat was directly behind a support pole that blocked his view of home plate. Here’s the latest from the Motor City:
- Rajai Davis tells Mlive.com’s Chris Iott that he “absolutely” wants to return to the Tigers in 2016. Iott feels the veteran outfielder is a good fit as a right-handed hitting outfield option, especially since Anthony Gose, Tyler Collins and Steven Moya are all lefty bats; Detroit could indeed go with a Davis/Gose platoon in center field again.
- Alex Avila also wants to remain with the Tigers, though he told reporters (including ESPN’s Katie Strang) that “if there was a team out there that would give me the opportunity to play more, I’d have to look at that for sure.” Avila himself acknowledged that James McCann will be Detroit’s starting catcher in 2016. It’s hard to see Avila landing anything more than a backup job elsewhere given his injury history, so if he does accept that role, it makes sense that he would first look to remain in a familiar situation with his long-time team.
- Brad Ausmus will be returning as the Tigers manager, though Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press feels the team should extend Ausmus’ contract if it’s really set on making a commitment to him. 2016 is Ausmus’ last guaranteed year and the Tigers have a club option on his services for 2017. Sharp feels that “bringing Ausmus back without an extension only further reaffirms the larger indecisiveness regarding the direction of this franchise” and making Ausmus a veritable lame duck won’t help anyone. I’m not sure I agree with Sharp here; a one-year/one-option situation isn’t too unusual for a manager, and if the Tigers indeed rebound next year, surely Ausmus will then get an extension.
- In his latest Insider-only column, ESPN’s Buster Olney raises the interesting point that given some of the Tigers’ roster issues, “being fired might’ve been the best thing for Brad Ausmus’ career as a manager” since he is highly thought-of around baseball and would’ve easily found another job (perhaps in a better situation). Another season managing a struggling team, however, could lower Ausmus’ stock.