Brad Ausmus will remain as manager of the Tigers, the team has announced. New GM Al Avila says Ausmus’ recent work with young players was a key reason the Tigers decided to keep him, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck (on Twitter). Avila says Tigers ownership allowed him to make the decision, writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. There have, however, not been any extension talks between the two sides (Twitter links). Ausmus is currently under contract through 2016, with a team option for 2017.
“On Friday afternoon, I met with manager Brad Ausmus and during our discussion I told him I wanted him to continue as manager of the Tigers in 2016,” said Avila in a statement. “It is my belief, and our collective belief within our baseball operations department, that Brad is the right manager for this team given where the team is, at this point in time, and for us to achieve our goals in 2016.”
As recently as last week, it had looked like the Tigers would fire Ausmus at the end of the season. Reporting earlier this month had suggested the Tigers had already decided to fire Ausmus, but Avila said in response that no decision had been made.
Ausmus is 162-153 in almost two full seasons on the job. That includes a 90-win performance in his first season and a 72-81 record this year. It’s been a tough season for the Tigers, who released longtime GM Dave Dombrowski from his contract in August and traded key veterans David Price and Yoenis Cespedes in July.
Going forward, the Tigers still have a core expensive veterans in Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and Anibal Sanchez. Of those players, the only ones who have contributed at levels befitting their contracts are Cabrera and Kinsler. The Tigers are currently in last place, and they likely won’t be expected to contend in 2016, either, so Ausmus’ most important role with the Tigers could be helping them develop younger players like James McCann, Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias and Daniel Norris.